Best cloud databases of 2018


Databases are a fact of life for most SMB’s but when setting out, it’s hard to predict how fast your business will grow.  

Using a cloud provider allows you to store your database somewhere it can expand along with your organization. In this guide, you’ll discover some of the very best cloud database providers who can help you do this.

All of these providers offer a free trial and many support multiple database types so feel free to experiment before deciding which is right for you.

If security is a concern, consider choosing a cloud database provider such as Oracle who use always-on encryption to keep your information safe.

Amazon Relational Database

1. Amazon Relational Database

Make use of AWS’s processing power to run your database, if you have the skills

750 hours free
 Supports multiple DB types
Advanced users only

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a subsidiary of, founded in 2006. It provides on demand cloud computing to individuals and businesses.   

AWS is a cloud-based program for building business solutions using integrated web services. They give users access to a wide range of cloud services such as content delivery and database storage.  

Amazon Relational Database is a Database as a Service (DBaaS). It is suitable for experienced data users, data scientists and database administrators. This is a good choice for developers already familiar with AWS services. Users need to contact a Database Administrator to get setup as the process is technically involved.

Users can build databases specifically geared around their needs. You can create templates or write code. Users can control the type of database, as well as where data is stored.

The service offers 750 free hours. There is a price calculator online to help calculate AWS costs but this is tricky to figure out. Users can get assistance from their database administrator.

AWS has three different pricing models; ‘Pay as you Go’, ‘Save when you reserve’ and ‘Pay less using more’.  

However, AWS provides a free tier. This offers users certain services for 12-months. After that, you have to choose to sign up for any of the plans above or to cancel your AWS subscription. You must have an existing AWS subscription to access the Amazon Relational Database Service.

Microsoft Azure SQL Database

2. Microsoft Azure SQL Database

Try Azure for a year free of charge to see if it’s right for you

12 months free
Pay as you go
Some support issues

Microsoft Azure was created by Microsoft to build, test, deploy and manage applications and services though their data centres. It was released in 2010.

Microsoft Azure not only offers database as a service but also platform as a service, software as a service and infrastructure as a service. With Azure, clients can use the services purely on the cloud or it can be combined with any existing applications, data centre or infrastructure you may already have in place.

Azure’s SQL database has the familiar look and feel of Microsoft. It has a strong SQL engine compatibility and machine learning. The service offers all SQL tools and applications needed for creating a database. It's easy to use.

Microsoft Azure SQL database has an online portal with access to everything you need. Setup is quick and painless but users need to have a Microsoft account to get started.

Subscribers can use the ‘Connection Libraries’ to choose which operating drivers they want to connect. From here you can also choose your preferred language settings, database name, identify a source and a price tier.

Azure offer users 12 months of free usage. This includes $200 (£153.48) credit and more than 25 ‘Always free’ services. The platform works on a ‘Pay as you go’ subscription so you only pay for what you use.

Online commentators have reported some issues with support.

Rackspace Cloud

3. Rackspace Cloud

Rackspace is highly customizable, with support for any cloud model or database

Supports multiple DB types
Excellent customer support
Little documentation

Rackspace Cloud is a set of cloud-computing products from the US company Rackspace. It was founded in 2006. The solution offers web application hosting, platform as a services and cloud services amongst others.

Racksapce allows you to choose a cloud provider with which you can then interact via Rackspace’s platform. The service has partnered with major cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and WMware. The advantage of this system is that you have the scalability of some of the biggest cloud providers around but with the customer support of a smaller company.

Rackspace offers a wide range of cloud services. These include public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud and multi-cloud. When it comes to their IaaS and DBaaS solutions, Rackspace now builds entirely on open source system. This is because it uses the cloud operating system OpenStack.

Cloud Databases gives users simple, on-demand provisioned and open API’s. Users can deploy MySQL, Persona Server or MariaDB.

Rackspace Cloud databases allow users to add or remove replicas, move between instances sizes up to 64GB RAM and scale storage up to 1TB.

Users can schedule backups and restores. The platform offers container-based isolation for near bare-metal performance.

The platform offers 24/7 support with databases specialists available to assist with any query.  

You can sign up to Rackspace for free which includes a technical account manager, security guidance and free server monitoring and reporting. Rackspace has an in-depth guide into their prices. This way you can pick the package that best suits your needs.

Users have mentioned issues with documentation but this is balanced out by excellent service support.

Oracle Database

4. Oracle Database

Choose Oracle for a simple database setup with secure encryption

Easy maintenance
Secure encryption
Some support issues

Oracle Cloud Database is part of Oracle Cloud, which belongs to the Oracle Corporation, founded in 1977.

Oracle Cloud Platform works as a combination of open source technology and Oracle technology. This enable users to more efficiently build, deploy, integrate and manage all of your platform applications.

The solution uses a mixture of machine learning and AI to provide a service that offers self-repairing abilities. It also reduces business start-up costs and offers predictive insights.

Oracle Database as a Service supports any size enterprise. It provides a high level of encryption which spans multiple layers.

The database can be setup in a matter of minutes and is simple to navigate. Users can add ‘on-capacity demand’ so as they grow they can increase in scale.

All of your data and applications can be integrated. The solution enables the user to migrate all processes to the cloud. Everything is managed via a single platform. All data is encrypted by default.

Oracle Cloud Platform claims their solution does everything for you. This saves time on repetitive tasks such as system maintenance, deploying solutions and necessary updates.

The platform comes with a 30-day free trial which includes $300 (£230.22) credit and up to 3,500 hours. There is a ‘Pay as you Go’ tier or a ‘Monthly Flex’ plan. With the ‘Flex’ plan users commit to a monthly amount in cloud services with a contract ranging from 1-7 years. In order to sign up for either of the above, users will need to contact Oracle directly.

Users have reported some issues with customer support.  

SAP Cloud Platform

5. SAP Cloud Platform

Sap is a highly customizable cloud platform offering simple database migration

Free trial
Easy migration
Relatively expensive

SAP Cloud Platform is a platform as a service developed by SAP SE. It creates new applications in a secure cloud environment. It was founded in 2012.

The platform includes the in-memory SAP HANA database management system. It connects both on-premises and cloud-based systems running SAP or other third-party software.

SAP Cloud Platform is geared towards larger enterprises with huge amounts of data sets. The system is generally straight forward to setup and will guide you through the process step by step.

Use the ‘Data and Storage’ option to choose which database management systems you want to use. You can also choose the type of data migration.

SAP offer users a free trial. There are two commercial pricing plans to choose from. Sap have created a PDF with all their prices clearly explained. 

Online commentators have complained that SAP is not as competitively priced as other providers.

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