Amazon has spent more than a decade trying to get rid of Oracle's "database to dominate them all" approach, something that Amazon calls "awkward" and "old guard". Not content with getting rid of itself, Amazon has announced a series of database introductions and improvements to expand the choice for its customers. Yes, with Oracle you can get "fries" (MySQL) with your "burger" (Oracle DB). But with AWS you get a seemingly endless buffet of database options.
Well, you get 15 to today, which seems to be the equivalent of "infinity" in the old school group thinking. At AWS Re: Invent 2018 today, the company announced three major functional updates to existing databases and two brand new databases, bringing the full complement of specially constructed AWS databases to 15.
At AWS, a database in every dish
As Amazon CTO Werner Vogels wrote in 2018, AWS offers "so many database products" because "developers want their applications to be well designed and scaled effectively." To do this, they need to be able to use multiple databases and data models within the same application. "Continued:
Rarely a database can meet the needs of multiple distinct use cases. The days of the one-dimensional monolithic database are behind us, and developers are now building highly distributed applications using a multitude of purpose-built databases. Developers do what they do best: split complex applications into smaller pieces and then choose the best tool to solve every problem. The best tool for a job usually differs by chance.
In his keynote speech, AWS Managing Director, Andy Jassy, defined the depth and breadth of AWS, emphasizing that the company must offer the widest range of features if it wants customers build their future with AWS. Gartner analyst Lydia Leong has therefore put in perspective, suggesting that he personally spoke with "more" executives of Fortune 500 in 2018 who are pledging half a billion dollars annually in AWS, with "many" others negotiating $ 100 million in commitments. You do not get that kind of expense without making sure that businesses can create applications and, in particular, park their data with them.
A blockchain database? But why?
For example, AWS announced Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB) (available in beta), a futuristic name to satisfy your inner blockchain nerd. Blockchain advocates have rightly been criticized for overriding and improperly using the "immutable database" technology, but AWS sees enough signal in the noise to release both a managed blockchain service and a QLDB. QLDB is particularly interesting because it offers core blockchain functionality, from two to three times faster (because it does not need distributed consent), without having to assume the full burden of blockchain (managed or not).
The companies have largely been wary of some of the basic principles of the blockchain, wanting to centralize the decentralized nature of the blockchain while maintaining its transparency and immutability. Amazon QLDB seems to be at its height, while packaging the service as serverless so that developers do not have to worry about provisioning the capacity or configuring read / write limits.
Blockchain without the hassle.
A time series database for IoT and ops
And then there's Amazon Timestream, a new historical series database also released in beta. AWS has nothing against relational databases (actually offers several), but recognizes that "RDBMS" tends to be equal to "rigid" and "inflexible", none of which works for IoT or operational applications that have to keep up with amount of torrential data arriving from different sources and changing over time.
The developers were content with RDBMS to manage time series data simply because there were no better options. Although commercial time series databases exist (both open source and proprietary), they tend to be difficult to use, neither particularly easy to scale nor simple (as they are separated, among other things, from streaming and ingestion software).
As with much of what AWS is doing now, Amazon Timestream has no server, so it should easily increase or decrease when requests change. Amazon promises much better performance than an RDBMS, but it hardly needs to worry: the promise of the cloud and, now, without a server is convenience. No, it will not hurt to have performance 1,000 times faster than Oracle or MySQL and, in fact, will make the decision of a relatively simple developer easier.
Other additions to the AWS database
AWS also added:
- Global database support for Amazon Aurora MySQL (so companies can update a database in one region and automatically replicate it globally in multiple regions).
- On-demand (removal of capacity planning needs) and transactions (complete ACID warranties) for Amazon DynamoDB.
The AWS network effect
AWS now has orders of magnitude more business data than any other cloud service provider. This not only makes it more difficult for a company to leave AWS, but it also means, like Expedia's vice president Subbu Allamaraju notes"Customers continue to feed themselves [AWS’] network with problems and use cases, and the network continues to grow bigger and bigger every year. "The effect of the network has gone crazy, with AWS learning more about database use cases than its peers, paired with the financial ability to invest in meeting those needs.
It's hard to see how anyone competes with this-in particular Oracle, which has its "clumsy, old world" network that struggles to run in the cloud. The developers are the new remakes and it seems they have crowned the king of AWS.