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Amazon launches Aurora SQL database in the US and Europe

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Says its in-house engine is cheaper, faster than commercial offerings

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced that Aurora - its MySQL-compatible database engine - is now available as part of the Relational Database Service (RDS) in the US and Europe.

Aurora was developed in-house as a cost-efficient alternative to commercial database solutions.

“Today’s commercial-grade databases are expensive, proprietary, high lock-in, and come with punitive licensing terms that these database providers are comfortable employing,” explained Raju Gulabani, vice president of Database Services at AWS.

“It’s why we rarely meet enterprises who aren’t looking to escape from their commercial-grade database solution. Now, with Amazon Aurora, companies can get at least the same availability, durability, and security as commercial-grade databases for one-tenth of the cost.”

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RDS already supports a wide range of commercial database products including MySQL, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server and PostgreSQL. Amazon claims that Aurora, originally announced in November 2014, can match or even beat the performance of these products, while remaining considerably cheaper.

For example, Aurora automatically replicates six copies of data across tree different Availability Zones and continuously backs up to Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3). This means it can automatically recover from most failures in less than 60 seconds, without the need to rebuild database caches.

On the hardware side, Aurora instances feature tight integration between the engine and an SSD-based virtualized storage layer built for database workloads.

The new service is available on a pay-as-you go basis, with the largest Aurora instance on offer -having 32 vCPUs and 244GB of RAM - going for $4.64 per hour in the US and $5.12 in Europe, plus all applicable taxes.

Full MySQL compatibility means customers can easily convert their existing MySQL databases to Aurora with one click, without having to make changes to existing applications.

“Amazon Aurora’s cloud-optimized architecture, which is designed to deliver high performance and high availability, is impressive,” said Monty Widenius, CTO of the MariaDB Foundation and the original creator of MySQL.

“MariaDB is pleased to make our connectors available for Amazon Aurora, and we look forward to working with the Amazon Aurora team in the future to further accelerate innovation.”

More than a thousand customers have already tested Aurora, including Intuit, Coursera, Alfresco, WeTransfer and NASDAQ.

“Using Amazon Aurora, we can run many replicas with millisecond latency,” said Edward Wong, solutions architect at Pacific Gas and Electric. “This means during a power event we can handle large surges in traffic and still give our customers timely, up-to-date information.

“In addition, spreading these replicas across multiple AWS Availability Zones with automatic failover gives us confidence that our databases will be there when we need them.”

Aurora is available immediately in the US East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon), and EU (Ireland) regions, and the service will be expanded to additional regions in the coming months.

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