Unlocking the potential of databases in the cloud

The rise of cloud technology has transformed the way we think about computing. For many businesses, moving critical applications and workloads to the cloud has become a top priority in order to remain competitive. However, databases tend to be forgotten or deliberately skipped in this rush to the cloud. Data is seen as the rudimentary backbone of an organisation and something that should not be changed unless absolutely necessary.

To some extent, this view is understandable: migrating your databases to the cloud is not without its challenges. Nevertheless, the potential benefits and cost savings will be worth it when your migration is handled with due diligence. In this guide, we'll explore the advantages and potential pitfalls of cloud database migration, so you can make an informed decision about whether it's right for your organisation.

The Advantages of Databases in the Cloud

Moving your databases to the cloud can bring numerous benefits to your business. One of the most significant advantages is cost optimisation. Cloud providers offer pricing models that let you scale your infrastructure based on consumption, instead of having to pay for your on-premises infrastructure upfront. However, the pay-as-you-go pricing model can also lead to unpleasant surprises at the end of the month if not configured correctly, as we’ll discuss later in this blog.

In addition to cost savings, the cloud provides flexibility in database usage. You can easily adjust your database resources to meet changing demands with fast switching to horizontal and vertical scaling. For example, you can schedule an anticipated heavier load at the end of the month. Cloud providers also offer a range of disaster recovery options, ensuring that your data is protected in case of unexpected events. This is supported by high security standards and the ability to store data in specific regions or zones to meet regulatory requirements such as GDPR.

Another significant benefit of cloud databases is their ability to integrate with other tools. For instance, Google Analytics and other business intelligence tools can be seamlessly integrated with cloud databases to enable better insights into your data. This not only saves time but also allows for more informed business decisions, improving the overall performance of your organisation.

Why Would You Not Migrate Your Databases to the Cloud?

As with any technology adoption, there are potential drawbacks to consider. One of the main concerns is the issue of data security and privacy, but this is not entirely justified. Many people consider this the main reason to not migrate, but cloud solutions have a much higher level of security than on-premises infrastructure. In fact, security is the cloud's raison d'être: the cloud providers simply can’t afford to hold back on security measures. You will still be entrusting sensitive data to a third-party provider, however.

Another consideration is vendor lock-in, albeit slightly different from the usual. You will not be locked into a vendor’s ecosystem, but switching providers can be difficult and expensive in rare cases. You may need to restructure your databases to suit the new environment, but this is only when switching the underlying technology. As long as you stay with an SQL-based system, migrating your data will be relatively easy. Instead, the risk of switching vendors lies in the potential loss of features that your developers have started to rely on, such as a monitoring tool.

The subscription model itself can also be a potential drawback. While pay-as-you-go pricing can be a benefit in terms of cost optimisation, you’ll need to ensure that you’re monitoring usage and budgeting accordingly. Finally, a poor connection to cloud infrastructure can lead to latency issues and slower performance, which can impact productivity and user experience.

Potential Pitfalls of Cloud Database Migrations

If you’ve chosen to migrate your databases to the cloud after careful consideration, there are some pitfalls to avoid. Here are some of the most common issues that businesses face when moving their databases to the cloud:

  1. Poorly planned migration strategy: Migrating your databases to the cloud requires careful planning and preparation to avoid unexpected downtime and data loss. We recommended working with experienced professionals who can help you develop a migration plan that addresses your specific needs and set priorities accordingly. For example, we’ve noticed that many clients do not factor in the costs of data transfer and setting up firewalls, only the eventual storage costs.
  1. Unexpected costs: Sometimes, checking the wrong boxes during setup may end up with you paying for more than you need or getting hit with unexpected costs at the end of the month. For example, we’ve seen clients with advanced backup and duplication options enabled, resulting in a bill that was considerably higher than expected. It’s comparable to the shelves in a supermarket: the products at eye height are enticing, yet expensive and sometimes more than you need.
  1. Data security and compliance adjustments: It's crucial to evaluate the security measures and compliance certifications of your cloud provider to ensure that they meet your organisation’s policies. You'll also need to ensure that your data is appropriately secured during transit and at rest, which may require additional adjustments.
  1. Inadequate performance monitoring: Moving your databases to the cloud can lead to changes in performance and availability, so you need monitoring and reporting mechanisms to ensure that your databases are working optimally. This is especially important during the initial phase of migration when you need to establish a baseline for performance, and also requires checking the right boxes during setup.


In conclusion, moving your databases to the cloud can bring numerous benefits to your business, including cost savings, flexibility, and improved disaster recovery. However, it's crucial to be aware of the potential pitfalls and take steps to avoid them. By consulting an expert, you can develop a comprehensive migration plan, avoid unexpected costs, evaluate security requirements, and monitor your databases' performance. This will let you reap the rewards of cloud databases while avoiding the costs.

Considering migrating your databases to the cloud? Don't hesitate to seek the advice of an expert! Contact us today to discuss how we can help you with our advice, implementation, and support services.

April 24, 2023
Bart Callens

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