Amazon re-imagining databases with Aurora

LAS VEGAS – Amazon Web Services, Inc. took a shot at traditional database vendors at its Re: Invent show.

AWS CEO Andy Jassy said Aurora is a commercial style database service that companies such as NetFlix, Expedia, Fan Duel and GE are using today. This next level Aurora has more layers built on top of it. “This is the answer to large, expensive database vendors,” he said.

What AWS has done with Aurora is to add full PostgreSQL compatibility. With that the Aurora engine can now challenge on a speed level with other high profile commercial databases. It does this by using an open source database platform. The new PostgreSQL support is not at all that similar to other PostgreSQL databases available, an AWS Canada source told AWS put more scalability security features to it. Beyond speed to market, AWS is also pointing out that Aurora is at one-tenth the cost, on average, of the other commercial databases on the market today.

From a Canadian point of view, AWS Canada has a focus on multiple market segments including the enterprise space where Aurora would target. The same AWS Canada source added that enterprises such as Porter Airlines and the National Bank of Canada would look are their own development cycle and will look at all of the announcements at Re: Invent and see them as important. For Aurora, it gives them a path to migrate databases, which has been a challenge for them in the past. And, they can do it at a much lower cost in their environment with SQL compatibility.

The source added that even start-ups can take advantage of Aurora today.

AWS announced that Aurora will be made available with no upfront costs. The billing is on an hourly charge for each database instance.

AWS CEO Andy Jassy
AWS CEO Andy Jassy

Jassy added that database customers in the past were forced to choose from a high performance system or comply with the company’s flat budget constraints. Commercial databases do have advance features, he admitted, but they are expensive and in many cases complex and hard to manage. He also said that the current software vendors still do lock-in tactics through antiquated software licensing options.

In contrast, open source databases such as MySQL and PostgreSQL can be used in an OpeX model instead of CapEx. Aurora is being offered in both of these options.

In terms of database storage, Aurora can scale automatically and features re-balancing capabilities. The example AWS provided is of a user with a 10GB database that can grow to a 64TB version seamlessly; it can replicate data across many zones too. It constantly backs up the data to the AWS Simple Storage Service also known as S3.

Aurora is also being support with some glue – AWS Glue

AWS CTO Werner Vogels announced Glue, which is a fully managed data catalog and execution services. You can build a data catalog with sources that are a sleep or an RDS instance on any database, even on premise databases, said Vogels. It’s can retrieve the meta data and set controls on who can access it. There is second part of glue. You can build the data for analytics from any database and place it in a format for your people to see. Glue can also run this jobs at the origin.

“80 per cent of the work you will be doing is analytics; true analytics. The other 20 is just work,” Vogels said.

AWS has also released PinPoint for data analytics. This new tools attempts to drive more engagement with customers. Vogels said that data is at your fingertips and can drive new transformations for how you operated and for your customers.

And, AWS is combining PinPoint with its Elastic MapReduce tool, Redshift, QuickSight and other tools and services for its database and analytics push.

Developer announcements

Vogels also announced two new tools for developers on day two of the Re: Invent conference.

AWS CodeBuild is a service for compiling source code and running unit tests. “This is important because you can pay by the minute. You can build and test as often as you want and only pay by the minute,” Vogels said.

Vogels added that Docker can be combined with CodeBuild and those tools are cloud native on AWS with CodeCommit and Code Deploy.

Vogels supported the CodeBuild release with a new product called X-Ray, a new tool for analyzing and debug distributed apps, while they are in production. “The cool thing with X-Ray is that you can look in and see the performance and find out all the latency. You can really drill into it; even for individual requests,” he said.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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