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2020: The year in databases at Google Cloud

December 23, 2020
Penny Avril

Director of Product Management, Databases

2020 was a year unlike any other, and all its unexpectedness brought foundational enterprise technology into the spotlight. Businesses needed their databases to be reliable, scalable, and consistently well-performing. As a result, migration plans accelerated, rigid licensing fell further out of favor, and transformative application development sped up. This was clear even in 2019, when cloud database management system (DBMS) revenues were $17 billion, up 54% from 2018, according to Gartner Predicts. We’ll be eager to see what Gartner reports from 2020, but from our perspective, growth accelerated significantly this year. 

We believe that our data vision of openness and flexibility was reflected in the first-ever DBMS Magic Quadrant this year. Gartner named Google Cloud a Leader in DBMS for 2020. 

We heard from customers across industries that this was the year they started or stepped up their database modernization. To help them meet their mission-critical goals, Google Cloud continued to launch new products and features. Here’s what was new and notable this year.

New options, new flexibility entered the cloud database scene

Database migration service now available for Cloud SQL
Database migrations can be a challenge for enterprises. We give our customers a uniquely easy, secure, and reliable experience with the recent launch of our serverless Database Migration Service (DMS), which provides high-fidelity, minimal downtime migrations for MySQL and PostgreSQL workloads and is designed to be truly cloud-native. Our blog announcing the launch has more info, and steps to get you started. 

SQL Server, managed in the cloud
Enterprise companies often tell us how important the ability to migrate to Cloud SQL for SQL Server is to their larger goals of infrastructure modernization and a multi-cloud strategy. Cloud SQL for SQL Server is now generally available globally to help you keep your SQL Server workloads running. Our blog on the subject lists the five steps to get started migrating, a link to the full migration guide, and a helpful video for more details. 

Bare Metal Solution for Oracle databases comes to five new Google Cloud regions
Bare Metal Solution lets businesses run specialized workloads such as Oracle databases in Google Cloud Regional Extensions, while lowering overall costs and reducing risks associated with migration. Last year we announced the availability of Bare Metal Solution in five more regions: Ashburn, Virginia; Frankfurt; London; Los Angeles, California; and Sydney. We also launched four more sites this year: Amsterdam, São Paulo, Singapore, and Tokyo. 

Customers did amazing things with cloud databases in 2020

We’ve seen some clear trends emerge in cloud migration. We’ve seen customers follow what we’re referring to as a three-phase journey: migration, when they transition large commercial and open source databases; modernization, which involves moving from legacy to open source databases; and transformation, building next-gen applications and opening up new possibilities. Wherever you are in this journey, Google Cloud is focused on supporting you with the services, best practices, and tooling ecosystem to enable your success.

At pharmaceutical and pharmacy technology giant McKesson, teams chose Cloud SQL to modernize their legacy environment. 3D printing and design company Makerbot shared how they architected Google Cloud’s tightly integrated tools—including Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), Pub/Sub, and Cloud SQL—for an innovative autoscaling solution.

We heard from Bluecore, developer of a marketing platform for large retailers that delivers campaigns through predictive data models, about how they turned to Cloud SQL for a fully managed solution that offered campaign creation functionality without slowing down the retail brand’s website. Customers like Handshake, provider of a platform to connect universities, also chose a Cloud SQL migration. Financial solutions provider Freedom Financial Network switched from Rackspace to Cloud SQL to meet growing demand. 

And at Google Cloud Next ‘20: OnAir, we heard from ShareChat and The New York Times about the successes they’ve found using our cloud-native databases. We also heard from Khan Academy, which uses Cloud Firestore to help meet the rising demand for online learning. 

Enterprise readiness arrived for open source databases

In the event of a regional outage in Google Cloud, you want your application and database to quickly start serving your customers in another available region. This year, we launched Cloud SQL cross-region replication, available for MySQL and PostgreSQL database engines. We’ve worked closely with Cloud SQL customers facing business continuity challenges to simplify the experience, and our blog explains how to get started and offers a look at how Major League Baseball puts cross-region replication to use.

In addition, Cloud SQL added committed use discounts as well as more maintenance controls, serverless exports, and point-in-time-recovery for Postgres.

This past fall, we announced that Cloud SQL now supports MySQL 8. You now have access to a variety of powerful new features for better productivity—such as instant DDL statements (e.g. ADD COLUMN), atomic DDL, privilege collection using roles, window functions, and extended JSON syntax. Check out the full list of new features

Cloud SQL database service adds PostgreSQL 13
We also launched support in Cloud SQL for PostgreSQL 13, giving you access to the latest features of PostgreSQL while letting Cloud SQL handle the heavy operational lifting. Recent PostgreSQL 13 performance improvements across the board include enhanced partitioning capabilities, increased index and vacuum efficiency, and better extended monitoring. Our recent blog has more details, more features, and instructions for getting started. 

Tools for measuring performance of Memorystore for Redis
A popular open source in-memory data store, Redis is used as a database, cache, and message broker. Memorystore for Redis is Google Cloud’s fully managed Redis service. Memorystore recently added support for Redis 5.0, as well as VPC service controls, Redis Auth and TLS encryption. You’ll see how you can measure the performance of Memorystore for Redis, as well as performance tuning best practices for memory management, query optimizations, and more. 

Cloud-native databases: trusted for enterprise workloads, better for developers 

Google Cloud Spanner is the only managed relational database with unlimited scale, strong consistency, and 99.999% availability. (Check out more details on what’s new in Spanner.) In 2020, we announced new enterprise capabilities for Spanner, including the general availability of managed backup-restore and nine new multi-regions of Spanner that offer 99.999% availability. Spanner also introduced support for new SQL capabilities, including query optimizer versioning, foreign keys, check constraints, and generated columns. Plus, Spanner introduced the C++ client library for C++ application developers and local Emulator that lets you develop and test your applications using a local emulator, helping reduce application development costs. 

Bigtable, our fully managed NoSQL database service, now offers managed backups for high business continuity and lets users add data protection to workloads with minimal management overhead. Bigtable expanded its support for smaller workloads, letting you create production instances with one or two nodes per cluster, down from the previous minimum of three nodes per cluster.

Firestore, which lets mobile and web developers build apps easily, added new features such as the Rules Playground, letting you test your updated Firebase Security rules quickly. The Firestore Unity SDK, added this year, makes it easy for game developers to adopt Firestore. In addition, Firestore introduced a C++ client library and offers a richer query language with a range of new operators, including not-in, array-contains, not-equal, less than, greater than, and others. 

That’s a wrap for the year in databases. Stay tuned to the Google Cloud Blog for up-to-the-minute announcements, launches, and best practices for 2021. 

Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Cloud Database Management Systems, November 23, 2020, Donald Feinberg, Adam Ronthal, Merv Adrian, Henry Cook, Rick Greenwald

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