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Amazon Aurora Relational Database Takes Aim At Oracle, And Is Cheap, Cheap, Cheap

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Amazon Web Services has kicked off a string of announcements with the news of a new enterprise-grade database engine, which is a new area for the cloud services provider.

The service is called Aurora and is available through Amazon's Relational Database Service.

"Amazon Aurora is a new database engine that gives customers the best of both worlds -- the performance and availability of the highest-grade commercial databases at a cost more commonly associated with open source," said the company in a statement. "Highly durable and available, Amazon Aurora automatically replicates data across multiple Availability Zones and continuously backs up data to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), which is designed for 99.999999999 percent durability without performance impact."

Amazon is clearly taking on the likes of Oracle with the announcement. While Google and Microsoft are becoming increasingly more competitive in the public-cloud market, Amazon Web Services remains at the top.

Aurora is designed to be as fast and reliable as possible and supports 6 million inserts per minute and 30 million selects per minute. When data is stored in Aurora it is replicated six times across three regions. Not only that, but the database will back up information to Amazon's S3 storage service and will self-heal errors and maintain its cache, even through server restarts.

"Amazon RDS has lowered the cost of managing relational databases for thousands of AWS customers, and as demand has exploded over the last few years, we've added MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server, and PostgreSQL engines," said Raju Gulabani, vice president of database services for Amazon Web Services.

Customers have consistently told the company they wished for an easier way to get the performance of commercial databases at the price of open source engines, Gulabani said. "This is why we built Amazon Aurora. We've spent the last three years working on a MySQL-compatible database that innovates on the engine and storage layers to deliver five times the performance of MySQL at one-tenth the price of commercial database solutions."

All of these features are cheap, too, at only 29 cents per hour to run Aurora on a r3.large instance. Amazon does not have minimum costs for Aurora and customers will only pay for the resources that they use. R3 instances are optimized to deliver high memory performance and high sustainable bandwidth and are suitable for relational databases and NoSQL databases; in-memory analytics; and Memcache/Redis applications (for example, Elasticache), according to Amazon.

Amazon's announcement is a move against large database software providers such as Microsoft, which also has its own SQL server products. Microsoft's SQL Server has been a very important part of the company's cloud strategy as it continues to push its Azure cloud platform.

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