PlanetScale expands its database service with built-in performance monitoring and more

PlanetScale, the highly scalable MySQL database service founded by the co-creators of the increasingly popular Vitess open source project, today announced a series of updates that push the platform beyond its basic database features by adding new enterprise features and new tools to improve the developer experience.

The first of these new features is PlanetScale Portals, a new multi-region read-only replica system that will allow PlanetScale customers to replicate their data to any other AWS region (with support for Google Cloud and potentially other clouds coming later). “If you have a database in Frankfurt and you haveas companies do these dayscustomers in Australia or India or the U.S., you can have read replicas close to all of them literally in about four clicks. We’ll give you a connection string for each of them and then you can set up your application,” PlanetScale VP of Engineering Nick Van Wiggeren told me during a meeting at last week’s KubeCon conference in Valencia, Spain. He noted that this is the first time PlanetScale offers these kinds of automated read replicas.

Previously, users would have had to use an external system to replicate the data, with all of the complexities that come with that, but now, it’s a built-in feature that can then also make use of PlanetScale’s standard dashboards and monitoring tools. “It’s a way lower operational burden to the point where it’s point-and-click, which is rare,” Van Wiggeren said. “Behind the scenes, of course, there’s a whole lot of complexity that we abstract for our users.”

With this update, PlanetScale is also launching Insights, a new real-time performance monitoring service for its database system that will allow users to keep tabs on how their queries are performing without having to use a third-party system. Van Wiggeren noted that PlanetScale’s systems give the company unparalleled data into what the database is doing. “We’re expecting that it’s really going to help developers figure out what’s going wrong when something goes wrong,” Van Wiggeren said. He also stressed that this isn’t a play to replace existing services like Datadog (and the company is actually partnering with them). 

The last piece of news today is the launch of PlanetScale Connect. Using the service’s open-source Airbyte connector, users can now more easily extract and move data from PlanetScale to other platforms like BigQuery, Snowflake or RedShift for analysis. Using PlanetScale’s ability to incrementally sync this data, the analytics database stays fresh, all without the risk to corrupting the production data. While the current iteration of this service depends on Airbyte, the company also plans to work with services like Fivetran in the future. “We used Airbyte as the proving point because that didn’t require any kind of external coordination,” explained Van Wiggeren.

Earlier this week, PlanetScale also published its “The Future Database” manifesto. The reaction from many developers to this was lukewarm, but the overall ideas seem sound: build databases that are easy to operate, reliable and serverless and interoperable by default, globally distributed and highly scalable. You can read the full document here.   

“Today’s announcement builds on our commitment to deliver The Future Database, enabling companies to get out of the infrastructure business and focus on their business,” said Sam Lambert, CEO, PlanetScale. “PlanetScale’s platform-based approach lets development teams take back control of their workflow with a database that’s as easy to use as writing code.”