Couchbase cozies up to Kubernetes for multi-cloud deployments

The industry’s coalescence around Kubernetes has caused another enterprise software vendor to beef up its multi-cloud chops, but users should weigh tradeoffs of convenience and efficiency against optimization.

Couchbase updated its Autonomous Operator 1.2 tool this month to simplify multi-cloud deployments of its NoSQL database, with production and certification support for Kubernetes container services on AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, as well as the latest version of Red Hat OpenShift. Customers can now automatically upgrade and move Couchbase clusters into Kubernetes containers.

Autonomous Operator 1.2 also includes rolling upgrade capabilities for Kubernetes itself, which avoids downtime for multi-cloud deployments, the company said. Other updates include support for Helm, Kubernetes’ native package manager; connectivity to Couchbase clients via the public internet; and Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificate rotation for online Kubernetes clusters.

Couchbase Autonomous Operator, first generally available in August, has roots in Operators, an open source framework introduced for Kubernetes by CoreOS in 2016. CoreOS was subsequently acquired in 2018 by Red Hat, which now offers Operator Framework. Operators and its derivatives aim to tackle a challenge with Kubernetes-based deployments: how to handle stateful applications such as databases, which require more work to scale, upgrade and reconfigure, compared to stateless ones such as web apps.

NoSQL database architectures and characteristics
NoSQL database architectures emphasize different aspects of data management.

Couchbase seeks growth through more customer options

Support for multi-cloud deployments are necessary today for enterprise software vendors, particularly those who play in the middle tier such as Couchbase. Customers have many choices for databases, whether traditional or in the NoSQL realm, and want portability across platforms.

Couchbase offers a managed version of the database, but it gears Autonomous Operator toward DevOps-driven shops that want more hands-on control along with easier management of complex multi-cloud deployments. Couchbase also wants to drive growth through the channel, and broader support for Kubernetes and tools such as Autonomous Operator should appeal to resellers, VARs and systems integrators as their customers explore multiple cloud options.

Technology which abstracts away picky platform details and tasks also reduces your ability to optimize your configuration.
Curt Monash President, Monash Research

Like competitor MongoDB, Couchbase’s database is commonly used for mobile, web and IoT applications. With Autonomous Operator — which is similar in purpose to MongoDB’s Enterprise Operator — Couchbase presents users with convenience and greater efficiency, but there are tradeoffs to consider.

“Technology which abstracts away picky platform details and tasks also reduces your ability to optimize your configuration, notably for performance,” said Curt Monash, president of Monash Research in Acton, Mass. “If you don’t mind the lack of optimization, using such tools can lead to nice reductions in effort, cost and blood pressure.”

Moreover, many database applications don’t have performance issues, while others only have performance issues that can be solved by scale-out, Monash said. “Those are the ones that can fit well in the cloud,” he said.

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