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AWS to lower skills and cost barriers for database migrations using cloud

Cloud giant seeks to make it easier for firms of all sizes to adopt business intelligence tools and take advantage of database migrations

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is preparing to release a slew of tools aimed at making it easier for enterprises to curtail their use of on-premise database and business intelligence tools.

The company used the first day of its 2015 Re:Invent user conference in Las Vegas to announce the preview release of its AWS Database Migration Service, which is designed to ease users through the "last mile" of shifting their databases to the cloud.

To accompany this, the firm is also rolling out the AWS Schema Conversion tool to assist organisations that want to switch from using proprietary databases to open source alternatives.

Andy Jassy, senior vice-president of AWS, said a database migration project can often take small teams between six months and a year to do properly.

"A 1TB database using the AWS Database Migration Service is going to cost around $3 [to move], which is a very different cost and agility model," said Jassy.

"The combination of the AWS Migration Service and the Schema Conversion tool radically changes the cost structure and speed of moving databases from the old world to the new cloud one."

QuickShift: The democratisation of business intelligence

Helping enterprises do more in the cloud is a common theme at most AWS events, but many of the announcements from this year's Re:Invent seem geared specifically towards removing more of the hurdles that typically slow down how quickly firms can make the move.

As such, this year's show has seen AWS debut a 50TB data transfer and storage appliance that enterprises can use to speed up the time it takes shift large quantities of data to the cloud.

The democratisation of technologies that have traditionally been out of reach for enterprises and smaller firms is another recurring theme at AWS events. This has previously seen it make moves to remove the cost and skills barriers for firms wanting to adopt machine learning and data warehousing tools.

In a similar vein, AWS has announced the preview release of its cloud-based business intelligence tool (BI), Amazon QuickSight, which it claims can turnaround results in 60 seconds.

The tool can be integrated with existing AWS storage, database and analytics tools, so the information stored inside can be quickly processed. This, the company explained, is made possible by the inclusion of its new super-fast, parallel, in-memory, calculation engine (Spice).

From here, users can create and render data visualisations, perform quick ad-hoc analyses of their information and costs around tenth of the cost of traditional BI tools, according to AWS.

During the event's opening keynote, Jassy said it has never been easier or cheaper for firms of all sizes to store data for analytics purposes, but the high cost of business intelligence software can be off-putting.

"The BI tools of the old guard are either hard to use and manipulate or they are really complicated and very expensive," he said.

"We want our developers to be able to understand what's going on with the data and we want it to be faster and less expensive, with the user interface much easier to manipulate."

The departments or people in a business who stand to gain most from using BI tools are not always equipped with the skills to do so, which is what Quicksight aims to address.

"The technical people want the business people to be able to do this as it takes away some of the workload they have, but today it's pretty difficult to do," he said.

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