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AWS Aurora

Among other services, Amazon also provides Aurora - a database service with a global presence that is compatible with MySQL and PostgreSQL at a mere tenth of the cost of traditional databases. True to AWS fashion, Amazon fully manages these databases helping to further reduce costs for the users and alleviate the need to dedicate resources towards maintenance. To prevent loss and damage, Aurora databases have nearly a 100% uptime with easy replication and a restoration of services in less than a minute. For newer users to AWS, immigrating data locally is incredibly easy.

What is Aurora’s Role?

Amazon Aurora is a highly efficient and cost-effective database service with a global presence. It is compatible with MySQL and PostgreSQL, making it an ideal choice for users already familiar with these database systems. One of the significant advantages of Amazon Aurora is its affordability, as it costs only a fraction of traditional databases while offering comparable performance.

What sets Amazon Aurora apart is its fully managed approach by Amazon Web Services (AWS). With AWS handling all the database management tasks, including maintenance and updates, users can focus on their core business activities without worrying about the backend infrastructure. This not only reduces costs but also ensures that the databases are always up to date with the latest features and security patches. It boasts nearly 100% uptime, thanks to its reliable replication capabilities and quick restoration of services in less than a minute. This high availability ensures that applications relying on Aurora databases can operate uninterrupted, even in the event of hardware failures or other disruptions. For users new to AWS, migrating data to Amazon Aurora is a seamless process. With easy data import and export functionality, users can effortlessly transition their databases from local environments to Aurora, minimizing downtime and ensuring a smooth transition.

However, it’s worth noting that the pricing structure for Aurora can become complex. Factors such as data stored per month, storage and I/Os utilized, backup storage requirements, and data transfers contribute to the final cost. Amazon provides a comprehensive pricing guide to assist new users in accurately estimating costs before committing to any specific plan. While Aurora offers impressive performance and scalability, it is still limited by the capabilities of MySQL and PostgreSQL. Users should be aware of the specific features and functionalities available within these database systems to ensure they meet their requirements.

Main Features

 

Performance and Scalability

    • Higher throughput - Using a variety of software and hardware techniques to maximize the use of provided capabilities, Aurora can increase the throughput of MySQL and PostgreSQL by 3x and 5x respectively.  The higher efficiency also doesn’t come at the cost of consistency.  Further throughput can also be accomplished by creating up to 15 database replicas with all the same capabilities as the base instance.
    • Parallel Query - Multiple queries and faster query speed keep traffic low and maximize processing power.
    • Serverless - Like all other AWS services, Aurora not only scales the number of assets an application requires depending on expected or current traffic, but it’s done easily through RDS APIs or through the AWS Management Console.  By that same note, storage can be decreased or increased from as low as 10 GB to as high as 128 TB of data.
    • Customizable Endpoints - With the addition of new instances, the custom endpoints can help to better distribute 
    • Amazon DevOps Guru - Monitor traffic with the integrated tools to better keep an eye out for bottlenecks and root out causes of unwanted traffic.  It has the capacity to identify root causes of low performance and provide solutions for addressing them.

Availability and Durability

    • Repairs and Monitoring - With Amazon RDS, you can rest assured knowing that your Aurora instance is constantly monitored. In the event of a database failure, the instance will be automatically restarted, minimizing downtime. To further enhance availability, crash recovery replay is not required, enabling faster restart times.
    • Global Presence - AWS understands the importance of minimizing latency and ensuring data availability. That’s why they have localized infrastructure within multiple geographical regions. By leveraging secondary regions as backups, you can safeguard against any potential outages, ensuring uninterrupted access to your databases.
    • Faults and Self-Repair - Amazon RDS and Aurora employ robust fault-tolerant mechanisms. Every 10 GB of data in your database is replicated across six different copies, distributed across three availability zones. This redundancy ensures that even in the event of hardware failures or other issues, your read-write capabilities remain unaffected, guaranteeing continuous access to your data.
    • Snapshots and Backups - Taking snapshots of your database is a breeze with Amazon RDS. These user-initiated backups are stored securely in Amazon S3 and can be retained until you explicitly delete them. In the case of Aurora, the Backtrack feature allows you to revert to a previous point in time without relying on a backup, preventing any user errors. This level of flexibility empowers you to efficiently manage your data and restore it when needed.

Security

    • Network Isolation - Using Amazon’s in-house Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Aurora instances get a private connection to on-premises infrastructure with industry-standard VPN encryption.  Firewalls can be individually configured per DB instance.
    • Permission - Amazon’s Identity and Access Management (IAM), users can establish who has access to what to prevent breaches in the circumstances of a compromised user.
    • Threat Detection - Amazon’s GuardDuty monitors logins and checks for suspicious activity, catching potential threats on their way to stored data.

Constant Upkeep

    • Ease of Use - Initiating a new instance isn’t hard.  Generating a new Aurora DB instance is just a matter of a single API call or a button press on the RDS Management Console.  With just as many clicks, it is easy to shut down or restart the instance.
    • Monitoring - AWS CloudWatch provides metrics for the DB at no extra cost from memory to storage, throughput, and connectivity.
    • Software Updates - Updates are applied automatically to the user’s configuration.  This includes whether or not to update and when to update.  Existing sessions are also preserved during the updating process, resulting in at most a few seconds of dropped throughput.

Supported Migrations

    • MySQL DB
    • PostgreSQL DB
    • Commercial DB
    • Babelfish - For migrating off of legacy SQL databases.

Cost-Effectiveness

Amazon Aurora operates on a pay-as-you-go model, with the option to choose Reserved Instances or On-Demand pricing. The pricing structure for Aurora is based on a cluster configuration, encompassing charges for DB instances, I/O, and storage. It’s worth noting that any optional features activated will be factored into the billing as well. Factors such as the amount of data stored per month, storage and I/Os utilized, backup storage requirements, Backtrack usage, snapshot or cluster exports, and data transfers all contribute to the final cost. While these pricing factors can become complex quickly, Amazon provides a comprehensive pricing guide to assist new users in accurately estimating costs before committing to any specific plan. These are costs that do get extremely complicated very quickly and Amazon does provide a pricing guide here for new users to quickly calculate pricing before they dedicate to signing up.

Dolan Cleary

Dolan Cleary

I am a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin - Stout and am now working with AllCode as a web technician. Currently working within the marketing department.

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