Contain(erize) your databases: The importance of database operators

Businesses are increasingly adopting containerization as a means to achieve scalability, flexibility, and portability for their applications. As part of this containerization journey, moving databases to a container environment has emerged as a crucial step. ‍As database experts, we at Hieda have noticed firsthand that managing databases in containers requires specialized tools and technologies. That’s why this blog will explore the significance of database operators like CloudNativePG or Crunchy Data, highlighting their role in simplifying and streamlining the management of databases in containerized environments.

Why Containerize?

Containerization, powered by technologies like Docker and container orchestration platforms like Kubernetes, enables developers to package applications and their dependencies into self-contained units called containers. Containers provide a consistent and isolated runtime environment, ensuring that applications run reliably across different operating systems and infrastructures. The lightweight nature of containers allows for efficient resource utilization and rapid deployment, making them ideal for modern application architectures. 

This leads to a number of benefits for your databases and application infrastructure in general:

  • Portability and Consistency: Containerized databases ensure applications and databases can be easily deployed consistently across diverse environments.
  • Scalability and Resource Efficiency: Containerization enables databases to dynamically replicate up or down based on workload demands.
  • Isolation and Security: Each containerized database operates within its isolated runtime environment, preventing interference or conflicts with other applications or databases.
  • Rapid Deployment and Rollback: Containerized databases facilitate rapid and consistent deployments through automated and standardized processes.Infrastructure.
  • Flexibility: Containerized databases are compatible with any containerization-supported environment, allowing for multi-cloud deployments or seamless migration of databases with minimal configuration overhead.
August 21, 2023

The need for a database operator

While containerization offers numerous benefits for application deployment, databases have some unique requirements that make it more challenging to simply run them in a container environment. Unlike stateless applications, databases need to store and retrieve data reliably, handle complex queries efficiently, and maintain ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) properties. Additionally, databases often have dependencies on external storage systems, require specialized configuration for optimal performance, and necessitate careful backup and recovery mechanisms.‍Database operators are specialized tools designed to address the unique requirements and challenges associated with running databases in containerized environments. These operators provide a higher level of abstraction and automation, streamlining the management of databases and ensuring their seamless integration within container orchestration platforms like Kubernetes.

Operators in practice: CloudNativePG and Crunchy Data

Not all operators are created equal, and with numerous options available, it becomes crucial to compare them based on specific criteria. To ensure a comprehensive assessment, we use five key categories to compare the available options. To illustrate, we will specifically focus on comparing two options for PostgreSQL database management within container environments. ‍

  • Services: CloudNativePG provides a seamless and user-friendly experience for deploying and configuring database services. It simplifies the process of setting up PostgreSQL databases within containerized environments, allowing for quick and efficient deployment of database instances. Crunchy Data, while requiring some additional configuration, also offers robust services for managing PostgreSQL databases.
  • Monitoring: Both CloudNativePG and Crunchy Data offer monitoring capabilities to track the health and performance of PostgreSQL databases. They provide metrics, alerts, and insights to ensure proactive management and early issue detection. CloudNativePG excels in this category, providing comprehensive monitoring features out of the box, while Crunchy Data requires some additional configuration to enable full monitoring functionality.
  • High Availability: CloudNativePG and Crunchy Data prioritize high availability for PostgreSQL databases. They offer features such as database clustering, replication, and automatic failover to ensure continuous availability and data integrity. Both operators provide reliable mechanisms for maintaining high availability within containerized environments.
  • Storage: CloudNativePG and Crunchy Data integrate with storage systems to enable persistent and reliable storage for PostgreSQL databases. They support various storage options and provide efficient management of storage volumes. Both operators offer robust storage capabilities, ensuring data durability and accessibility.
  • Load Balancing: CloudNativePG excels in the category of load balancing by providing effective mechanisms for distributing the database workload. It offers built-in load balancing features or integrates seamlessly with external load balancers, optimizing resource utilization and enhancing performance scalability. By contrast, while trying to configure Crunchy Data we suffered an obscure issue that prevented us from properly configuring Crunchy Data in the allotted time, making CloudNativePG the clear winner in this category.


In conclusion, our evaluation of database operators highlights the importance of considering specific categories to make informed decisions. In our limited test of two established PostgreSQL operators, CloudNativePG emerged as a superior choice, excelling in each category with its seamless service deployment, robust monitoring features, strong high availability mechanisms, efficient storage integration, and effective load balancing capabilities. However, it's important to thoroughly evaluate and choose the operator that aligns best with your specific requirements, as the operator landscape is constantly expanding and evolving.Looking to optimize your database management in a containerized environment? We at Hieda, a trusted database service company, can help you navigate the complexities of deploying and managing databases, ensuring high performance, scalability, and reliability. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can assist you in harnessing the power of containerized database environments.

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