CockroachDB database maker Cockroach Labs Inc. today announced the general availability of the long-awaited “serverless” version of its flagship product.

The company says the serverless edition of CockroachDB provides teams with a highly performant, reliable database, without any of the overhead of managing the process of scaling the database up and down, ensuring they can focus firmly on their applications.

CockroachDB is a cloud-native Structured Query Language database that’s noted for its high resiliency and its compatibility with Kubernetes, which is open-source software used to manage modern, container-based applications. The name is a nod to CockroachDB’s resilience, with the company claiming the database will remain accessible even during a major technical malfunction, such as an entire rack of servers inside a data center going offline.

The key to CockroachDB’s high resilience is its distributed architecture. Deployments consist of multiple small database instances as opposed to one centralized operation. Those instances are spread across multiple locations to ensure no disruption. As a result, if one instance does go offline for whatever reason, user requests are rerouted to another. CockroachDB also adds a second feature called multi-active availability, which helps prevent data accuracy errors that may occur when a malfunctioning database instance is repaired and reconnected to the rest of the deployment.

Cockroach Labs explained that today, many developer teams are under pressure to deploy new products and features as fast as possible, while maintaining the operational efficiency and reliability of their applications. That can be a challenge, the company said, because while teams are focused on improving and maintaining their applications, they must also struggle to manage the underlying database that powers them.

With the availability of CockroachDB Serverless, developers can stop worrying about the database altogether, safe in the knowledge that it will always be running in the background and capable of scaling to meet their application’s performance demands.

CockroachDB Serverless is a managed offering that runs in the background, without the need to manage the underlying infrastructure. It still runs on servers, of course, but the management of these is abstracted away. Instead, Cockroach Labs handles all of the provisioning, maintenance and scaling requirements.

The company explained that CockroachDB Serverless combines a simple, PostgreSQL interface with consumption-based pricing and elastic scaling. The advantages are that teams can reduce their daily database operations to near-zero, ensure they always have the right amount of capacity without overspending, and maximize velocity by focusing their time on developing their apps only. Developers can get started with CockroachDB Serverless now with a forever-free tier that provides up to 5 gigabytes of storage and 250 million requests per month, the company said.

Holger Mueller of Constellation Research Inc. told SiliconANGLE that serverless has emerged as the magic formula for easing software deployment and maintenance for developers. “By not having to worry about provisioning and operating servers, that fees up a lot of resources for developers and increases their velocity, which is what really matters for enterprises,” he said. “It’s good to see the new offering coming with a free tier, which is important for education and evaluation of any new product.”

One new customer that has already evaluated the product is Web3 Gaming Inc., better known as Rainmaker Games, which runs its entire gaming discovery and community website on CockroachDB Serverless.

“The product has helped us get our apps up and running quicker since there’s no server to provision, nothing to install, and no replication to configure,” said Rainmaker Games Chief Technology Officer Jonathan Kennell. “We also don’t have to worry about cluster maintenance or scaling, which traditionally are major operational concerns. CockroachDB serverless enables us to focus on building a platform that empowers gamers to play and invest smarter by eliminating the manual and operational headaches that come with a traditional database.”

As well as making CockroachDB Serverless generally available, Cockroach Labs said it’s launching a new migration toolset called CockroachDB Molt. Now in preview, it comes with a schema conversion tool that identifies and fixes incompatibility issues between source databases and CockroachDB. The idea is to ensure smooth migrations for customers that want to switch to CockroachDB.

Analyst Doug Henschen of Constellation Research said CockroachDB Serverless stands out against other serverless offerings thanks to the high scalability, resilience, consistency, SQL familiarity and compatibility with PostgreSQL that the original CockroachDB platform has become known for.

“Database providers also need to ensure that it’s easy for customers to migrate to their services,” he said. “This is where CockroachDB Molt will come in especially handy, simplifying migrations with tooling such as its schema conversion feature that’s designed to identify and fix incompatibilities between source databases and CockroachDB.”

Users may well be tempted to give CockroachDB Serverless a try, as the database is also adding new integrations with popular developer tools like Vercel, Vault and Terraform.

The integration with Vercel, an open-source framework for the React programming language, ensures developers can build and deploy web applications written in that language without any configuration, management or maintenance hassles, the company said. Meanwhile, by integrating with HashiCorp Inc.’s Vault, developers can now centralize and standardize access credentials for the database. Finally, there’s an integration with HashiCorp’s Terraform, an infrastructure-as-code offering that makes it easy to provision CockroachDB using automated, repeatable workflows.

“It’s good to see CockRoachDB is also adopting the widely accepted standards from HashiCorp and Vercel, as these are familiar in the developer community,” Mueller added. “These integrations further reduce the time it takes to get up to speed and operate the database.”

Cockroach Labs Chief Product Officer Nate Stewart said his company aims to ensure that data-intensive applications can effortlessly scale up to serve millions of users anywhere in the world via a simple SQL-based application programming interface. “We’re a step closer to that vision now that CockroachDB Serverless is generally available,” Stewart said.

Image: Cockroach Labs

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