Tired of old database system, companies now turning to cloud model: AWS

By Melvin G. Calimag

The cloud model has completely upended the traditional computing system and this is the reason why the database market is also undergoing massive transformation.

AWS chief executive Andy Jassy (right) in “fireside chat” with AWS vice president for public sector Teresa Carlson at the recent AWS Public Sector Summit in Washington DC

“I think most people are pretty frustrated with the old guard of database solutions — the Oracles and the SQL Servers of the world,” AWS chief executive Andy Jassy told AWS vice president for public sector Teresa Carlson in a “fireside chat” at this year’s AWS Public Sector Summit in Washington DC.

“They’re expensive, proprietary… and they’re constantly auditing you unless you buy more from them. It’s just a model people are sick of,” Jassy said.

Jassy, who has led the explosive growth of AWS since its inception in 2006, said database users are trying to move as quickly as they can to open-source engines like MySQL and Postgres, which provide the same performance but are not as expensive as other commercial versions.

He said AWS has spent years refining Aurora, its own relational database, which allows full compatibility with open source-based MySQL and Postgres.

“It’s the fastest-growing service in the history of AWS and will continue to do so in the next several years. It’s incredible how many people are moving from those old-guard database solutions to Aurora,” the official said.

Aurora is available as part of the Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS), which is a Web service running “in the cloud” designed to simplify the setup, operation, and scaling of a relational database for use in applications.

Just like in the cloud where users pay on a per-need basis, Jassy said an “interesting” development happening in the database space is that the days of using a relational database to solve all workload and database requirements are over.

“People are realizing that you want the specific database to solve whatever problem you have,” he said. “We have a lot more capabilities in this day and age… Companies are realizing that having the right tool for the job allows you to save money and people,” he said.

For customers who want to use cloud technology but have already invested on VMware-based environments, Jassy said AWS has built the VMware Cloud on AWS as an integrated cloud platform.

“We launched it a year and a half ago and it’s off to an amazing start. It really resonates with customers. And what it does it allows you to use the same software tools that you’ve used to run your infrastructure for many years. And you can use it to run your infrastructure in AWS. That is a huge advantage for a lot of people, because virtually all the world is virtualized using VMware,” he said.

In the area of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, Jassy said AWS has begun to harness the power of these technologies, noting that its parent company Amazon has been doing machine learning over the last 20 years.

“Most of the customers we work with are very interested in machine learning. And I think that while there’s an incredible amount of progress being made in organizations using machine learning and AI, we’re still at the relative beginning,” he observed.

As for the public sector, the AWS executive said while it is not exactly as agile and flexible as private sector organizations, it has become easier for government agencies and nonprofits to become innovative in their operations because of cloud technology.

“I’d argue that we’re still in early stages of adoption, but the public sector in the US is about 36 months ahead of where some of other countries are, but it’s growing really fast,” said Jassy, adding that public sector customers now have access to the same technology that is available to big corporations.

AWS technology, he pointed out, is now being used by 5,000 government organizations worldwide, about 10,000 academic institutions, and around 28,000 nonprofits.

While cost is almost always a conversation starter for enterprises and public sector agencies who are moving to the cloud, Jassy there are also other factors fueling the migration.

“The other top reasons that enterprises and public sector organizations have in moving to the cloud are speed and agility,” the executive stressed. “If you look at the old world, if you needed a server to try an experiment, it would take you 10 to 18 weeks to get that server running. In the cloud, you can provision thousands of servers in minutes.”

“And then we have 165 plus services that you can mix and match together however you see fit, which means you get from idea to implementation much faster. It completely changes how quickly you can get you vision done,” he added.

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