In 2017, The Economist boldly declared that data had replaced oil as the most valuable resource on Earth. And much like tanker ships, pipelines, and storage tanks have been built to safeguard and transport our oil supply, so too does our data require a secure environment that supports rapid access whenever necessary.
That secure but accessible environment is what database hosting providers create and maintain for clients. The client’s databases can be the sole inhabitants of the server, or they can share the server with applications that rely heavily on data, such as a business website or software solution. They are particularly useful for enterprises that utilize platforms like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relation Management (CRM). These types of platforms consume enormous amounts of memory. If they are to function at a speed capable supporting business uses, then a database hosting providers must deliver consistent speed and high availability.
While most hosting companies can run a web server, databases take a special combination of physical components and technical savvy to implement. The database host must configure the hosting environment to make the data quickly accessible, allow room for growth, and make the database secure enough to resist attacks or corruption.
According to PC Magazine, databases subject to certain compliance standards (for example, PCI ready standards or HIPAA compliant database standards) require specific RAID (redundant array of independent disk) levels to house data.
A company can host its own database, but the advantages offered by database hosting companies can simplify matters.
Availability: Database hosting companies employ either clustered physical servers or a cloud-based environment that duplicates all servers and internal connections for redundancy. This results in zero downtime for your database.
Security: Hosting companies stake their reputations and future sales on your data’s protection. Database hosting companies use active monitoring of all traffic to your database servers to keep an eye out for all suspicious activity, not just cyber attacks. For example, a higher-than-expected number of users on your server could raise a red flag, and the hosting provider will have in-place protocol developed in conjunction with your organization so that a proper response can be executed.
Load balancing: When traffic ramps up on your website, load balancers can distribute it so that your infrastructure continues to run optimally.
Customized solutions: If you’re purchasing hardware to fit your specific needs, the costs can add up quickly, and when your business grows or your needs change, you may find yourself at square one. Thanks to economies of scale, a database hosting company can meet your hardware needs at a fraction of the cost.
MySQL is one of the oldest database management systems still in mainstream use. An open-source software created by Oracle, it’s both free to use and free to customize to your own specific needs, since its code is publicly available. MySQL is also popular because it can run on any platform, be it Linux, UNIX, Windows, etc. It has tools for database management, data optimization and data querying. There are paid versions of MySQL available for commercial use as well. While it is a very flexible database, MySQL is not designed to be scalable, which can make it an unworthy choice for companies expecting to grow.
Similar to MySQL in its database management applications, MSSQL is Microsoft’s contribution to the database management software industry. Because of its affiliation with Microsoft, any company hosting MSSQL databases needs to have the latest version of Internet Information Services (IIS) along with specific Windows server and technical support expertise. When using Microsoft products, all products must be patched and upgraded as soon as new releases become available.
Database hosting can require an enormous amount of memory, processing power and resource dedication. While it is entirely possible for companies to host their own databases, larger hosting companies can mitigate costs by using the economics of scale with physical hardware or cloud resources to offer scalable, affordable solutions to give your databases a platform that keep them safe, secure and instantly available for your needs.
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