Cloud Databases 101: Introduction to Amazon Aurora

November 17 2020
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Legacy databases pale in comparison to cloud databases.

For example, legacy databases often come with rigid contracts, punitive licensing, and monolithic architecture. They also tend to be more costly due to inflexible pricing and annual maintenance expenses. Leaders who hold fast to their legacy databases will continue to fall behind and miss out on all the cloud has to offer (to learn more about this topic, check out our Guide to Migrating Legacy Databases to AWS.

However, it can be intimidating to migrate to the cloud and spin up a new database. Fortunately, Amazon Web Services (AWS) makes it easy to set up robust cloud databases that are capable of supporting complex applications.

In this post, we introduce you to one of AWS’s powerful database solutions, Amazon Aurora, a fully managed relational database under the Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS). As an AWS expert with significant migration experience (and the AWS Migration Competency), we love Amazon Aurora.

What is Amazon Aurora?

Amazon Aurora is a relational database built specifically for the cloud that delivers legacy-grade functionality at a fraction of the cost of legacy databases. The service is widely used to support enterprise, SaaS, and gaming applications, although it can be used for much more.

Since it’s a managed service, Aurora users don't have to worry about low-level administrative tasks, like hardware provisioning and patching. The service automatically handles these responsibilities, enabling database administrators to focus their time elsewhere.

Furthermore, Aurora is compatible with MySQL and PostgreSQL, which means companies can continue using existing code, applications, drivers, and tools with little or no changes needed. The service is also much more efficient and performant than standard MySQL and PostgreSQL, delivering 5x throughput and 3x throughput, respectively.

Additionally, Aurora users can scale the database service up and down as needed. Administrators don’t have to provision resources for peak demand, a common requirement of legacy databases. On top of that, organizations only pay for compute power that they use. No one gets stuck paying bills for underutilized servers or storage.

Another benefit of Aurora is that the service maintains six copies of data across three Availability Zones. Users don’t have to worry about downtime or service disruption related to unforeseen outages. With over 99.99% durability, leaders can trust that their data will be available whenever it’s needed.

How Does ClearScale Approach Database Migrations?

Although there are clear benefits of migrating legacy databases to Amazon Aurora, organizations have to ensure they are ready to make the switch to the cloud. This is where ClearScale comes in.

We help organizations migrate legacy databases and other mission-critical infrastructure to the cloud based on a three-phase approach put forth by AWS. We start with a one-day Migration Readiness Assessment (MRA) to identify capability gaps and determine how prepared an organization is to move to the cloud. Then, we guide leaders through a Migration Readiness & Planning (MRP) process to build a business case and choose a migration strategy. Finally, we execute the migration, optimizing applications and processes along the way when possible.

Although we do have extensive experience with large-scale migrations to AWS, we’re more than happy to take on smaller projects, like database migrations.

Recently, we worked with the Sierra Club, a well-known grassroots organization that mobilizes efforts around major environmental issues. Our team migrated the Sierra Club’s databases to Amazon Aurora, which bolstered the durability and availability of AddUp, one of the organization’s key online advocacy platforms. Through the project, Sierra Club gained control over its IT architecture and increased the agility of its AddUp platform significantly.

We also helped the computer vision software company, Entropix, migrate a PostgreSQL database to Amazon Aurora to support its new AWS application deployment. By leveraging managed services offered through Aurora, Entropix was able to reallocate development resources to higher-value activities and increase the reliability of its core software engine.

Learn More From Our Cloud Databases 101 Webinar

Recently, we hosted a webinar called Amazon Aurora: Cloud Databases 101 in which one of our solutions architects walks through the many benefits of migrating legacy databases to Amazon Aurora.

We dive into the nuances of what makes Aurora valuable for modern enterprises and share use cases to illustrate the service’s advantages. We also explore Aurora features that are specific to MySQL and PostgreSQL.

You can view the full webinar here.

Get in touch today to speak with a cloud expert and discuss how we can help:

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