Planetscale - Probably the best DB solution right now

As is often the case with developers, I find I have a finite amount of time and unlimited curiosity, I've tried various databases over the years - with mixed results. Recently, after bad experiences with NoSQL and self-managed relational databases, I switched to Planetscale. Here's what drove my decision.

First, a bit about my background. I've built social platforms, real-time apps, and data-intensive sites. I started with MySQL and PostgreSQL, running on dedicated servers. But maintaining performant, highly available databases as traffic grew was a nightmare.

The overhead of around-the-clock ops work took time away from development. Outages from badly timed schema changes or capacity limits were not uncommon. The load became unbearable.

So, I pivoted to NoSQL document databases like MongoDB, hoping to eliminate the burdens of SQL administration. Unfortunately, this introduced new problems:

Denormalized data led to inconsistencies under load.

  • No clear way to model relationships between documents.
  • Query performance degraded badly without strong indexing.
  • Caching and replication required even more manual work.
  • While NoSQL was easier to get started, I hit roadblocks once my apps reached meaningful scale. I longed for the robustness and query flexibility of a relational system, without the baggage.

After evaluating relational DB providers like AWS Aurora, self-hosted SQL DB's, and others; PlanetScale emerged as the solution, blending the best of both worlds. I get an auto-scaling MySQL-compatible database, without having to manage infrastructure or sharding.

I selected Planetscale as my go-to database for these core reasons:

No ops overhead

  • Serverless scaling without capacity planning or load balancing work. Resources grow and shrink to match application traffic automatically.
  • Fully managed service means no maintenance like version upgrades or uptime monitoring required on my end.
  • Can focus entirely on product innovation rather than database chores.

Predictable high performance

  • Low and consistent read/write latency despite serverless architecture.
  • Built-in caching frequently accessed data in memory dramatically boosts speed.
  • Stream processing enables real-time views and asynchronous tasks.
  • Geographic distribution and replication improve resilience.

Powerful relational model

Supports complex relational data models, foreign keys, and JOINs. Expressive SQL querying language vs. NoSQL limitations. ACID compliance ensures rock solid data integrity. Vertical scaling via MySQL architecture avoids NoSQL sharding pains.

Buttery developer experience

Intuitive console UI and Prisma client boost productivity. Change data capture replicates database changes to clients in real-time. Point-in-time recovery protects against data loss. Granular access controls and permission management.

Avoiding lock-in

Open source Vitess foundations unlike proprietary NoSQL or other vendors. Clear path for exporting data from MySQL compatibility. Option to self-host provides exit strategy if needed.

In summary, Planetscale removes the typical tradeoffs between power and convenience. For my needs as a productivity-focused full stack developer, it was the clear choice.

Performance remains consistently high, even under load. Point-in-time recovery protects from data corruption. Built-in caching speeds up reads. Multi-region replication hardens reliability.

But most importantly, PlanetScale restores my productivity. I can focus on product innovation again, rather than database maintenance. After experiencing the pain of DIY and NoSQL data stores, PlanetScale brings welcome simplicity without compromising power.

I'm confident it can support current and future workloads, while letting me operate as a developer, not a DBA. For other full-stack developers seeking the same freedom, I can't recommend PlanetScale highly enough.