Amazon's CTO takes a shot at Oracle and the 'nightmare' of other legacy databases


amazon web services werner vogels

Matt Weinberger/Business Insider

Amazon CTO Werner Vogels hypes Amazon Web Services' success with startups at the AWS Summit 2017 in San Francisco.

Late last year, Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison set off a war of words with Amazon Web Services - the retailer's insanely profitable $14 billion cloud computing platform - after spending an entire keynote session talking trash.


Almost six months later, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels seems unfazed.

At today's Amazon Web Services Summit, Vogels announced that customers have used its Amazon Database Migration Service (DMS) to move 23,000 databases from "old world" IT companies like Oracle, Microsoft, or SAP. That's up from 20,000 in March.

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While he didn't name names, he chided those legacy companies for what he called "punitive" licensing practices. Those companies make customers predict years in advance for the database capacity they'll need under a long-term sales contract, and may sometimes subject them to intense audits to verify they're not using more than they've paid for.

By Vogels' reckoning, this "nightmare" practice means that 30% of companies tend to buy more licenses than they actually wind up needing, as a hedge against the dreaded licensing audit, "because it's very hard to predict the future."


And so, Vogels says, those "old world" licensing practices are driving more and more customers towards databases like MySQL or Postgres, which are available as free open source for anyone to use. The problem, Vogels says, is that it can be hard to take those database products and scale them up to the size you need.

The Amazon sales pitch

Meanwhile, a big part of the sales pitch for Amazon Web Services is that you rent computing resources from Amazon's global data center infrastructure, paying only for what you need. It means that AWS customers like Slack or Airbnb can serve their ever-growing customer base just by flipping a few virtual switches.

So the Amazon Database Migration Service provides an easy way for customers to not only leave those "old world" databases behind, Vogels says, but also to get started with those free databases in a scalable cloud platform that grows to meet your requirements, however large or small, "for a fraction of the price."

Of course, they can also use the migration service to start using Amazon's own home-grown Aurora database (which is not free). Vogels says that Aurora can quickly and easily analyze the data stored in a database, and is also easy for the IT department to manage.

Andy Jassy, Amazon


Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy


All of this is another sign that Amazon is serious about winning over even the largest companies, getting them started with the Amazon Web Services cloud either a little at a time or all at once.

And Vogels highlights Amazon Web Service's very fast growth, which he says is leading the hypercompetitive cloud computing market, even against titans like Oracle and Microsoft.

"They're actually retreating," Vogels says. "They're contracting their growth instead of expanding it like Amazon is doing."

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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