The IT Decision Maker’s Guide to Database Cloud Service Providers Comparison

MarkBurgessMark Burgess  |  

Selecting the correct database cloud services is a key decision for every IT cloud migration. Depending on your objectives and requirements, different database cloud service providers should be evaluated to ensure the best fit for your purpose.

Here I compare each of the major database cloud service providers and evaluate their core offerings. Given the vast differences in customer requirements it’s impossible to provide specific recommendations – but I do outline the pros and cons of each service.



Oracle Database Cloud capabilities have continued to evolve as Oracle Cloud capabilities have matured. Oracle positions itself as the only “enterprise” ready cloud provider – the offerings certainly support this with options to deploy the most simple database schemes up to large Oracle Exadata cloud deployments.

Oracle DBCS is the traditional cloud database service offering across virtual or bare metal infrastructure. It has a comprehensive range of configuration options and service tiers across Oracle 12c , 11g and 18c.

Oracle Database Cloud Service

Oracle Database Cloud Service offers a choice of different editions, which consist of the same code that runs Oracle Database on-premises but running in cloud virtual machines. With Oracle Database Cloud Service, enterprise options are bundled together and included to meet your needs. The service also provides tooling to help automate DBA tasks.

Feature Summary

  • Routine database administration tasks around backup and patching are performed as part of this cloud service platform.
  • Oracle RAC is supported when deploying on virtual machines within the DBCS.
  • Oracle Data Guard deployment using cloud-native tooling and API’s is available if required.
  • Using the Oracle Database and Cloud Service is the easiest and closest way to deploy Oracle Maximum Availability Architecture environment in the cloud.
  • Service tiers cater for Standard Edition up to fully optioned Enterprise Edition deployments.


  1. Tools, procedures and knowledge from on-premise Oracle environments are directly usable to the cloud. Limited “skills” porting is required.
  2. Easily scale database environments between releases/versions as required.
  3. Can be very tightly integrated into on-premise Oracle environments.
  4. Operational DBA pain points removed but still have full access/control over the environment.
  5. Universal Credits pricing model provides flexibility between services.


  1. Service availability can be limited to specific regions.
  2. Multi-tenant required on-premise to take full advantage of hybrid capabilities.
  3. Only Oracle databases can be run – no options for Microsoft SQL, Postgres, MongoDB mixed environments.

Oracle Database Exadata Cloud Service

Oracle Exadata Cloud Service provides the performance, management and scalability benefits of Oracle Exadata as a cloud service.

Feature Summary

  • It has the same capabilities as on-premise Exadata without the data centre co-lo requirements.
  • Platform capabilities can be used as required cloud service without on-premise investment commitment.
  • Oracle Database and Exadata workload management and consolidation features are available to control resource allocation.


  1. Performance and scalability of Oracle Exadata platform as a consumable cloud service.
  2. Much of the complexity of managing the Exadata platform is performed as part of the cloud service delivery.
  3. Co-exists within the cloud ecosystem or as a hybrid cloud platform.
  4. Allows multiple databases across versions to exist on the same cloud service.
  5. Dynamic scaling of CPU’s as required.

Cons: (Same as Oracle Database Cloud Service)

  1. Service availability can be limited to specific regions.
  2. Multi-tenant required on-premise to take full advantage of hybrid capabilities.
  3. Only Oracle databases can be run – no options for Microsoft SQL, Postgres, MongoDB mixed environments.

Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing/ Oracle Autonomous Datawarehouse Cloud Service

Arguably, Oracle technology significantly reduces or removes the need for a DBA. The typical pain points of running mission critical high performance database environments are addressed by the capabilities of the cloud service.

This is the database software equivalent of what Oracle Exadata provided for database platforms over 10 years ago. The model of a single purpose, optimised stack is extended up to the database platform.

Oracle Exadata has removed the need for IT to interpret how mission critical database platforms should be deployed. Oracle Autonomous Database technology will remove the need for DBA’s to interpret how a mission critical database system should be implemented and operated.

While it is still early days for this technology, we see this becoming the mainstream database deployment model over the coming decade.


  1. Significantly reduces database platform administrative effort.
  2. Autonomous tuning, maintenance and security capabilities have the potential to be faster, more consistent and “always on” compared to the limitations of human workforce


  1. New technology.
  2. Limited to certain regions only.
  3. Limited ability to select some autonomous features and not others.
  4. Application certification.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Amazon Web services database

AWS provides a diverse range of cloud database offerings across both open source and commercial database platforms. AWS caters for many different database deployments with the main offerings around the Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) services.

While the AWS RDS commercial platform offerings are capped for some features – they are very strong with offerings across the whole data management stack.

AWS not only simplifies, but encourages migration away from commercial database platforms to either open source equivalents or the AWS database service offerings.

One could argue that AWS invented the concept of a cloud database with their RDS services. They are certainly a well established and mature player in the database cloud market with nearly every data management platform catered for as a cloud service.


Amazon RDS covers the following database platforms:

  1. Amazon Aurora
  2. PostgreSQL
  3. MySQL
  4. MariaDB
  5. Oracle
  6. Microsoft SQL Server

The majority of routine database management tasks can be performed by the RDS service including backups, provisioning, automated failover and recovery.

While these routine database administration tasks are taken care of, you still need the technical skills to configure and optimise the database.


  1. Simple to deploy database environments on demand.
  2. The vast majority of use cases are catered for in terms of performance, availability, redundancy and security.
  3. The vast majority of database platforms are catered for as a managed service.
  4. Databases deployed in RDS services are easily integrated into the AWS ecosystem.
  5. Caters for all database migration requirements from commercial to open source platforms.


  1. Commercial database features are limited in some cases.
  2. Licensing metrics can be unfavourable compared to other options for certain database platforms.
  3. Somewhat restricted access to just the database itself which may limit some deployments.
  4. Version upgrades can lag behind releases. Something to consider if requirements need the latest and greatest.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure SQL database

Microsoft Azure database services covers MS SQL, Oracle and the most common open source database platforms. Naturally the Azure cloud services fit well with Microsoft-centric environments.

When migrating or deploying MS SQL databases there is the added benefit of the database being one part of the entire Azure cloud ecosystem.

Cloud migration in many organisations will not be limited to just databases and applications. Cloud services for Windows AD and Office Exchange all provide options to decommission the data centre. Azure provides the ability to consume common enterprise wide IT applications such as Active Directory and Sharepoint as cloud services.


  1. Vast majority of database platform requirements are covered across commercial and open source databases.
  2. Tightly integrated with other Microsoft ecosystem services.
  3. SQL Database Hyperscale is one of a number of technologies that aim to significantly reduce administrative overheads.
  4. Easy integration with Power BI reporting tools.


  • Databases other than MS SQL will still require a DBA to maintain and optimise.
  • A very MS SQL centric platform. This may change with the acquisition of CitusData and the offerings around PostgreSQL.
  • Limited options to scale databases that are not MS SQL.
  • No support for Oracle RAC.

Google Cloud Platform

Google Cloud SQL

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) offers MySQL and PostgreSQL as managed cloud database services. Whilst there are no commercial database platforms offered, the two most popular open source database platforms are included.

GCP offers a variety of AI and analytic cloud services.

GCP database platforms make a natural fit for enterprises who want to utilise GCP across business functions. This capability would be especially attractive to organisations who are using Google Marketing Platform, Google Ads and YouTube as a part of their marketing strategy.


  1. Will cater for database requirements for most organisations.
  2. Close integration with GCP services.
  3. Attractive options for new application development.


  1. No option for commercial database platforms.
  2. Latest supported database versions can take time to become available.
  3. Limited ability to support enterprise wide cloud migration of existing applications.

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