Which Cloud Database Platform to Choose for Your Applications

April 15, 2021

Alisdair Broshar

Alisdair Broshar
@AlisdairBroshar

17 min read

While a vital component of any app's stack is the database, managing a database is challenging and hard work. Not only do you need to set up, maintain, scale, and patch databases, but also you need to create strong backup policies, ensure sharding and replications.

Long story short, managing a database is time-consuming and requires a dedicated and skilled team, which is why a major trend for managing databases is DBaaS, or Database as a Service.

Database cloud services are gaining traction for several reasons. Two key benefits are:

  1. By outsourcing database management, engineering teams can focus their time and energy on other projects, like adding new features.
  2. Built-in scalability, security, and compliance standards solve a lot of pain points for a number of teams within a business.

That being said, choosing a database cloud platform provider has long-term implications since the opportunity cost of switching rises as the amount of data you manage increases.

In this post, we cover the most popular DBaaS offerings as of 2021 and their unique advantages. Since the most popular database management system choices are PostgreSQL, MySQL, and MongoDB, our analysis focuses on the database cloud platform providers that cater to these open-source databases. Additionally, we selected 5 upcoming database cloud platform solutions that we believe you should keep an eye on this year.

Our insights aim to help you pick the right DBaaS for your next project.

Rundown of Different DBaaS Offerings

After reviewing 24 database cloud services and comparing their offerings, we have compiled this analysis of the 10 database cloud service providers that impressed us and their developer-friendly plans.

Our analysis is based on the criteria most developers look at when choosing a database cloud platform solution:

  • Compatibility with standard DBMS,
  • Locations for global deployment capabilities,
  • Price.

After a detailed analysis for each database, there is a table to compare the database cloud platform providers.

An important note about this analysis: two crucial features when selecting a database are automated backups and feasibility to rollback. Most DBaaS offerings include these features, but the frequency and flexibility could depend on the plan. That being said, make sure to inquire about how frequently they create backups, for how long they store backups, and how easy it is to rollback.

Aiven

First on the list is Aiven, a database cloud service provider with a wide variety of managed open-source database solutions for SQL, NoSQL, Stream, Graph databases. Founded in 2016, Aiven is headquartered in Helsinki, Finland with offices in Berlin, Boston, and Sydney.

  • Compatibility: Apache Cassandra, Apache Kafka, Apache Kafka Connect, Apache Kafka MirrorMaker 2, Elasticsearch, Grafana, InfluxDB, M3, M3 Aggregator, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Redis.
  • Locations: Over 90 regions covered with 5 different cloud service providers. See Comparison Matrix below for details.
  • Price: Ranges from $19 - $99 per month depending on the underlying cloud service provider and locations. Storage capacity and RAM change according to DBMS solution.

Aiven is a true champion of open-source technology. Their innovative solutions enable developers to incorporate powerful open-source database solutions, saving time and energy. Since Aiven provides a wide variety of managed databases solutions, with a vast range of locations, multi-cloud support, and affordable starting prices, many projects will find a satisfying solution with Aiven. What's more, their free trial includes $300 in free credits.

CockroachCloud DB

CockroachLabs built CockroachCloud to be a fully-managed offer for Cockroach DB, its distributed SQL database built on a transactional and strongly consistent key-value store. Cockroach DB was inspired by Google's F1 and Spanner technologies. Founded in 2015, Cockroach DB has its headquarters in New York City, USA.

  • Compatibility: Cockroach DB. It uses the PostgreSQL wire protocol.
  • Locations:
    • On AWS: Oregon, USA; Ohio, USA; North Virginia, USA, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Paris, France; London, UK; Dublin, Ireland; Frankfurt, Germany; Sydney, Australia, Jurong, Singapore, Mumbai, India; Seoul, South Korea; Tokyo, Japan.
    • On GCP: Iowa, USA; Los Angeles, USA; Oregon, USA; North Virginia, USA, South Carolina, USA; Ghislain, Belgium; Eemshaven, Netherlands; Singapore; Changhua County, Taiwan; Tokyo, Japan, Hong Kong, Asia Pacific; London, UK; Montreal, Canada, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Sydney, Australia.
  • Price: Free tier includes GCP-Iowa and AWS-Oregon. The paid tier is $360 per month, or $0.50 per hour, for GCP and $396 per month, $0.55 per hour, for AWS with 2 vCPU and 60GB disk.

CockroachCloud is a promising solution for those looking to leverage the power of CockroachDB without having to worry about managing their databases. It is committed to durability in case of hardware failure, horizontal scalability, and consistent ACID transactions. The free tier is great for those who want to test the solution before migrating to the affordable paid tier.

Compose

Compose by IBM created a database cloud platform to help devs deploy and scale their data stores. Founded in 2010, Compose was a part of the summer 2011 YC class and later acquired by IBM in 2015. It has offices in London, Johannesburg, and Montréal.

  • Compatibility: MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, Redis, Elasticsearch, ScyllaDB, RabbitMQ, etcd, RethinkDB
  • Locations:
    • On AWS: North Virginia, USA; Oregon, USA; Dublin, Ireland; Frankfurt, Germany; Jurong, Singapore.
    • On GCP: South Carolina, USA; Oregon, USA.
    • On IBM: Texas, USA; London, UK; Frankfurt, Germany; Sydney, Australia.
  • Price: Prices range from $17.50 - $45 per month depending on the underlying cloud service provider and location. Storage and RAM amounts differ by DBMS solution.

Compose is a well-established database cloud service provider that provides powerful solutions to manage databases with an easy-to-use interface. With its affordable prices, 24/7 support, multi-cloud and multi-region opportunities, it is a solid choice for medium-sized projects.

DigitalOcean Managed Databases

DigitalOcean, Inc. is an American cloud infrastructure provider headquartered in New York City with data centers worldwide that just did their IPO in March 2021. It is an established cloud service provider that runs on its own servers located worldwide.

  • Compatibility: MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Redis.
  • Locations:
    • New York City, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Singapore, London, Frankfurt, Toronto, and Bangalore.
  • Price: Starting at $15 per month for 1GB memory, 1 vCPU, and 10 GB disk.

Starting prices for its managed database offerings are affordable, making it a solid choice for small to medium size projects that seek to leverage MySQL, PostgreSQL, or Redis. Moreover, its plans offer more storage capacity than similar offerings, making it useful for projects with higher storage requirements.

Heroku Managed Databases

Launched in 2007, Heroku is a PaaS company that offers managed database solutions. Their data teams build, operate, secure, and validate compliance for 3 open-source databases.

  • Compatibility: PostgreSQL, Redis, and Apache Kafka.
  • Locations:
    • North Virginia, USA; Oregon, USA; Frankfurt, Germany; Tokyo, Japan; Sydney, Australia; and Dublin, Ireland.
  • Price: Starting at $0 per month for PostgreSQL and Redis. PostgreSQL free tier comes with 1GB storage capacity while Redis free tier comes with 25MB in memory. Apache Kafka offering starts at $100 per month with 3.73 GB capacity.

Heroku is an established PaaS company that runs on AWS servers located worldwide. Setting up a managed database is very easy with Heroku, so it is a great option for those who are aiming to save time and get started quickly. Its free tier for PostgreSQL and Redis works for testing their solution and running small projects.

Instaclustr

Instaclustr offers fully managed solutions for scalable open-source technologies. Started in 2013, Instaclustr has offices in Australia, the US, and Europe.

  • Compatibility: Apache Cassandra, Apache Kafka, Apache Kafka Connect, Apache Spark, Elasticsearch, and Redis.

  • Locations: Over 25 locations with 3 different cloud service providers. See Comparison Matrix below for details.

  • Price: Depends on the provider, location, and database system.

    For Redis 6.0.9, prices range from $50.58 for AWS, $108.51 for GCP, and $169.88 for Azure. Moreover, the amount of SSD storage, memory, and CPU change according to the cloud service provider.

    • AWS: 20 GiB SSD, 2 GiB Memory, 2 CPUs at $50.58 per node per month;
    • Azure: 64 GiB SSD 7 GiB memory 2 CPU at $108.51 per node per month;
    • GCP: 30 GiB SSD, 3.75 GiB 1CPU at $169.88 per node per month.

Beginning with a fully-managed solution for Apache Cassandra, Instaclustr has expanded its offerings to provide solutions for a variety of open-source databases all in a unified platform. It automates much of the database management such as provisioning, monitoring, and patching. With Instaclustr you have the option to bring your own cloud service provider or run on their account. Considering its offerings and focus, it is a better choice for medium to large projects than small projects.

MongoDB Atlas

MongoDB is the creator of MongoDB. MongoDB Atlas is its fully-managed MongoDB plan that runs across AWS, Azure, and GCP. MongoDB was first released in 2009 and MongoDB Cloud in 2020. Headquarters in New York City, USA.

  • Compatibility: MongoDB
  • Locations:
    • AWS: North Virginia, USA; Oregon; USA; Jurong, Singapore; Mumbai, India; Dublin, Ireland; Frankfurt, Germany; Sydney, Australia.
    • Azure: Dublin, Ireland; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Virginia, USA; California, USA; Toronto, Canada, Hong Kong, Asia Pacific.
    • GCP: Tokyo, Japan; Changhua County, Taiwan; Singapore; Ghislain, Belgium; Iowa, USA; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Mumbai, India.
  • Price: Free tier includes 512 MB storage with the option to scale to 5GB. The Dedicated Clusters plan starts at $57 per month for developers and teams that need more than the free tier provides.

MongoDB Atlas is a leading cloud database solution for MongoDB. Built-in services like Atlas Search, Atlas Data Lake, MongoDB Charts facilitate building powerful apps with MongoDB. Moreover, the user interface is easy to use. Its free tier supports small projects, and its paid tier is affordable for medium-sized projects. Today, MongoDB prides itself on availability, scalability, and compliance with data security and privacy standards.

PlanetScale

Founded in 2018, PlanetScale is a serverless database platform with impressive features and scaling capabilities. Currently in BETA, PlanetScale is built on MySQL and Vitess, a technology that was developed at Youtube to scale MySQL databases across servers. Vitess is now a part of the CNCF, and its co-creators have created PlanetScale to offer a managed solution for Vitess. Its headquarters are in Mountain View, CA, USA.

  • Compatibility: MySQL
  • Locations: According to this blog post, PlanetScale lets you run on AWS, Azure and GCP in 4 locations for each provider.
  • Price: Free beta includes 3 free databases with 10GB storage per database.

PlanetScale is an excellent choice for those prioritizing scalability, multi-cloud solutions for disaster recovery, and compliance for multi-region deployments. A noteworthy feature is its live database branches: each live database branch is a separate database deployed with a copy of the main database's schema. This enables non-blocking schema changes, meaning you can update database tables without locking or creating downtime in production databases.

Scalegrid

Founded in 2012 in Seattle, USA, Scalegrid is a fully managed and hosting service for MySQL, PostgreSQL, Redis, and MongoDB. Headquarters in Palo Alto, USA with offices in India and Canada.

  • Compatibility: MySQL, PostreSQL, MongoDB, Redis, and Greenplum.
  • Locations: Over 30 locations with 7 different cloud service providers. See Comparison Matrix below for details.
  • Price: Depends on the underlying cloud service provider and database. Ranges from $10 - $50 per month for MICRO plan, which includes 1 vCPU, 1GB RAM, 10 GB storage.

Scalegrid offers an impressive global presence with its multi-region support and compatibility with multiple CSPs. Scalegrid provides sharding and cross-data centers configurations are possible. For those seeking to bring their existing cloud service plan, Scalegrid offers this possibility. The micro plan is affordable and great for small projects.

Scaleway

Launched in 2015, Scaleway is a European cloud computing company. It offers fully managed database offerings for PostgreSQL and MySQL.

  • Compatibility: MySQL and PostgreSQL.
  • Locations:
    • Paris, France; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Warsaw, Poland.
  • Price: Standalone price is approximately $10 per month, or $0.0139 per hour (excluding VAT). The DB-Dev-S Plan comes with 2 vCPUs, 2GB RAM, 5 GB SSD.

Scaleway offers solutions for two popular DBMS in three major European locations. Its standalone price makes it a compelling solution for small projects deploying in Europe.

Database Cloud Platform Comparison Table

DBaaS ProviderDBMSCitiesEntry Price
AivenMySQL
PostgreSQL
Apache Kafka
Apache Kafka Connect
Apache Kafka MirrorMaker 2
Apache Cassandra
M3
M3 Aggregator
Elasticsearch
Redis
InfluxDB
Grafana
USA: 14 locations
Canada Montreal; Toronto; Quebec City;
South America: Sao Paulo, Brazil;
Africa: Cape Town, South Africa;
United Kingdom: London; Cardiff;
Europe: Frankfurt, Germany; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Ghislain, Belgium; and 7 more cities.
Asia / Pacific: Tokyo, Japan; Jakarta, Indonesia; Bangalore, India; and 8 more cities.
Middle East: Dubai, UAE; Bahrain;
Australia: Victoria, Sydney, New South Wales.
Starting prices for PostgreSQL:

- AWS: $99 per month,
- Azure: $99 per month,
- DigitalOcean: $19 per month,
- GCP: $19 per month.
CockroachCloudCockroachDBUSA: Oregon; Ohio, Iowa, North Virginia, Los Angeles, South Carolina;
South America: Sao Paulo, Brazil;
North America: Montreal, Canada;
Europe: Paris, France; Dublin, Ireland; Frankfurt, Germany; Ghislain, Belgium; Eemshaven, Netherlands;
UK: London;
Asia / Pacific: Jurong, Singapore; Mumbai, India; Seoul, South Korea; Tokyo, Japan; Changhua County, Taiwan; Hong Kong;
Australia: Sydney.
Free Tier
- Can only deploy on GCP-Iowa or AWS-Oregon.

Paid Tier
with 2 vCPU and 60GB disk:
- AWS: $396 per month
(at $0.55 per hour)
- GCP: $360 per month
(at $0.50 per hour).
ComposeMySQL
PostgreSQL
MongoDB
Redis
Elasticsearch
ScyllaDB
RabbitMQ
etcd
RethinkDB
USA: North Virginia, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas;
Europe: Dublin, Ireland; Frankfurt, Germany;
UK: London;
Asia / Pacific: Jurong Singapore;
Australia: Sydney, Australia.
Prices range from
$17.50 - $45 per month
depending on the underlying CSP and location.
DigitalOceanMySQL
PostgreSQL
Redis
USA: New York, San Francisco;
Canada: Toronto;
Europe: Amsterdam, Netherlands; Frankfurt, Germany;
UK: London;
Asia / Pacific: Singapore; Bangalore, India.
Starting at $15 per month for 1GB memory, 1 vCPU, and 10GB disk.
HerokuPostgreSQL
Redis
Apache Kafka
USA: North Virginia, Oregon;
Europe: Dublin, Ireland; Frankfurt, Germany;
Asia / Pacific: Tokyo, Japan;
Australia: Sydney.
PostgreSQL and Redis
Starting at $0 per month

Apache Kafka
Starting at $100 per month
InstaclustrApache Cassandra
Apache Kafka
Apache Kafka Connect
Apache Spark
Elasticsearch
Redis
USA: Oregon; North Virginia; Ohio; Iowa; Texas; Washington; California; South Carolina;
South America: Sao Paulo, Brazil;
Canada: Quebec City; Toronto; Montreal;
Africa: Cape Town, South Africa;
Middle East: Bahrain; Dubai, UAE;
Europe: Frankfurt, Germany; Dublin, Ireland; Paris, France; and 5 more cities.
UK: London;
Asia / Pacific: Singapore; Tokyo, Japan; Mumbai, India; Seoul, South Korea; Hong Kong; Osaka, Japan;
Australia: Victoria, New South Wales, Sydney.
Prices per node per month for Redis 6.0.9:
- AWS: 20 GiB SSD, 2 GiB Memory, 2 CPUs at $50.58;
- Azure: 64 GiB SSD 7 GiB memory 2 CPU at $108.51;
- GCP: 30 GiB SSD, 3.75 GiB 1CPU at $169.88.
MongoDB AtlasMongoDBUSA: North Virginia, Oregon, Iowa, Texas, California;
Canada: Quebec City, Toronto;
South America: Sao Paulo, Brazil;
Europe: Dublin, Ireland; Frankfurt, Germany; Ghislain, Belgium;
Asia / Pacific: Tokyo, Japan; Osaka, Japan; Changhua County, Taiwan; Singapore; Mumbai, India; Hong Kong;
Middle East: Dubai, UAE;
Australia: Sydney, New South Wales, Victoria.
Free Tier
512 MB storage with the option to scale to 5GB.

Dedicated Clusters Tier
Starting at $57 per month:
- 10 GB Storage
- 2 GB RAM
PlanetScaleMySQLUSA: West and East
Europe
Asia
Free beta includes 3 free databases with 10GB storage per database.
ScalegridMySQL
PostgreSQL
MongoDB
Redis
Greenplum
USA: 16 locations
South America: Sao Paulo, Brazil;
Canada: Montreal; Toronto; Quebec City;
Middle East: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Dubai, UAE; Abu Dhabi, UAE;
Africa Cape Town, South Africa; Johannesburg, South Africa;
Europe Frankfurt, Germany; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Dublin, Ireland; and 9 more cities.
UK: London; Cardiff;
Asia / Pacific: Tokyo, Japan; Mumbai, India, Singapore; and 11 more cities;
Australia: Sydney; Melbourne; New South Wales.
Micro Plan
$10 - $50 per month for 1 vCPU, 1GB RAM, 10 GB storage.
ScalewayMySQL
PostgreSQL
Europe: Paris, France; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Warsaw, Poland.Approximately
$10 per month
at $0.0139 per hour
(excluding VAT)
with 2 vCPUs, 2GB RAM, 5 GB SSD.

6 Next-Generation Database Cloud Platforms

Here are 6 next-generation database cloud platform providers with impressive MySQL, PostgreSQL, and NoSQL solutions to keep an eye on this year:

  1. Aiven

    Covered above, Aiven also makes our list of next-generation platforms to watch. Already offering 12 open-source solutions on 5 different cloud service providers, Aiven is a true open-source and multi-cloud champion. It will be interesting to watch them as they further contribute to open-source technologies and expand their offerings.

  2. FaunaDB

    Aiming to simplify database management, Fauna is a transactional serverless database available as a cloud API with native GraphQL. As one of the first truly serverless database, users will be able to scale with ease and will only be charged per request. Given the cloud's ecosystem interest in APIs and serverless technology, Fauna is certainly a database cloud platform to watch.

  3. PlanetScale

    Featured above, PlanetScale is an impressive serverless database solution that also makes our list of next-generation database cloud platforms to watch. Building off the technologies of Vitess and MySQL, PlanetScale has powerful scaling capabilities and is high-performing. We are excited to watch PlanetScale develop its already great offering. Currently in BETA, PlanetScale offers a free developer plan.

  4. Supabase

    Supabase is an open-source alternative to GCP's Firebase that is very developer-friendly. Since Supabase projects are PostgreSQL databases, you can leverage PostgreSQL's row level security for authentication purposes. We are excited to see the arrival of serverless functions on their platform.

  5. Upstash

    Upstash is a low-latency serverless database service that is compatible with a majority of the Redis API. Instead of charging during downtime, Upstash charges per request. Given the propensity towards serverless offerings and the fact Redis is a popular and established DBMS, Upstash is an interesting company to watch.

  6. Yugabyte Cloud

    Yugabyte is an open-source, distributed SQL, cloud-native relational database for global apps that was founded in 2016. Core features include low latency, high throughput, and global resilience. Currently in BETA, Yugabyte Cloud is a fully managed Yugabyte database that runs on AWS and GCP. Azure offerings are coming soon. If you are interested in a distributed SQL solution, there is an Early Access Program for startups.

Increasing Efficiency and Productivity with DBaaS and Serverless

Opting for a database cloud platform solution frees up energy and time for your engineering teams, so they can focus on projects and tasks unique to your business. The overview provided in this article aims to supply you with insights that will help when selecting a DBaaS provider.

An additional way to increase your team's efficiency and productivity is to transition to serverless deployments for your web apps, APIs, and web services.

Koyeb is a developer-friendly serverless platform to deploy apps globally. Thanks to native support of popular languages and built-in Docker container deployment, you can use Koyeb's serverless platform to deploy your projects.

With Koyeb, you can scale like internet giants without their budget. See the benefits of going serverless, get started with a free account today!

Here are some useful resources to get you started:

  • Koyeb Documentation: Learn everything you need to know about using Koyeb.
  • Koyeb Tutorials: Discover guides and tutorials on common Koyeb use cases and get inspired to create your own!
  • Koyeb Community Slack Channel: Join the community chat to stay in the loop about our latest feature announcements, exchange ideas with other developers, and ask our engineering teams whatever questions you may have about going serverless.