While major technology companies such as Google and Microsoft are encroaching upon what was once Amazon's public commodity cloud territory, Amazon is proving to be more than being about cloud storage for consumers. The e-commerce company also has its sights set on cloud services for businesses and enterprises.

At the company's re:Invent developer conference on Nov. 11, Amazon introduced Aurora, its new fully-managed relational database engine that the company claims is up to par with high-end commercial databases while providing the affordability and simplicity of open-source engines.

"It's a tenth of the cost of the leading commercial database engine solutions," says Andy Jassy, senior vice president of Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Aurora, which Amazon says has been in the works for three years before launch, is fully compatible with Oracle's MySQL and allows business users to easily migrate their data into the new service.

However, Aurora offers a big difference. Amazon says the service is extremely fast. In fact, Amazon says it works five times faster than MySQL and can handle up to 5 million inserts and 30 million selects every minute. It is also highly self-healing and can go into crash recovery within seconds, says Amazon.

Amazon says it will eventually be adding compatibility with Oracle, SQL Server and PostgreSQL in the future.

"We wanted something that made it easy to move existing workloads too, but didn't want them to be locked in," says Jassy. "We tried to pick something broadly used and then did a lot of invention on top of that. The concept is that performance and durability of proprietary databases at open source prices."

Amazon also included a new set of features to meet compliance requirements and ensure customers about the security of its service, a feature that most customers are highly concerned about. Such features include an encryption management tool called AWS Key Management Service, AWS Config, used to track dependencies with changes and AWS Service Catalog, which is used to create product and configuration portfolios to deploy.

Aurora is now available for preview, and the service starts at $0.29 per hour. That includes 15.25GB of memory and two virtual CPUs, but not other services, such as storage, which costs $0.10 per GB per month, and I/O, which is billed at $0.20 per million requests.

With cloud becoming "the new normal" for businesses and consumers, Jassy predicts that "AWS could be the biggest business at Amazon." However, that is far from the case right now as AWS has brought in only 7 percent, or $1.4 billion, in revenue for the company in its last fiscal quarter.

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