AWS lights brighter path to Amazon Aurora

Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) is gearing up for AWS re:Invent at the end of November and, yes, that’s an In Real Life (IRL) event i.e. real people elbow-bumps.

But even with a forthcoming event in the diary, the company isn’t holding back on its news stream (when you’re that big, why would you?) and so AWS has now announced the availability of Babelfish for Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible Edition.

This is a new capability that allows developers to run applications written for Microsoft SQL Server directly on Amazon Aurora, with what are promised to be ‘little to no’ code changes. 

As all self-respecting software engineers and cloud architects will know, Amazon Aurora (aka Aurora) itself is a fully managed relational database engine compatible with MySQL and PostgreSQL. AWS says that with ‘some workloads’, Aurora can deliver up to five times the throughput of MySQL and up to three times the throughput of PostgreSQL without requiring changes to most existing applications.

Babelfish for Aurora PostgreSQL enables Amazon Aurora to understand commands from applications written for Microsoft SQL Server, which in theory makes it easier for customers to migrate to Amazon Aurora. 

With Babelfish for Aurora PostgreSQL, customers migrate their data and configure their application to point to Amazon Aurora, reducing costs and simplifying operations by removing the dependency on Microsoft SQL Server. 

Babelfish for PostgreSQL 

Also announced, open source Babelfish for PostgreSQL makes the same Microsoft SQL Server language capability in Babelfish for Aurora PostgreSQL available to any organisation interested in running PostgreSQL and the source code for Babelfish for PostgreSQL is available on GitHub under the permissive Apache 2.0 and PostgreSQL licenses for anyone who wants to extend it or use it for any purpose under the terms of the license. 

AWS claims that many organisations could feel ‘constrained by commercial-grade database options’ today – but why? Because (says AWS) they don’t offer the flexibility and database freedom of modern offerings.

“Commercial-grade databases offer high performance but are expensive, proprietary and have high lock-in and punitive licensing terms that arbitrarily change. Many customers have moved to open source database engines like PostgreSQL and MySQL because they want the performance of commercial-grade databases with the pricing and flexibility open-source engines provide,” asserts AWS.

However, there’s a deeper truth here because configuring open source database engines to achieve high performance is time-consuming and labour intensive.

According to Raju Gulabani, VP of databases and analytics at AWS and team, “That’s why today more than 100,000 customers choose to run their database workloads on Amazon Aurora, a fully managed MySQL and PostgreSQL-compatible database that delivers the performance and availability of the highest-grade commercial databases at one tenth the cost. Today, customers use AWS Database Migration Service (AWS DMS) to migrate databases to the cloud and take advantage of high-performance open source engines,” added the AWS team.

Once the initial database migration is complete, customers still need to migrate their application logic to run on PostgreSQL. Migrating application logic requires manual coding, is time consuming, and is often tied to proprietary database commands. 

Customers interested in adopting PostgreSQL and enjoying the benefits of running an open-source database engine on AWS want an easier way to migrate their Microsoft SQL Server applications to Amazon Aurora.

In addition to the Amazon Aurora offering, the source code for Babelfish for Aurora PostgreSQL is now available on GitHub under the permissive Apache 2.0 and PostgreSQL licenses for anyone to view. 

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