Zero cost, zero management solution -- what more do you want?

Q&A: CEO of Xeround, Razi Sharir talks about Xeround FREE

Yesterday saw popular cloud datbase vendor Xeround release their first 'freemium' version - Xeround Free. The goal of Xeround FREE is to provide MySQL users a free, zero-management, highly available cloud database solution in just one click – without having to install, configure and maintain a MySQL database in the cloud. It's ideal for smaller enterprises running MySQL applications as well as for on-going development, testing and staging environments.

Xeround has gone from strength to strength, obtaining 300 customers for their Xeround PRO and 2,000 beta testers after launching it last June. It's a fairly bold move from Xeround so we thought it was a good idea to catch up with the man at the top, CEO Razi Shazir to tell us more about offering the olive branch for free...

1. What is different about Xeround FREE rather than Xeround PRO? What was the desire for making a free version?

The differences between the free and paid versions are mainly in the set of features and the supported database size. While all editions guaranteed high availability, only Xeround PRO edition enables, for example, automatic scaling and unlimited throughput.

The main motivation for offering a free version was literally listening to what the market was asking of us. Throughout the past year, many developers have contacted us asking for a free version of our cloud database, particularly for development stages, where you can make do with a more limited feature set and you're more price conscious as you want to keep your development costs down at this stage (until your app starts generating business).

In the development stages, for example, you usually do not require support for a large DB size or unlimited throughput, and then the FREE version is ideal. Now everyone can enjoy a zero-management, simple, always-on database for their apps at no cost – so developers can experience the least amount of friction while developing in the cloud. 

For customers that require larger database sizes, higher levels of scalability, additional support and SLA, there are two additional editions of Xeround's database solution: Xeround BASIC and Xeround PRO.

2. What was the inspiration behind Xeround?

We wanted to bring to the public developer’s community the same telco-grade product and unique distributed cloud database service we previously offered for cell carriers. The future is in the Cloud and we know we had the right product to provide the missing piece: true scalability and high availability at the database tier, in a zero-management package.

3. Why should someone pick Xeround over Amazon RDS or other MySQl options?

Unlike Amazon RDS or other MySQL implementations out there, Xeround’s free offering is the only native cloud database, providing high availability and true elasticity with no installation, management or configuration overhead. All scalability and availability issues are automatically handled by the service itself- it's a true plug-&-play experience. 

4.  Xeround prides itself on simplifying MySQL scalability. How is that simplicity achieved firstly under the hood, and secondly, for the end user?

An inherent capability of our distributed storage engine is the existence of multiple front-end nodes, which connect to our backend (which is also distributed on multiple nodes.) These multiple front-ends allow us to grow in throughput and number of connections beyond the limit of any single machine. This growth is not only unlimited, but extremely granular-- in the sense that we can add just the right amount of extra resources required by the database, with no need for over-provisioning or being limited to Instance sizes, such as with other solutions. The automatic scalability is done in a way that is transparent to the application and with no downtime.

Xeround’s Database-as-a-Service is architected to automatically sustain and support your application’s dynamic capacity and throughput requirements without any service downtime and with no need for any maintenance interference.

Every cloud database instance is implemented as a distributed system that can grow or shrink in compute resources to adjust its capabilities to the demand from the application. The database instance’s setup consists of three separate functional layers working in tandem to provide the service, with each layer being independently, automatically and transparently scalable. The load balancing layer is greater when scaled out enabling more connections, the SQL engine layer enables more throughput, and the Data Store layer enables increase in size.

For the end user, we automatically scale out/in, read and write, throughput and size, in a way that's completely transparent to the application and does not require any code changes, configurations or monitoring on the part of the user to support scaling.

5. Tell us about Xeround’s architecture. 

Xeround provides a database-as-a-service for MySQL applications in the cloud. It has a true native 100% MySQL front end, not an emulation or alike, since we continue using MySQL front end and uses our patented virtual partitioning technology as an alternate storage engine. 

As Hadoop is a distributed file system, Xeround is a distributed object store. It runs in memory, so allocation resource on-demand in an elastic and linear mode is by-design. It was designed from day one as a virtualized solution, so we're not suffering from the pains of adjusting a traditional single storage solution into a cloud virtualized and distributed one.

6. What do you mean by no management or configuration overhead? How exactly will that work?

It's a database-as-a-service solution (DBaas) meaning that instead of managing your database in the cloud yourself, the service does it automatically for you. Once you launch your new cloud database, which is a simple 1-click operation from the GUI, there's nothing to install, configure or worry about. High availability and scalability are guaranteed and automatically managed by the service.

7. Innovations in the Cloud industry have been commonplace, but this means that the competition has become quite fierce as well. How will Xeround stand out from its competitors? 

We welcome the competition and believe it shows of a real need in the market. As you've seen we have a unique native cloud database technology that's proven affective and a vibrant community of users.  we believe we're the right choice for SQL capabilities in the cloud.

Thanks for talking to JAXenter!

Both Xeround BASIC and Xeround PRO are available on Xeround’s Amazon EC2, Rackspace and Heroku datacenters.

While Xeround FREE is free forever, users can also try Xeround BASIC and Xeround PRO for 30 days at no charge.

To create a free cloud database instance or start a free trial, simply sign up here

Xeround PRO is offered in a pay-per-use model starting at $0.21 for GB/hour of data (with a minimum charge for 0.5GB), and $0.43 for GB of data transfer.

Anna Kent

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