by Joe Leslie

A Sneak Peak at “New Admin”: Simplified Management, Kubernetes and OpenShift Support, Improved Agility and Automation

NuoDB Administrative Improvements

There’s a new Sheriff coming to town…

In the days of covered wagons and the open trail, the small towns in the west (you know the ones) with a single dirt main street lined on each side with storefronts, wooden boardwalks and horses tied to a rail, … they all had one thing in common -- a Sheriff in charge. And if there was anything important going on, or a decision was to be made, it involved the Sheriff.

In NuoDB, a distributed SQL database that runs on-prem, in the cloud, or in containers, the Sheriff is the Administrative management tier (or Admin).

Like the Sheriff, the NuoDB Admin has a day job. It’s responsible for making decisions, enforcing them, and keeping an orderly state. More specifically, the Admin is responsible for managing distributed database resources, database lifecycle, and processing database state transitions durably across the domain of distributed machine resources employing consensus-based protocol. In addition, the Admin is responsible for load balancing database connection requests and assigning a suitable transaction process to service those connection requests directly. Lastly, the Admin monitors and reports the general health of the databases it has under management. So we conclude the day in the life of the Admin, managing critical activities ensuring the NuoDB distributed database system runs reliably and is always available!

With the accelerating transition toward microservices-based application deployment environments, the use of containers has become commonplace. Containers offer greater agility and automation, enabling developers to deploy applications faster at less cost. Yet even with all this great work around automation and agility in the development cycle, companies often find that the benefits are less than anticipated.

One critical roadblock for production deployment of business-critical apps is the continued reliance on a monolithic database architecture, which simply doesn’t fit nicely in containers. As well, containers were originally thought to only require ephemeral storage and be transient by nature. Consequently, many applications that deploy in these architectures still run their database the ol’ fashion way on a single host outside of the container platform. And when the database grows beyond the single host boundary, in order to scale-up, the dataset is shared across several hosts. Companies benefiting by deploying their apps in a microservices architecture would like to enjoy the same benefits when deploying their database tier. But how? Deploying the database in a microservices architecture becomes a messy and difficult proposition when considering these challenges.

The good news is that today’s container management platforms have evolved to support a growing range of new use cases. Most exciting for us: Among the advancements made to platform maturity is the support for persistent storage! Container-persistent storage in concert with process enforcement has opened the door for a distributed database like NuoDB to thrive in this new topology model.

Designed from the outset as a distributed database, NuoDB’s Transaction Engines (TEs) and Storage Managers (SMs) run as separate processes across commodity hardware. Each process type scales in or out independently of each other based on the application needs. These database processes can be distributed across data center boundaries (e.g. availability zones) yet still operate emergently as a single logical database servicing applications requests. Therefore, while operating equally as well in host-based deployments, NuoDB is uniquely qualified and ideally suited to deploy in microservices architectures.

Today customers can choose between many different container orchestration products such as Kubernetes, Red Hat OpenShift, AWS EC2, and Apache Mesos when deploying a microservices architecture. For a database product to operate in microservices architecture, it requires more specialized management integration functions.

In anticipation of these requirements, our team here at NuoDB has been working for over a year on NuoDB’s next-generation Admin, which has been built specifically to integrate seamlessly into microservices environments. It released in Beta in January, the new NuoDB Admin is available for customers to give it a try in their development and test environments. Simply contact NuoDB technical support and ask how you can get started!

Some of the NuoDB Admin improvements you can expect:

  • Simplified product integration with the introduction of a full RESTful API  
  • Drastically improved support for microservices application deployments with full support for Red Hat OpenShift and Kubernetes. Support for other container orchestration solutions will be prioritized based on customer and market demand
  • Continuously available database environment in containerized management environments such as Red Hat OpenShift and Kubernetes with automatic database process error detection and self-healing.
  • Improved database availability, reliability, and restart capability in the event of common network delays and failure scenarios.
  • Better performance and control through new user-defined policies available in our more powerful load balancer, making it easy to connect applications to specific Transaction Engines (TEs) (desirable either due to workload, performance, or geographic constraints)
  • Improved domain and database health and root cause information to help diagnose error conditions and restore operations quickly.
  • Simplified command entry through new support for command line argument and value completion

Stay tuned for future NuoDB Admin blogs which will cover in more technical depth …

  1. How to deploy NuoDB in bare-metal and container orchestration environments such as Red Hat OpenShift and Kubernetes
  2. The architectural advancements that NuoDB Admin brings to market and their direct benefits to our customers

There will be no gun-fight in the streets or at the O.K. Corral when the NuoDB Admin takes over as the new Admin component. The switchover will be a peaceful one. In fact, the existing Admin will remain available during the entire NuoDB v3 release to provide customers plenty of time to plan their migrations to the next version of NuoDB Admin.