Couchbase automates cloud-native database management

NoSQL database vendor Couchbase advanced its cloud-native database deployment efforts with the release of the Autonomous Operator for Kubernetes 2.0 update.

Kubernetes, an open source container orchestration system, is a foundational element of cloud-native environments. With cloud native, organizations can run the same software across multiple cloud providers, as well as on on-premises deployments, providing administrators with more opportunities to automate database management.

An Operator defines and enables a mechanism to package, deploy and manage an application in an autonomous approach. Many database vendors, including DataStax, NuoDB and CockroachDB, among others, have also embraced the Kubernetes Operator model.

Couchbase is one of the leading database management systems that operate within Kubernetes-governed containers, taking advantage of the ability to dynamically scale resources, according to IDC analyst Carl Olofson. He noted that Couchbase’s new Operator is notable in that it provides enhanced security features, extensive geographically distributed database support through Cross Data Center Replication (XDCR), and simplified operations such as automated backup.

Overall, Olofson said he sees Kubernetes Operators to be part of a larger trend in the cloud-native database market.

However, “it will take longer for databases that support data structures with complex internal data dependencies, such as fully relational data warehouses, to be able to take full advantage of the autoscaling capabilities of the container model,” Olofson said.

View of Couchbase Autonomous Operator update
Couchbase Autonomous Operator 2.0 splits out different administrative roles to provide organizations with more control over management.

How Couchbase’s has evolved its cloud-native database approach

Couchbase was an early adopter of the Operator approach, releasing its first Kubernetes Operator in August 2018.

The new 2.0 update expands on what Couchbase’s Operator enables in a number of critical areas, including overall management. Kumar said that before the 2.0 update, the Operator only defined a single role — that of the cluster administrator.

“The cluster administrator would basically configure the entire cluster with every single configuration,” said Anil Kumar, director of product management at Couchbase.

Couchbase customers told the company that there was also a need for more fine-grained controls, as they didn’t want a single cluster administrator to manage multiple resources. Kumar explained that the 2.0 Operator now provides the ability to define more specific control for cluster, user, backup and replication administration.

It will take longer for databases that support data structures with complex internal data dependencies, such as fully relational data warehouses, to be able to take full advantage of the autoscaling capabilities of the container mode.
Carl OlofsonAnalyst, IDC

Cloud-native security gets a boost

When Couchbase first scoped out the requirements for the Operator, the vendor identified provisioning, on demand scaling, self-healing and recovery as primary items, Kumar noted. Security was not part of the initial list, instead it was set for inclusion in 2.0.

With first version of the Couchbase Autonomous Operator, the Operator would create the Couchbase cluster, but then the administrator had to take extra steps to create users and assign roles and permissions.

In 2.0 that process is all automated with a configuration file that can enable Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) for cluster deployments. The new Operator also can integrate with existing user directory technology like Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) to further automate the process of defining user roles and security authorization.

Development efforts to support more cloud-native capabilities

Couchbase now is working on Operator support for the Open Service Broker API that provides service catalog functionality. With the service catalog approach, it will be possible for a developer to come to an organization’s services portal, click on Couchbase and automatically create a cluster.

“Customers have been asking for Open Service Broker API support so that within their organization, they can set up a dashboard where they publish all their services,” Kumar said.