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Aug 03 2015

Amazon Rolls Out Aurora DB Engine

Amazon has made its MySQL-compatible, cloud-optimized database engine Aurora available to AWS and RDS customers in the U.S. and Europe.

Initially developed to outpace standard RDBMS, Aurora may best be described as a kind of "MySQL on steroids" that builds on the strengths of the InnoDB storage engine. Unlike conventional MySQL DBs, it follows cloud-centric and scale-out design principles that allow for a five times better throughput when combined with a virtualized storage layer running on dedicated SSDs. Over the past nine months, Amazon has tested the new engine with a reference group of more than 1,000 AWS customers worldwide who reportedly were thrilled to find that Aurora could in fact deliver the promised performance and "run [...] everything from massive Internet of Things (IoT) applications to mission-critical e-commerce sites" for just 10% the cost of existing commercial DBMS's. Consequently, it was time to unleash the beast, and Aurora comes to customers in the U.S. East, U.S. West and EU regions at the start of the new month. According to the official announcement, Amazon plans to bring Aurora to additional regions over the coming months.

Next to performance and pricing, another characteristic that might make Aurora attractive is its built-in ease of management and migration: DB instances are pre-configured with parameters and settings appropriate for any instance class an IT team may select, thus enabling the admin in charge to launch and connect them within minutes via the AWS Management Console or a single API call. Moreover, AWS partners like MariaDB and Toad have all had their products certified for use with Aurora, which means that customers can continue using these tools without change. Lastly, RDS for MySQL customers can convert their existing MySQL databases to Aurora "with one click in the AWS Management Console."

As is the norm with AWS/RDS services, pricing will vary considerably depending on the region customers are located in and individual profiles. For example, Amazon charges U.S. customers $0.29 per hour for a basic ("large") on-demand instance, with rates going up to $4.64 for the largest instances with 32 virtual CPUs and 244 GB of main memory; extra fees for storage and I/O traffic are added on top. European users have to pay between $0.32 and $5.12 plus extras. Customers running a steady load of database operations may instead want to opt for a so-called reserved instance, which allows for cost savings between 34 and 66% compared with on-demand services.


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