Posts Tagged ‘migration’

#DatabaseFreedom with AWS

December 3, 2018

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At AWS re:Invent last week, AWS CEO Andy Jassy chided database stalwarts Oracle and Microsoft (which he calls “Old guard databases”) and invited companies to “use a performant relational database that’s free from abusive and constraining relationships.”  He also encouraged enterprises to “use the right database tool for the right job.”  CTO Werner Vogels continued the taunting when he told attendees at his keynote presentation that his happiest day at Amazon came on November 1, 2018, because that was the day they shut down their Oracle Data Warehouse (DW), which was one of the largest in the world, after migrating it to Amazon Redshift. 

I began using Oracle way back in 1981 when it was truly the only choice of relational database management system (RDBMS).  Eventual competitors like Ingres, Informix, DB2, Sybase and SQL Server didn’t yet exist back then.  In the decades that followed, I continued to use Oracle over the alternatives – not because it was the only choice; but because I sincerely believed it was the best choice. 

When companies started building Data Warehouses in the 1990s, RDBMS had become the standard for all manner of database management, so that’s what companies used for their DW, too.  I had real concerns back then over the use of Star Schemas and heavily denormalized fact tables in DWs because they violated the rules of data modeling that I’d been using to design and build “true” relational databases (i.e. using Third Normal Form).  It also bothered me that data was being duplicated all over the place – not just in DWs but also in staging areas to support complex data transformations (the dreaded “T” in “ETL”) and also in downstream Data Marts to support departmental reporting / analytics.  Throughout that time, however, there was no viable alternative to RDBMS.  That didn’t come until the introduction of Hadoop in 2006 and the proliferation of NoSQL and Massively Parallel Processing (MPP) technologies that soon followed.

Having learned and worked with many of these new and innovative technologies over the past ten years or so, I’ve come to agree with Andy Jassy that Oracle is no longer the best tool for every database job.  RDBMS vendors like Oracle have tried to keep up with the demands of modern systems and their need to support streaming analytics, real-time recommendations / decisions and extremely high availability.  So you can do things like data sharding, parallel processing, memory caching and database replication with Oracle – but only to a degree and only with specialized and scarce expertise.  Those features are implemented far more naturally and comprehensively in tools like Aurora and Elastic MapReduce (EMR) and ElastiCache and Redshift and DynamoDB.  Furthermore, many of those features are built-in and, therefore, require no additional effort, expertise or expense to take advantage of them. 

For traditional / transactional (OLTP) workloads, which relational databases were designed for and are optimally suited for, Amazon Aurora is worth a look.  It’s a MySQL and PostgreSQL-compatible RDBMS that’s built for the cloud on a distributed, fault-tolerant, self-healing storage system that auto-scales up to 64TB per database instance. It delivers high performance and availability with up to 15 low-latency read replicas, point-in-time recovery, continuous backup to Amazon S3, and replication across three Availability Zones (AZs).  It’s also the fastest growing service in the history of AWS.  As Andy Jassy said in his re:Invent keynote, Aurora is “at least as available and durable and fault-tolerant as the commercial-grade databases but at one tenth the cost.”  Getting a database with all of the functionality and performance you’ll need for just 10% of the cost is a very compelling argument.

For DW / analytical (OLAP) workloads, I’ve also experienced a migration from Oracle to Amazon Redshift like the one Werner Vogels spoke of.  I wouldn’t say it was the happiest day of my life, but the customer we helped with that migration was certainly happy.  The suite of reports and data extracts that are supported by this DW run, on average, 80 times faster on Redshift than they did on Oracle.  A compelling argument to build your DW or Data Lake using tools like Redshift, S3, Spectrum or Athena.

There was a time when Oracle was the only database choice; and there was a time when Oracle was (in my opinion) the best database choice.  I believe that time has passed.  AWS has some well-designed, well-built database offerings that are well-worth your consideration.  Has your database kept up with your needs:

  • for faster and fuller analytics?
  • to rapidly introduce new products and seamlessly support 10X or 100X more customers?
  • to keep licensing costs reasonable and predictable? 

My team of database experts at Integra is diving deep into the announcements from re:Invent 2018 to make sure we can most effectively help our customers improve in these areas and take best advantage of everything AWS has to offer.  If you have questions about how to migrate your database or which of the many offerings on AWS are best for your needs, leave your questions below or contact me directly.

Integra Webcast: “Safe Passage to Oracle 11g — Lessons from Real Migrations”

January 20, 2010

Integra Technology Consulting has recently completed several large migrations to 11g for multiple organizations. On Tuesday, 03 Nov 2009, Integra CTO Allan Edwards and members of the Integra 11g team shared some of the lessons we have learned in the course of these migration projects, in a live webcast entitled “Safe Passage to Oracle 11g — Lessons from Real Migrations”. A video recoding of the full webcast appears below. (more…)

7 Things You Need to Know About Oracle 11gR2 — Part 1: Concept Guides

October 23, 2009

Beginning Integra’s seven-part blog mini-series entitled “7 Things You Need to Know About Oracle 11gR2“, our own Jason Buchanan, recently one of just twelve people from around the world hand-picked by Oracle to participate in the Oracle 11gR2 final beta, offers his thoughts on the all new, completely re-written 11gR2 Concept Guides. Here is what Jason had to say: (more…)