Amazon could cut prices and launch a super-fast database to take on Oracle and SAP next week


Jeff Bezos

Michael Seto/Business Insider

Amazon is hosting its annual AWS re:Invent tech conference next week in Las Vegas, where it talks to customers about its popular Amazon Web Services cloud computing service.


There's one rumored new product that could be announced: a new super-fast "in-memory" database.

At least that's what Merrill Lynch's Justin Post thinks.

"Amazon may announce new database products like in-memory databases or higher performance database services like Aurora (MySQL)," he wrote in a research note earlier this week, Post wrote,

An in-memory database runs in a computer's memory, rather than using computer storage, and can process "ungodly" amounts of data at nearly instant speeds, as Oracle chairman Larry Ellison once described Oracle's version of this product. The in-memory option is one of the central ways that Oracle is convincing is huge cadre of customers to upgrade to its latest database, Oracle 12c.


SAP is also a big player here. It is trying to wean its huge stable of business software customers off of Oracle's database and onto its own in-memory alternative, Hana. It's bet its whole company on that Hana database, its chairman admitted earlier this year.

Amazon already offers a variety of ways to run in-memory databases on its cloud (including SAP Hana), and a variety of its own home-grown databases.

However, Amazon says its working on more databases, saying in a job listing for a database developer (emphasis ours), "These are exciting times in our space - we are growing fast, but still at an early stage and working on ambitious new initiatives where an engineer at any level can have significant technical and business impact."

If Amazon does introduce a new in-memory database, it won't make Oracle or SAP happy.

Databases are the bits of software upon which an entire's company's operations depend. Companies don't switch them out very often or very easily. But database vendors are known for some pretty draconian methods to shake down their customers for money. As businesses stampede to cloud computing, many wouldn't mind finding less-expensive database alternatives.


And Amazon is the less expensive, cost-cutting king of the cloud world.

Amazon is always cutting prices. As of July, it has cut AWS prices 49 times and it just announced another price cut, for its storage service, in September.

And Amazon is due for another round of cost cuts. Word is that it will announce them at its show next week.

The cost-cutting war has been given an industry name: The Race to Zero. That means that eventually some cloud providers, particularly cloud storage, will cut prices so low, they'll be giving them away for free. (In fact, earlier this year, Google went ahead and did that with its free Photo app. It tossed in unlimited storage, for free.)

So, as Amazon pushes more heavily into database services, cutting costs along the way, enterprises may be delighted to give its new database a try.


We reached out to Amazon for comment and will update when we hear back.

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

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