October 25, 2017 By DJ Walker-Morgan 3 min read

More control for Bluemix Compose databases

At IBM Compose, we know how important having control of your databases is. In August, we introduced the new Bluemix Compose console and in September, we added Vertical scaling controls to your database consoles. Now, our latest update is taking the friction out of administrating your databases. It adds restorable backups, updatable passwords, IP whitelisting and in-place upgrades to your Bluemix Compose console. And it’s all wrapped up in a newly re-organized interface.

Restorable backups

First of all, let’s talk about backups. As a refresher, each Compose database is automatically backed up every day and backups are retained on a weekly and monthly basis. We included the ability to download those backups in our August update.

With this October update, we are redesigning that interface. If you go to the Backups view in the console, you’ll see a list of backups available, the same as before. The relative time of a backup’s creation is displayed in each row. Pro-Tip: click on any time label to see it in other formats. Select the backup you want and click on the row to reveal the new Backup drawer for that backup.

This drawer lets us offer more ways for you to work with the backup. If you can download the backup there will be a button that lets you. You will also see, where it’s available, there’s another more powerful option available.

This update includes the ability to restore any backup into a brand new instance of the same database type. This is not only for recovering databases though. The restore feature makes it simple to create a clone of a production database. Therefore, you can also use that clone as an isolated test database and safely test your next application update or data migration. Make sure you create an on-demand backup and restore from that for the most up to date clone.

All you need to do to is click the Restore button, then return to your dashboard where you’ll see the new database being provisioned as [dbname]-restore-[date] [time] UTC. Once created and loaded with the backup, you can rename the new database to whatever you want. Restorable backups work with every database except for RethinkDB.

The updated UI

We wanted to make it easy to find all our new settings and controls, so we created a new Settings view in the Bluemix Compose console. Clicking on it brings up a view of all the available settings you can change on your database. Let’s run down that page and the new features.

Upgrade Version

If you’ve had your Bluemix deployment for some time, you may have an older version of the database. Where possible, we offer in-place updates to a more recent version which will simply require a restart of your database. The Upgrade Version panel in Settings will show if updates are available and display the options in a drop-down menu. Select the most recent version, click the Upgrade Version button, and you can bring your database right up to date.

Scale Resources

Now, resource scaling for your database lives with the other settings. Remember that Compose databases autoscale upwards as your storage or memory use grows. This control allows you to preempt that automatic scaling so you can be ready for that spike in traffic or bulk data transfer.

Change Passwords

The majority of Compose databases have an administration or master password. This new entry on the Settings allows you to change that service password. Users with PostgreSQL, Redis, RethinkDB, etcd, MySQL and JanusGraph can change their service password from the Bluemix Compose console. Just scroll down to Change Password on the Settings view where you can either enter a new password or let the system generate one for you by clicking the button to the right of the password field.

Note: Changing the password will typically trigger off a process of a rolling restart on the deployment but you will have to restart applications with the new password anyway. If you are using the Bluemix service binding, you will need to create a new credential set and tell bound applications to use that.

Whitelist IPs

Another feature that gives you more control is IP Whitelisting for your databases. This is currently the final panel on the Settings view. Using it allows you to lock down access to your database to a particular set of IP addresses. This feature is now controllable from the Bluemix Compose console. Scroll down to Whitelist IPsis the settings. From there, you’ll be able to click Add IP to add an address or masked range to the list or add and remove addresses to the whitelist. You can also remove entries by selecting the x button next to each entry.

You can find out more about these features by selecting the Docs button in any database’s Manage view. You’ll find you have a lot more control over your database, its data and how you access it.

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