A Guide to Database Automation with Severalnines ClusterControl

Lukas Vileikis

Nowadays, database automation is a very hot topic. Database automation, simply speaking, refers to leveraging processes and tools to make administrative tasks for database developers and database administrators simpler.

Why Database Automation?

Database automation refers to the use of self-regulating standalone processes for administrative tasks in a database. As your data grows, database automation can prove to be invaluable as it alleviates the accompanying administrative burden. Database automation can help you to reduce errors and anomalies in your database by eliminating the risk of human error. It can also help you to use the DBAs working in your organization more efficiently, making them available for other potentially mission-critical tasks including patching, upgrading, scaling, provisioning or data recovery. In short, automating the processes in your database is a very good thing - let’s dive deeper into it.

What Can Be Automated?

When it comes to databases, developers and DBAs can automate a number of things. They include, but are not limited to, automating backup processes, automating the deployment and scaling of your database instances, automating the monitoring and reporting of any issues that might arise, etc.

The automation of monitoring and reporting of issues related to your database can alert you whenever there’s a problem related to any of your database instances.  When it comes to automating backup processes, backup verification is critical. Chances are you do not have one tool to help you do everything at once, but there is a solution.

Automating Your Database Processes with ClusterControl

 Severalnines ClusterControl is a database operations management and automation tool that has enabled over 12,000 deployments and is used by a wide range of customers across a variety of industries. Companies using ClusterControl include HP, Vodafone, the NHS, universities in the Netherlands, BT, Orange, Cisco and various other organizations. Some of the benefits customers have had using ClusterControl’s automation include: no longer having to use home grown scripts, which otherwise required a lot of time to maintain (Kickback); using ClusterControl as a virtual DBA (net-sol.at); helping to optimize the process of database replication (iyzico); or simply monitoring PostgreSQL-based instances and achieving high-availability (NHS).

ClusterControl can help you automate your database processes in a number of different ways:

  • ClusterControl helps you backup your data, allowing you to protect all of your business-critical assets. while also offering retention policies for compliance, data encryption and compression. Backed up data can be automatically uploaded to AWS S3, Google Cloud Storage or Azure Storage. 

  • ClusterControl can be used as a monitoring and alerting tool because it understands the specific needs of different database engines, and will not only alert you when something goes wrong, but also when it thinks something may go wrong in the future.  

  • With a point-and-click interface, ClusterControl lets you automate the deployment and scaling of your database instances quickly, efficiently and safely. 

  • The tool comes equipped with advanced monitoring and reporting features, with comprehensive operational reports on the health and stability of your database operations. 

  • It enables you to automatically deploy and run highly-available database clusters to AWS, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud. 

In a nutshell, ClusterControl can help:

  1. Ensure that tasks and processes are approached the same way, which increases business efficiency and IT agility.

  2. Centralize the database management into a single interface.

  3. Ensure that DBAs, sysadmins and developers will be able to manage entire database clusters efficiently with minimal risks while at the same time using industry best practices.

To automate your database processes using ClusterControl, you have a multiple options: You can configure and deploy highly available database clusters, scale them up and down by adding or removing nodes to and from them; you can also deal with patches - automatically. While one could cobble together various tools and scripts to approximate  the features offered in ClusterControl, the Severalnines team has already done the work to enable: operations such as templated repeatable database server and cluster deployments, deployment and integration of proxy servers, monitoring and alerting, backups, restores & backup scheduling, automated cluster and node recovery, among others.

Now we will see how everything looks from the inside. ClusterControl provides you with an overview of your database clusters:

To get started, simply deploy or import a cluster:

Once you have an active database cluster, click on it and you should see an overview:

ClusterControl also provides you with the ability to drill down into individual nodes:

You can also monitor performance:

As far as performance goes, you also have numerous other benefits. For example, you can monitor the queries running on your server:

As you can probably see, ClusterControl is useful not only for database automation, it can be used for a variety of other things.

Summary

Database automation is the process of leveraging the tools and processes to make database tasks less complex, saving time for both developers and DBAs alike. Severalnines ClusterControl can help by letting you easily deploy, monitor, manage and scale highly available open source databases on-premise or in the cloud. ClusterControl also comes equipped with advanced monitoring and reporting features and to help you push your database instances to the max and it allows you to see comprehensive operational reports on the health of your databases.

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The only management system you’ll ever need to take control of your open source database infrastructure.