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Database updates in the cloud and their impact on business processes

The cloud has significant advantages when it comes to scalability and availability. But what should be considered more often in the new year is the impact of continuous updates on the availability of the associated business processes. In this blog are Tino Dudink, DBA Consultant and Senior Database Reliability Engineer dive deeper into the complex world of database updates in the Cloud.

Tino Dudink

DBA Consultant en Senior Database Reliability Engineer
Tino Dudink - DBA Consultant en Senior Database Reliability Engineer

The benefits of the Cloud

When migrating data workloads to the Cloud, people often look primarily at infrastructure benefits such as scalability and uptime. Logical. Availability of databases and data in the Cloud ranges from 99% to 99,999% with the five 9’s after the decimal point.

You don’t get much more reliable than that. But what you shouldn’t forget is the impact of frequent – planned, but especially unplanned updates of PaaS, SaaS and DBaaS solutions (Software as a Service or Database as a Service) on data availability. More importantly, on the availability of connected dashboards, reports and applications.

The impact of ERP solutions in the Cloud

ERP SaaS solutions – without citing a specific name – are notorious in this regard. They often promise to provide an all-in-one solution for organizational processes, such as financial accounting, resource planning, logistics and inventory management. Undoubtedly, they do offer that, but there can be significant challenges when transitioning to the Cloud.

Migration options to the Cloud

When migrating applications and database from on-premise to the Cloud, there are several possible solutions, from virtualized servers with applications to modern microservice architectures with containers and services. The SaaS implementation of an ERP solution (such as SAP, AFAS but also Microsoft and Google) places both the data, the interfaces and the application layer externally, in the Cloud of the software vendor / Cloud provider.

Kill two birds with one stone

This has its advantages. Maintenance, management and updates are performed by the external party and are therefore entirely their responsibility. Nicely arranged, many an IT manager or board member thinks. No hassle on the management side, and we make the switch from CAPEX to OPEX. After all, moving to the Cloud means they can reduce their IT costs by not having to make large capital investments for physical infrastructure, but instead pay for Cloud services based on usage. Two birds with one stone.


But then the reality. Which can be a lot more complicated than you might expect. The ERP vendor often offers connectors to unlock information for analysis and forecasting. These are generally pricey and lack transparency, especially when they do not involve open source. It can be done without connectors, but then organizations must create traditional links and take data snapshots of the SaaS application data, the source system. This is more transparent, but requires more maintenance.

Controlled updates on-premises

And once your ERP application and/or database is running in the cloud, then the real challenge begins. The application and/or database must be updated regularly, often several times a year. If it’s not because of a change in the law or changing regulations, it’s because of a development in the market or another area. With ERP implementations in traditional on-premise environments, you as an organization have the autonomy and control to make these updates at any given time.

With a well-functioning change management process, you start by implementing the new version or updates in a non-production environment. After a thorough acceptance and chain test, these versions with changes can usually, with the necessary effort, be placed neatly and in a controlled manner in the production environment.

Unannounced updates in the Cloud

In the case of a SaaS solution and also a DBaaS solution, this process is quite different. Of course, this can vary depending on the party and the specific situation, but often the responsibility for planning, implementing and rolling out new features lies with the implementation partners of the software vendor or Cloud provider themselves.

It is – unfortunately – not uncommon that these announcements are communicated in a limited way or sometimes not at all, with all the consequences that entails. Even the controlled transfer of these changes from the non-production environment to the production environment is not a given. With a bit of bad luck, your application cannot communicate with the new update at all. This therefore requires close coordination with the implementation partner. And that is not always easy….


In short, the Cloud offers undeniable advantages in terms of scalability and availability. However, to maximize these benefits and minimize the impact of regular and unexpected updates on your business processes, careful planning and preparation is crucial.

For example, in the case of unplanned connectivity due to compability issues, it is very important to understand the complexity of database updates in the cloud and anticipate the challenges that may arise. Only then can you maximize the benefits of the Cloud, without compromising the availability of your vital business processes.

Want to know more?

Are you considering migrating to the Cloud and wondering how it will affect your business processes? OptimaData can provide support in making the right choices, going through a migration readiness program or mapping Cloud and management costs through a benchmark. Instantly have a Trusted Advisor behind you for “suppose it’s necessary” and “who do you gonna call”? Feel free to contact us.