PingCAP is the company leading the development of the popular open source NewSQL database TiDB
, which is MySQL-compatible, can handle hybrid transactional and analytical processing (HTAP) workloads, and has a cloud native architectural design. "Having a hybrid multi-cloud product is an important part of our global go-to-market strategy," says Kevin Xu, General Manager of Global Strategy and Operations. In order to achieve that, the team had to address two challenges: "how to deploy, run, and manage a distributed stateful application, such as a distributed database like TiDB, in a containerized world," Xu says, and "how to deliver an easy-to-use, consistent, and reliable experience for our customers when they use TiDB in the cloud, any cloud, whether that’s one cloud provider or a combination of different cloud environments." Knowing that using a distributed system isn’t easy, they began looking for the right orchestration layer to help reduce some of that complexity for end users.
The team started looking at Kubernetes for orchestration early on. "We knew Kubernetes had the promise of helping us solve our problems," says Xu. "We were just waiting for it to mature." In early 2018, PingCAP began integrating Kubernetes into its internal development as well as in its TiDB product. At that point, the team has already had experience using other cloud native technologies, having integrated both Prometheus
as parts of the TiDB platform earlier on.
Xu says that PingCAP customers have had a "very positive" response so far to Kubernetes being the tool to deploy and manage TiDB. Prometheus, with Grafana
as the dashboard, is installed by default when customers deploy TiDB, so that they can monitor performance and make any adjustments needed to reach their target before and while deploying TiDB in production. That monitoring layer "makes the evaluation process and communication much smoother," says Xu.
With the company’s Kubernetes-based Operator implementation
, which is open sourced, customers are now able to deploy, run, manage, upgrade, and maintain their TiDB clusters in the cloud with no downtime, and reduced workload, burden and overhead. And internally, says Xu, "we’ve completely switched to Kubernetes for our own development and testing, including our data center infrastructure and Schrodinger
, an automated testing platform for TiDB. With Kubernetes, our resource usage is greatly improved. Our developers can allocate and deploy clusters themselves, and the deploying process has gone from hours to minutes, so we can devote fewer people to manage IDC resources. The productivity improvement is about 15%, and as we gain more Kubernetes knowledge on the debugging and diagnosis front, the productivity should improve to more than 20%."