On NuoDB 4.0 Q&A with Ariff Kassam

Q1. What are the key features of NuoDB 4.0?

NuoDB 4.0 significantly expands on our cloud-native, cloud-agnostic capabilities and provides autonomous database management with always-on fault-tolerant database resiliency.

Cloud Agnostic:

In addition to our earlier certification with Amazon Web Services, we now fully support deployments in Azure and Google Cloud Platform. These certifications provide customers with a choice of public clouds to deploy NuoDB in and enable them to avoid lock-in to a single cloud vendor. Certification for other cloud providers (such as Alibaba, IBM, and more) will be driven by customer demand.

Cloud Native:

Our latest release includes support for Kubernetes Operators, for provisioning database deployments in Kubernetes distributions. Our current Operator supports OpenShift 3.11 and 4.0, and it’s simple to deploy. We’re continuing to expand on the functionality available in the Operator, including extensions for “day 2 operations” functionality such as auto scale out and backup/restore, which will be available over the next few months. We’re working to extend Operators support to the cloud vendor’s Kubernetes distribution and also offer extensions to existing Kubernetes Templates for older versions of Kubernetes that do not support Operators.

Additional features in NuoDB 4.0 include:

– Support for online index creation

– Support for expression based indexes

– Improved performance for index creation

– LDAP authentication support

TLS 1.2 network encryption

Q2. What are the specific features that NuoDB 4.0 offers for supporting cloud-native and cloud-agnostic environments?

Since the network and storage capabilities of each cloud provider is slightly different, we optimized our network and storage sub-systems for Azure and GCP internally, without having different installations for each cloud provider. This allows NuoDB to be performant in any cloud provider. We’re also adding support for each cloud provider’s Kubernetes managed service.

NuoDB is inherently cloud-agnostic as a 3rd party database. This allows customers to deploy NuoDB in the cloud provider of their choice, preventing cloud vendor lock in. Also, we enable customers to deploy in a hybrid or multi-cloud environment to reduce risk, improve business continuity, or to meet regulatory requirements.

Q3. What is a distributed SQL?

Distributed SQL is a term gaining traction in the market to differentiate a class of databases that provide the standard capabilities of OLTP RDBMS systems (e.g. strict consistency, ACID, transactions) but based on a distributed architecture. These systems have been previously categorized as “NewSQL.” The NewSQL category has become very broad, which makes it difficult for customers to determine which use cases are the best fit for those databases. The Distributed SQL category narrows the scope of use cases and allows customers to better understand the value of the databases in this category.

Q4. How do you extend the value of such distributed SQL?

There are different architectural approaches to support distributed transactional processing. Each architectural approach addresses specific use cases. We’ve focused our architecture on making the migration of existing applications on traditional OLTP RDBMS to distributed SQL without the need to modify the application to be aware of partitioning or sharding.

While customers can take advantage of partitioning with NuoDB, it’s not a requirement to start using NuoDB. This allows customers to easily migrate to NuoDB and then determine how to best take advantage of a distributed SQL database.

Q5. What are Kubernetes Operators and why is it important to support them?

As customers deploy more complicated systems in Kubernetes at scale, they need the ability to automate the provisioning and management of these systems. Operators provide the mechanism to make provisioning more predictable and automate the management of a multi-container system (e.g. automatic scale out/in) in Kubernetes.

At NuoDB, we understand how complicated it can be to deploy and manage a distributed system. We’re committed to automating and simplifying the deployment of distributed, stateful applications in Kubernetes. This enables customers to easily modernize their current application stack as well as build next generation applications to effectively compete in today’s global market.

Q6. Can you give us an example on how you ensure simple and seamless deployment of NuoDB for cloud and container environments?

The new Admin API simplifies the lifecycle management of the database processes. Previously, users had to capture and maintain the state of database processes manually. With NuoDB 4.0, this information has been internalized and maintained in Raft, allowing simpler start/stop/restart processing.

The same API can be used to deploy NuoDB in the cloud or container environments. This simplifies operations for customers by abstracting away the underlying deployment environment.

Q7. Existing customers will need to migrate to the new Admin API to use the new functionality. Isn’t this a problem?

While existing customers will need to migrate to the new Admin API, we’ve minimized differences in commands to ensure a smoother transition.  Additionally, our upgrade process will enable existing customers to move to the new administration API online, without requiring a database outage. This simple migration provides customers with many new features that improve the performance and capabilities of NuoDB.

Q8. Can you tell us what kind of indexing improvements offers NuoDB 4.0 and what they are useful for?

In NuoDB 4.0, we’ve added support for online index creation and expression (function) based indexes. We’ve also improved performance for index creation. Online index creation allows DBAs to create indexes without locking the table or requiring a maintenance window. As more and more applications need to be available 24×7, the ability to create indexes to address performance issues without requiring an application outage is critical.

Expression or function based indexes allow DBAs to improve performance for application workloads that routinely access data using functions or generic expressions. This allows indexes to be defined for common query conditions, which can improve query performance.

Improving performance is always critical for any database. We’ve made some fundamental changes to how indexes are created internally, which results in a 50% to 200% improvement in index creation speeds compared to previous versions of the database.

Our latest release of NuoDB provides a path to easily migrate applications from legacy on-premises SQL databases to a cloud-agnostic and cloud-native database that maintains the SQL dependencies mission critical applications rely on while meeting customer’s current and future requirements.


Ariff Kassam, Chief Technology Officer, NuoDB

Ariff is responsible for defining and driving NuoDB’s product strategy. Kassam brings 20 years of database and infrastructure experience to NuoDB to help the company achieve its vision of a distributed database that can manage an organization’s most valuable data while exploiting the emerging benefits of modern infrastructures such as cloud and containers.

Prior to NuoDB, Ariff held senior leadership positions at Teradata, xkoto, and Halcyon Monitoring Solutions. As Teradata’s Vice President, Unified Data Architecture Platform, he was responsible for the strategy and product management of Teradata’s UDA-enabling software solutions. Kassam was also responsible for guiding Teradata’s strategy and investments to achieve the company’s analytical ecosystem vision.

Kassam joined Teradata through the acquisition of database virtualization company xkoto, which targeted enterprises that required continuous database availability and horizontal scalability. As co-founder and CTO, Ariff was responsible for product vision, evangelizing the concept of database virtualization.

Based in Boston, Ariff holds a B.A. Sc. in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo and a M. Sc. in Medical Biophysics from the University of Toronto. He is also a technical patent co-holder for distributed database design and a passionate technical executive known for his ability to provide proven strategic direction in the face of rapidly changing business requirements.

Sponsored by NuoDB

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