Google is known for its online search services and other things related to the World Wide Web. For example, it has recently branched out into Web browsers via Google Chrome, mobile payments via Google Wallet, and even a mobile operating system via Android. But did you know that the search giant also has its very own cloud-based MySQL database engine? It has all the bells and whistles of MySQL and is perfect for small to medium-sized systems. It is also integrated with the Google App Engine.
In November 2012, Google made several updates to the Cloud SQL. The most important improvements allowed users to have access to faster and bigger MySQL databases. According to WebProNews, these changes included:
- Increasing the storage space to 100 gigabytes from only 10 gigabytes
- Allowing instances up to 16 gigabytes of RAM, meaning users can now cache four times more than before
Aside from those already listed, users are now able to opt for asynchronous replication, which combines the benefits of a non-replicated and a replicated database.
But what is Google Cloud SQL exactly? What are its features and how could it help your company?
This article will tackle the basics, definitions, features, highlights and specs of Google Cloud SQL, as well as its restrictions and a look into the future of this service.
What is Google Cloud SQL?
It is simply a MySQL Database that is hosted in the cloud on servers owned by Google, Inc. It allows users to create, modify, configure and utilize relational databases. Google takes care of maintaining, managing and administering your databases so that you can focus on what you have to do.
Google Cloud SQL allows you to move your applications, services and data on and off the cloud.
When you use Google Cloud SQL, you will be surprised that it actually looks familiar because Google uses MySQL 5.5, which is the latest version.
Google Cloud SQL Features
Google Cloud SQL does not only allow you to get your MySQL databases on the cloud, enabling you to be truly mobile and access it anywhere and anytime, but it is also:
- Very easy to use: It has a very intuitive graphical user interface or GUI. This means you can go about building and checking database instances with only a click of your mouse. No more trying to remember a series of complicated commands
- Backed by Google: What can you say about the prospect of having Google’s engineers working for you? With Google Cloud SQL, you can have your data management tasks handled by Google so you do not have to fret about patch management, replication and other similar tasks.
- Highly Available: Google sees to it that your data is available to you no matter what happens to a data center. Your database is automatically replicated and hosted at different locations in the United States or the European Union. Plus, you can opt between asynchronous or synchronous replication.
- Highly compatible with App Engine and other services: Google makes it easier for you to apply your database with just about any product they have. This means that you can work with various products and get and place data or withdraw it from the cloud easily. Because Google Cloud SQL is very compatible with other Google products, you can now publish data with Google Sheet, or display data on a Google Sites Web page or perhaps create a Google Form. You can accomplish all this without having to worry about the configuration of your server or hosting.
- Very secure: It is not only in database management where Google’s employees work for you. They can also make your database very secure. Imagine having Google’s decades of experience in securing their online properties and hardware keeping your data safe.
A. Billing. You can choose between two different billing options:
- Per use : This is similar to a telecommunication company’s “pay as you go” service where you only pay for the actual time you use to access the data you need. Per hour charges start at $0.10.
- Package: If you access your data frequently, it might be more cost effective if you opt for a package. Packages start at $1.46 a day.
Additionally, if you are new to Google Cloud SQL, you will be given a complimentary trial that would give you six months free. This introductory offer will run until June 2013.
B. Fast. Because of the added RAM and storage space, you can be sure that your applications are fast, even when there are a lot of people trying to access your SQL database. A 100-gigabyte storage and a 16-gigabyte RAM just means larger databases, more data, and faster access.
C. Business recovery and disaster planning made easy. If your database is central to your operations, apps, or services, you will need to get access to it even if you cannot get into the office. Because your databases are replicated in different locations, you can be sure that you would have a working copy every time you need it.
D. Easily export or import your databases with mysqldump.
E. Alternative access from any command line tool is available.
F. Compatible with Python and Java.
Google Cloud SQL Limitations
But as with any service, Google Cloud SQL is not perfect.
For one, your instances are capped at 100 gigabytes and you cannot use user-defined functions or MySQL replication. Similarly, there is a QPS limit capped at 16 MB.
There are also MySQL statements and functions that are not going to work on Google Cloud SQL:
- CREATE FUNCTION —
- INSTALL/UNINSTALL PLUGIN —
- LOAD DATA INFILE
- SELECT — INTO OUTFILE/DUMPFILE
- SHA2 ()
The Future of Google Cloud SQL?
Cloud computing is big. It seems that every service, application, platform, or just about anything dealing with computing is on the cloud now. It should not be surprising to have your MySQL databases following suit.
According to Joe Faith, product manager for Google Cloud SQL, cloud SQL was one of the most sought-after additions to the Google App Engine and in less than a year since it was launched, at least 10,000 developers have already signed up for the service.
The demand is certainly there, which is why Google Cloud SQL should not be going anywhere anytime soon. This is not to say that Google is alone in offering the service. Amazon offers Microsoft SQL, Oracle and MySQL database services, while HP’s Cloud Services also has MySQL.
All in all, with cloud computing taking off, and at a very fast pace at that, Google Cloud SQL is worth a try. Sure it has limitations, but if you find that these limitations are insignificant for your operations or if the benefits far outweigh them, then Google Cloud SQL might just be the cloud solution you need.
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