As cloud support services gain momentum in the present moment owing to remote workspaces that are driven by COVID-19, many new trends are also emerging in the digital marketplace. Whether it’s virtual collaboration on an international level or routine software outsourcing in Sri Lanka, much is transforming in front of our eyes – and very rapidly, at that. The current circumstances are a crucial driving factor, since businesses and individuals alike now realise the true importance of being less reliant on physical resources as much as possible.
Sure, the cloud has been around for a very long time, and is also well established with regards to what it has to offer. But new circumstances are challenging its otherwise regular offerings, and working with databases is no exception. With increasing dependency on cloud services, AWS has stepped up its game to consolidate and streamline a number of (dare we say?) cumbersome platforms. If you’re working with an AWS partner as well as a complex network of databases, Amazon’s custom database services is something you may have heard of.
With the tech giant constantly rolling out newer technologies for databases and beyond, there’s always something that’s missed from the frequent stream of updates. Currently, we’re paying prime focus to one of AWS’s key releases – Amazon Keyspaces. A database service that enables a working system between Apache’s Cassandra datastore, AWS once again delivers a serverless system over here (something it is popularly regarded for).
In general, what makes AWS stand out is its versatile and self-sufficient qualities, rendering absolute independence for applications that need to run with low downtime and cost. In fact, one of the first characteristics associated with AWS is its aptitude to create serverless systems – which is a boon considering the current situation, without a doubt. As businesses both big and small make the shift to virtual working environments, many that were still working traditionally have been more or less compelled to switch to remote workspaces – or risk losing out on business.
Albeit powerful and efficient, Cassandra has long since known to be a challenging and highly puzzling application, requiring specialised expertise for operation. Keyspaces aims to simplify all of this. Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at what this newfound AWS database service is all about.
A database service that has been developed by AWS to support Apache’s Cassandra datastore, Amazon Keyspaces aims to bridge the gap that exists between the two working systems. Known to be an intricate and complex application, Cassandra users have experienced much frustration revolving around implementation, operation as well as migration.
In other words, if your application is hosted with AWS and database in Cassandra, Keyspaces can give you the means to connect both and continue performing at optimum efficiency.
While the usual qualities pertaining to AWS stand out in the case of Keyspaces, the manner in which scalability is made possible is something that is particularly unique. For one, Keyspaces is also serverless, just like AWS’s numerous other counterparts. Thanks to that, developers need not separately manage servers, and have the means to access as much spacing as is required.
What really sets Keyspaces apart however, is its read/write capacity modes. Available in on-demand and provisioned capacities, these read/write modes redefine the database game across multiple frontiers and applications, irrespective of requirements and capacity.
On-demand capacity mode is the default capacity mode, which basically increases or decreases workloads depending on the demand of requests prevailing at any given point in time. This also offers a convenient billing option for applications that aren’t sure of what their exact demands are, or have unpredictable traffic. At the same time, you only pay for the amount you use, which makes this an ideal choice for certain industries that operate in bouts or seasons.
In order to get started, configuration can be carried out from the AWS Management Console or by hitting a few lines of code via CQL (Cassandra Query Language) – the primary language used in Keyspaces.
Provisioned capacity mode is a predetermined workload that is processed, with fixed payments that have to be done periodically. While on-demand capacity mode can seem more viable (and tempting) to choose, provisioned capacity mode can be a great boon for select sectors that have predictable traffic and fixed budgets.
It is possible to switch between the two capacity modes, with a time span of 24 hours set between switches.
It’s not hard to understand why on-demand capacity mode is the default at Keyspaces; with numerous applications across the digital landscape (particularly SaaS) offering pay-as-you-go subscriptions, it’s no surprise that this trending feature is what leads on here too. Plus, the convenience of paying only what you use seems very cost-effective, thereby enabling businesses to save up on unused services and contribute to profitability instead.
What’s more, many consumer applications are on-demand services in themselves – whether it’s the daily taxi hailing app or hotel booking engine. On-demand capacity mode can therefore be extremely valuable in such instances, since it can provide leverage during times of extra traffic, while lowering compute capacity during less busy times.
E-commerce stands to benefit the most out of this. Retail is a great use case over here. With many online retailers functioning based on peak and off-peak times, on-demand capacity mode is perfect for fluctuating demand. During peak seasons such as Black Friday, Christmas or the occasional promotional campaign, retailers need not worry about application crashes due to excessive traffic, since database requests can now swiftly be attended to via on-demand capacity mode on Amazon Keyspaces.
Likewise, database requests can dwindle down during off-peak times, thereby reducing operating costs at a time when revenue is less. Another advantage that emerges out of such a system is the fact that it can conveniently also cater to smaller, boutique businesses that rely on e-commerce alone to sell their products and services. High traffic may or may not be a factor over here, but tighter budgets surely are – therefore making on-demand capacity mode over Amazon Keyspaces a crucial element when communicating with databases for facilitating orders and other e-commerce operations.
The on-demand capacity mode also has a sense of intuitiveness associated with it, as it records the highest level at which it processes database requests. Once recorded, Keyspaces has the ability to accommodate double the capacity. Going forward, if traffic reaches the doubled-up volume, Keyspaces will automatically scale up to twice this volume.
While it might seem like on-demand capacity mode is ideal for today’s highly fluctuating and serverless digital environments, its opposite, which is provisioned capacity mode, also consists of specific instances where it can be more suitable. Any application that has predictable traffic and has the means to pay a fixed amount for the same can opt for provisioned capacity mode. One of the biggest advantages in adopting this variant of database requests lies in budgeting; with fixed, regular payments, businesses will be able to ascertain exactly how much they will shell out as costs. This offers predictability and stability in the wake of shifting business environments (especially when one considers the current economic situation).
While provisioned capacity mode may not be suitable for most applications, it can invite a great deal of stability for those that can accommodate it. A good use case is e-learning portals. Consider a virtual class of 25 students. If the portal is made to provide entry to 25 students who have registered in advance, provisioned capacity mode from Amazon Keyspaces is sufficient to process access to these 25 students.
Contrary to popular perception, many on-demand services may also benefit from fixed provisioned capacity mode. In the case of streaming platforms which only permit a set number of users based on the tier that has been subscribed to, provisioned capacity mode is sufficient to handle this. In a nutshell, anything that depends on quotas or fixed numbers can be applied to provisioned capacity mode, since this can provide an equally fixed throughput as well as costing for budget-conscious businesses.
Let alone Keyspaces, increased dependence in the cloud creates more implications in terms of cyber security compromises. So strong protection against a variety of cyber threats is essential in protecting your precious data on the cloud. This includes everything from core data protection and endpoint security, to stringent monitoring and infrastructure security.
With data stored across multiple devices and facilities across the Keyspaces region, AWS also has its very own Identity and Access Management (IAM) system, which is a proprietary service that is available for use at no extra charge. IAM enables administrators to control access by users, while also controlling what exactly can be accessed once logged in.
All in all, AWS consists of its very own global network security procedures, which are a set of security protocols that can be adhered to by any entity that relies on AWS for its application requirements. Amazon Keyspaces is also part of this global network security procedure, thereby granting it the same calibre of high-level protection that other AWS services receive as well.
The cloud has become ever more indispensable during this lockdown era, making its wide variety of services a crucial component for enabling businesses to function remotely. While COVID-19 may have stopped much in its wake, demand for certain products and services continue to rise. For the average consumer, anything less than a swift turnaround is a deal-breaker, so cloud services have had to rev up their efforts by several notches in order to keep the wheels turning.
Speaking of swift turnarounds, low latency when communicating with databases is highly important. This is where Amazon Keyspaces comes in, as it is a database service that has been exclusively developed to streamline operations between the Apache Cassandra datastore. Known for its high level of complexity when it comes to operations and handling, Cassandra has always required special expertise in order to implement, run and migrate. With Keyspaces, these gaps can now be filled – with your application run by AWS, and a seamless connection to your Cassandra database.
Keyspaces offer a multitude of advantages that range from the universal to the unique. Since AWS is prized for its serverless competencies and requires no need to oversee any physical, on-premise infrastructure, the very same applies to its Keyspaces database service too. Other than that, its read/write capacity modes set it apart from the competition, with variable modes that can help accommodate an endless variety of application requirements.
The default on-demand capacity mode facilitates database requests depending on when it is required, as the name suggests. This means that it can scale up or down based on the traffic present, while offering businesses billing that is subject to only what is used during a stipulated period of time. On-demand capacity modes can also record the highest level of database requests carried out, and automatically double the compute capacity if ever it is required in the future. If that benchmark is hit, it doubles up furthermore, therefore offering scalability that is limitless as it is reliable.
Provisioned capacity mode, on the other hand, is ideal for applications that have predictable traffic. Its on-demand counterpart may sound like the go-to option in today’s pay-as-you-go age, but a select range of applications can benefit from fixed capacity modes if traffic is predictable – especially since it can ascertain exactly how much it will cost on a regular basis too. This is highly advantageous for businesses that have fixed or limited budgets, as well as a need to regulate periodic spending.
Last but not the least, security is as important as the cloud. With more dependency on cloud-based services, your data is also at higher risk. Keyspaces falls under AWS’s global security network procedures, thereby safeguarding your application in a wide variety of ways – from data protection to endpoint security and more.