Amazon Web Services announces Aurora database engine at re:invent

November 14, 2014

While there was a host of exciting news from the Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:invent conference this week, little got the attention of the crowd as much as the announcement of the Aurora MySQL database engine. Aurora's release is just one part of the puzzle for AWS as it expands its services beyond cloud storage.

What does Aurora offer?
The SD Times reported that Aurora is a MySQL-compatible relational database system for use with Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS). RDS itself is a service designed for helping users operate and scale a cloud-based MySQL database.

According to Amazon, Aurora is the industry-leading cloud-based relational database solution because it combines the speed and availability of a commercial database with the ease of use and cost savings of an open source database. In terms of performance, FierceCIO added that Aurora can support up to up to 6 million database inserts per minute, and 30 million selects per minute. Regarding its scalability, Amazon announced that the MySQL database engine can add storage in 10GB increments, up to 64TB.

What may be most attractive for AWS partners is that the cost of this service is a fraction of its competitors offerings.

"It's a tenth of the cost of the leading commercial database engine solutions," said Andy Jassy, senior vice president of AWS.

How Aurora affects the cloud market
While Amazon is widely regarded as a first mover in the enterprise cloud space, other major players in the tech world like Google and Microsoft have been fast encroaching on Amazon's market share. As competition in this market heats up, the price of cloud storage is plummeting. This means that providers can't rely on low price alone to attract new customers – everyone's prices are low. The future winners in this space will have to add other attractive cloud features, like Aurora, to entice customers to choose one provider over the other.

As FierceCIO noted, Aurora isn't Amazon's first foray into the relational database world – RDS serves as the backend for Oracle, MySQL and other services. What makes Aurora different is that it marks an effort to bring this function to a cloud-based service that offers high performance. This is just one service that Amazon is bringing to the cloud in an attempt to fend off its competition by providing additional functionality. AWS has led the cloud market in terms of market share to this point, and if it keeps rolling out new, powerful cloud-based services, it should retain its top spot.