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What you can get with Oracle MySQL Cloud Service

Oracle's MySQL Cloud Service enables users to run MySQL databases in the cloud. Here's a rundown of the features and tools included in the cloud-based version of the open source database.

Oracle MySQL Cloud Service is an online database service hosted on Oracle Cloud and built on Oracle's MySQL Enterprise Edition software. The service provides the tools and technologies needed to deploy and manage MySQL databases in the cloud, while offering a scalable data platform with a target uptime of 99.95%.

MySQL is a widely used open source database that Oracle acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems in 2010. Oracle offers MySQL as an open source alternative to its flagship Oracle Database software, and it made the cloud-based MySQL offering available for use on its Oracle Cloud Platform in September 2016.

MySQL Cloud Service provides a cloud-based environment for the entire database management lifecycle, including self-provisioning and system monitoring. You can view and delete databases, install software patches and third-party applications, and perform many other administrative tasks. It also provides integrated security throughout the application stack, according to Oracle.

MySQL Cloud Service features

The cloud service includes all the features that are in the on-premises edition of MySQL Enterprise Edition, including advanced tools such as MySQL Enterprise Monitor, MySQL Query Analyzer, MySQL Workbench and MySQL replication. The service currently supports only MySQL 5.7, the latest version of the database, but Oracle plans to add support for a second version in the future.

As part of Oracle Cloud, MySQL Cloud Service is integrated at both the infrastructure and platform layers with other cloud services; for example, it's preintegrated with Oracle's Java Cloud Service and Application Container Cloud Service. You can also use the company's Compute Cloud Service to build custom applications that utilize MySQL Cloud Service databases.

MySQL Cloud Service also comes with Oracle Premier Support, which provides technical support from MySQL engineers and other experts on the technology. In addition, you can access support through a single contact point for both overall infrastructure and MySQL issues.

Provisioning MySQL Cloud Service

When you provision a MySQL instance, MySQL Cloud Service creates an Oracle Linux compute node and assigns storage volumes to the node; it also creates an initial database. The compute node is hosted on the Compute Cloud Service, which provides the compute and storage resources necessary to power MySQL Server and to support network and other resources. Each MySQL Cloud Service deployment contains a single instance of MySQL Server, along with its supporting software.

When provisioning a deployment, you specify the compute shape, which is the amount of processing power assigned to the compute node. You select the shape from a list of predefined Oracle CPU (OCPU) and memory pairs, such as 16 OCPU, or 120 GB RAM. At any time, you can scale the compute resources up or down.

As part of the provisioning process, you also select the amount of usable data storage to assign to the compute node. The default is 25 GB, but you can assign up to 1 TB (or 1,024 GB, to be precise). As with the compute resources, you can change the amount of data storage at any time.

You also have the option to enable automatic backups. MySQL Cloud Service supports full, incremental and partial backups, as well as on-demand snapshots, point-in-time recovery and data compression. The service uses MySQL Enterprise Backup to manage the backup operations and Oracle Storage Cloud Service containers to store the data. To implement automatic backups, you must first subscribe to Storage Cloud Service, and then create a container.

Security in MySQL Cloud Service

During the provisioning process, MySQL Cloud Service grants you root privileges to the compute node and full administrative privileges to MySQL Server. You can then set up user accounts and assign them the necessary roles and permissions. You must also supply a Secure Socket Shell (SSH) public key from a private/public key pair to facilitate secure connectivity between SSH clients and MySQL Server.

MySQL Cloud Service provides multilayered security that covers both the infrastructure layer and MySQL Server, utilizing network access controls for managing and restricting connections to MySQL. The service also includes MySQL Enterprise Firewall, an application-level firewall that enables you to control SQL statement execution based on specified criteria.

In addition, it offers MySQL Enterprise Authentication for integrating third-party security and infrastructure technologies based on industry standards. This makes it possible to authenticate MySQL clients against external resources, such as Windows Active Directory, other Lightweight Directory Access Protocol services and privileged access management tools.

Another built-in security feature is MySQL Enterprise Encryption, which enables you to apply asymmetric encryption to sensitive data throughout its lifecycle, as well as to generate keys and digital signatures. MySQL Cloud Service also supports MySQL Enterprise Transparent Data Encryption, a type of database encryption specific to data at rest -- i.e., when it's stored in the physical database files.

In addition, MySQL Cloud Service includes MySQL Enterprise Audit for implementing policy-based auditing. You can use that tool to write your own auditing routines based on specific requirements in order to monitor sensitive data, respond to security threats and achieve regulatory compliance.

As with any cloud service, you should be aware of the potential downsides, such as long-term subscription fees and limited control over the environment. Even so, your organization could still benefit from MySQL Cloud Service, especially if you're already committed to Oracle Cloud's platform and infrastructure services.

At the very least, you might consider taking MySQL Cloud Service for a test run to see whether it can meet your organization's needs. Just be sure you monitor resource usage carefully so you don't end up with unexpected and pricey subscription fees.

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