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Cloud database

Cloud database

Cloud database definition

A cloud database is a database built on and accessed through a cloud-based platform. It serves the same function as a traditional database but is hosted on remote servers run by cloud service providers rather than on local ones.

See also: data source, data migration, data backup

Benefits of a cloud database

  • Lower costs. Instead of saving data on their own servers or computers, companies store it on remote servers owned by cloud service providers. That means cheaper setup, maintenance, and updates of hardware.
  • Accessibility. Companies can access their data from anywhere using the internet.
  • Scalability. If a business needs more storage space or processing power, it can get it almost instantly.
  • Low IT overhead. The cloud service provider manages maintenance tasks like backups, updates, and scaling. That saves businesses from much of the administrative overhead.

Cloud database use cases

  • E-commerce platforms. Online shopping websites that store product information, customer details, and transaction records.
  • Content management. Websites and blogs that need to store articles, images, comments, and author profiles.
  • Gaming. Online multiplayer games that keep track of player scores, levels, and game items.
  • Mobile applications. Apps that need a backend to store user info, preferences, and other data.
  • Financial services. Online banking and financial platforms that store transaction details and account information.
  • IoT applications. Devices like smart fridges, thermostats, or fitness trackers that need to send and store data.

History of cloud databases

  • Before 1960s. Databases existed in basic forms, stored on large and expensive mainframe computers. Access was limited and not remote.
  • 1970s. Edgar F. Codd introduced the relational database model. Databases could now be more structured and organized but were still on-premises.
  • 1990s. The rise of the internet. Companies began creating web applications that required databases to be accessed online. This was the initial phase of what would later become cloud databases.
  • 2000s. Cloud computing started gaining traction. Companies like Amazon and Google began offering cloud storage solutions. Amazon introduced Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2006, eventually including cloud database solutions.
  • Late 2000s. Services like Amazon’s SimpleDB and later Amazon RDS (Relational Database Service) were launched. These allowed businesses to operate databases on the cloud, without worrying about infrastructure.
  • 2010s. The introduction of NoSQL databases like MongoDB, Cassandra, and CouchDB catered to the big data boom. Cloud providers began offering managed NoSQL solutions, integrating them into their platforms.
  • Mid-2010s. The Database as a Service (DBaaS) model became popular. Here, the cloud provider manages everything related to the database, and businesses just use it as a service. Examples include Google Cloud SQL, Azure SQL Database, and AWS Aurora.
  • Late 2010s – 2020s. The rise of multi-cloud strategies. Businesses started using several cloud providers at once to have more flexibility and avoid vendor lock-in.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security