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AWS Database Migration Service: Obsessed with helping customers break free from old-guard databases

It is no secret that for decades enterprise customers have had troubled relationships with their old-guard database vendors. The pattern is the same: those databases are expensive, proprietary, designed for lock-in, and come with punitive licensing terms. That’s why so many customers have accelerated their migration to AWS Cloud databases. They want the benefits of reduced capital and operational costs, increased IT staff productivity, scalability, a modern and open architecture, a pay-as-you-go model that charges only for services used, and the business value made possible by the unequaled pace of innovation at AWS.

For example, Samsung Electronics, the world’s second-largest IT company by revenue, migrated over 1.1 billion users across three continents from Oracle to Amazon Aurora. This reduced their monthly database costs by 44%. Experian, a global leader in credit reporting and marketing services for consumers and businesses, migrated their consumer platform from Microsoft SQL Server to Amazon DynamoDB to modernize their monolithic architecture to a microservices-driven architecture. As a result, they were able to handle up to 75% volume growth in the data layers each year and cut server deployment time from 60–90 days to just hours. Then there is Dow Jones, one of the world’s largest business and financial news companies. They migrated their market data platform from an on-premises SQL Server solution to Aurora nearly 2 weeks ahead of schedule and cut costs by over 50%.

In the past few years, hundreds of thousands of customers have migrated their databases using AWS Database Migration Service (AWS DMS). AWS DMS is a fully managed service that allows customers to migrate their relational databases, non-relational databases, and data warehouses to AWS with virtually no downtime.

As of September 2020, more than 300,000 databases have been migrated to AWS using AWS Database Migration Service. Customers like Samsung, Experian, Pokémon, Jack in the Box, AgriDigital, Dow Jones, Expedia, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, and many more continue to move to AWS databases. Reflecting the breadth of customer needs, AWS DMS supports 19 migration sources and 15 migration targets. After migrating, customers report significant cost savings—in some cases up to 90%. As significant as the cost savings are, there are even more upsides: AWS bolsters security, improves classic IT “ilities” like availability and scalability, and creates business value by embracing the innovation from AWS databases and analytics services. AWS will continue to invest and innovate to make migrating databases to AWS even more beneficial to our customers. As an example, today we announced our new AWS Graviton2 instances, which provide up to 52% price/performance improvement and up to 35% performance improvement for Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) open-source databases. This is a significant improvement over Amazon RDS’s already compelling price/performance advantage.

Close to home, Amazon’s Consumer business achieved a large-scale migration with AWS DMS and the AWS Schema Conversion Tool (SCT). Amazon migrated 75 petabytes of internal data from nearly 7,500 Oracle databases to multiple AWS database services, including DynamoDB, Aurora, Amazon RDS, and Amazon Redshift. These migrations required little or no downtime and covered 100% of Amazon’s proprietary systems. Amazon reduced database costs by over 60% on top of a heavily discounted rate from Oracle based upon scale. The switch to managed services also reduced database administration overhead by 70%. In addition, Amazon benefited from significant performance improvements. For example, these migrations reduced latency in consumer-facing applications by 40%. To learn more about this migration, check out Jeff Barr’s 2019 blog post Migration Complete – Amazon’s Consumer Business Just Turned off its Final Oracle Database, which describes success across Alexa, Amazon Prime, Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Fresh, Kindle, Amazon Music, Audible, Shopbop, Twitch, Zappos, and many other Amazon teams.

These results reflect our customer obsession in action. At AWS, we work backwards from the customer, and we view these metrics as indications of customer success. Breaking free from the old guard is not a new customer aspiration. I heard passionate customers who wanted to break free from Oracle in 1995 in Redmond, and a decade later in SQL Server Marketing. Although SQL Server was a welcome step back then, the old-guard business and technical traps proved too tempting. Today, it’s no surprise that customers ask AWS to help them move from SQL Server in the same way as from Oracle.

Thinking big about customer needs has translated into a broader and deeper portfolio of powerful databases and analytics services, and better migration technology. But we don’t stop at services and technology. We know how important it is for customers to have programs that complement technology to help them migrate to AWS databases. Our Database Freedom initiative is an umbrella that leverages several AWS programs and teams to help customers migrate. These include AWS Immersion Days to provide customers with hands-on experience with the AWS services that best fit their needs; technical workshops to dive deep with customers on the systems and services they wish to migrate from and to; AWS Data Labs for accelerated, joint-engineering engagements between customers and AWS; and Amazon Database Migration Accelerator (DMA), which migrates customers from traditional commercial databases using teams of AWS experts. These complement the AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP), which customers leverage for mass migrations. Across these, Solution Architects, AWS Professional Services, and AWS Partner Programs help customers on their migration journey.

We are happy and energized by our customers’ progress, and excited by the opportunities ahead to help migrate all customers to AWS databases. And with our annual re:Invent conference coming up soon, there will be even more news to come.

About the author

Dan Neault joined AWS in 2017 in Database Services and leads the Database Migration Service, outbound product management, and customer technical programs, including related government regions, Database Freedom to help migrate customers from legacy vendors, Amazon Data Lab to build prototypes with customers, and the Customer Advisory Team to help customers adopt related services.

Dan started his career at Boeing working on computer simulation and analyses related to sensors, stealth, and air combat. He joined Microsoft in 1995 with an MBA from the University of Chicago and held GM roles in Platforms Business Management; Marketing for SQL Server, BizTalk Server, and Azure variants; and Microsoft Consulting Services, including cloud incubations. Dan joined NetApp in 2013 as SVP of Datacenter Solutions Group, and moved to Samsung Electronics as SVP of Datacenter Solutions from which he spun out Stellus Technologies as President and CEO.

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