Amazon's move from Oracle: Werner Vogels does a show-and-tell

At re:Invent, the Amazon CTO dismisses databases built on "90's" technology, arguing that cloud native database services form a foundation for innovation.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

On Day 2 of the re:Invent conference, Amazon Web Services CTO Werner Vogels gave an extensive history lesson of Amazon database services. Ultimately, the in-the-weeds talk illustrated why Amazon turned off its Oracle data warehouse Nov. 1 and moved to Redshift.

Nov. 1, Vogels said, was his "best day" at Amazon.

In a clear jab at Oracle, Vogels wrote off the 90's technology behind most relational databases. Cloud native databases, he said, are the basis of innovation.

Vogels explained how cell-based architectures minimize the impact of failures, stressing, "Everything fails all the time." He walked through the scaled, distributed nature of Aurora, explaining its failure recovery features. He called DynamoDB "the foundation for internet scale performance."

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Redshift, meanwhile, has become 3.5X faster in just the last six months, thanks to optimizations that came from Amazon's "deep look under the cover," Vogels said.

Mai-Lan Tomsen Bukovec, GM of S3, joined Vogels on stage to tout the design resiliency of S3. "We've never seen the loss of a data center, but we build our systems knowing it can happen," she said.

Amazon's move off Oracle was the most recent chapter in the ongoing rivalry between the two tech giants. Earlier this year, when unveiling new Oracle autonomous database tools, Oracle CTO Larry Ellison taunted Amazon's efforts to move to their own databases.

"They've had 10 years to get off Oracle, and they're still on Oracle," he said. "They think of themselves as a competitor. It's kind of embarrassing when Amazon uses Oracle."

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