MySQL Cloud Options Expand with Google Cloud SQL

If your MySQL shop wants to experiment with low cost cloud storage, now might be the time. Google announced late last week that its Google Cloud SQL will start offering more storage, faster reads and writes, and other features, plus a new option for Premier customers.

Joe Faith, Google Cloud SQL product manager, explained the details in a blog post. Google Cloud SQK is a MySQL database that lives in Google’s cloud. The company hopes to entice businesses that use large MySQL databases into Google’s cloud with features aimed at helping them scale.

Businesses can’t scale without some serious room, so Google increased the available storage on Cloud SQL to 100 GB. That’s ten times larger than it used to be. And it should be very helpful to any firm using a MySQL database in Google Cloud SQL, since memory is likely to be the strongest limiting factor of such a database, with more memory helping it to perform more efficiently.

Speaking of performance, Faith noted that user will also benefit from faster reads and writes on Google Cloud SQL. To speed up database reads, Google is increasing the maximum size of instances to 16 GB RAM – four times the amount  that the service let you cache previously. As for writes, users gain the option of asynchronous replication. Faith notes that this feature delivers the write performance of a non-replicated database, but the availability of a replicated one.

There are advantages and disadvantages to using asynchronous replication, as Computerworld noted. Since the system does not need to wait for the replication to Google’s multiple data centers to finish, users will see faster writes to their MySQL database. However, if the data center fails within a few seconds of a database update – after it is cached locally, but before it is copied to other locations – you could lose your updates. Google notes in its FAQ that such a failure is an “unlikely event.”

Some Google Cloud SQL users will appreciate the new option offered to Premier customers. Faith explained that such users can now choose to store their data and run their Cloud SQL database instance in either Google’s US or EU data centers. Given the differences concerning personal data and privacy laws in the US and EU, it seems likely to me that many companies will choose to consult with their lawyers before exercising this option.

Finally, for those who prefer to try before they buy, Google is introducing a six-month free trial of its Cloud SQL service. The offer is effective until June 1, 2013, and includes one Cloud SQL instance with half a GB of storage. That’s less storage than the search giant’s least expensive package billing plan, which offers 1 GB of storage for $1.46 per day. Most businesses, however, should see it as a good place to start, with a reasonable amount of storage to determine if signing up for a full-fledged plan will benefit their MySQL database users.

Computerworld noted that Google Cloud SQL’s improvements come hot on the heels of changes to Amazon Web Services that offered users new options for MySQL databases and lowered prices by up to 14 percent in parts of the US. The competition between the two cloud vendors spells good news for companies looking to dip their toes into the cloud for data storage, since both of them now market free trial versions of their services.

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