At the 2020 AWS re:Invent there have been a lot of great sessions covering everything that’s new and improved in managed database solutions from Amazon Web Services (AWS). In this post, ClearScale’s Database Engineer, Renat Sunyaev, and Database Tech Lead, Sergey Kushnarev, summarize these exciting announcements.

Over the past 15 years, there was an incredible shift of application workloads from on-premises data centers or colocation facilities to cloud-based computing using services from AWS. Companies have been able to innovate faster, serve customers better, and keep their IT spend lower by migrating to the cloud.

But a simple “lift and shift” approach is not enough. More and more companies are looking for ways to innovate even faster by focusing on their core competencies. They’re looking for a cloud provider that can be a partner as they work to deliver customer value. For many, this means more than simple compute and storage options. As a result, companies are using higher-level services such as fully managed databases including Amazon RDS, Amazon Aurora, and AWS DMS for database migration.

Managed Database Services – Amazon RDS

Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud. It provides cost-efficient and resizable capacity while automating time-consuming administration tasks such as hardware provisioning, database setup, patching, and backups.

Amazon RDS frees you up to focus on your applications so that you can give them the fast performance, high availability, security, and compatibility they need. Amazon RDS is available on several database instance types – optimized for memory, performance, or I/O – and provides you with six familiar database engines to choose from, including Amazon Aurora, PostgreSQL, MySQL, MariaDB, Oracle Database, and SQL Server.

re:Invent 2020 Amazon RDS Announcements

  1. RDS on Outposts: supported on-premises on AWS Outposts
    Graviton2 instances
  2. RDS for SQL Server price reduction
  3. RDS Proxy – connection pooling
  4. RDS Proxy – seamless failovers
  5. Integration with License Manager
  6. New DB versions and features:
    • PostgreSQL 12: improved partitioning, collations, query plan statistics, generated columns, JSON path queries
    • Supports RDKIT extension: the RDKit extension allows cheminformatics to deal with the manipulation of chemical structures, fingerprinting search functions, and molecular structure matching
    • New Minor Versions, S3 backup ingestion for MySQL 8.0, support for AWS Backup
    • New MariaDB 10.5, MariaDB 10.4: instant drop column operation, additional authentication
    • Ability to reload new SSL certificates without restarting the server
    • SQL Server Major Version 2019: accelerated database recovery (ADR), Intelligent Query Processing (IQP), intelligent performance features, and resumable index rebuilds
    • SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)
    • SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS)
    • Distributed transactions using Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator (MSDTC)
    • July 2020 Oracle Patch Set Updates (PSU) and Release Updates (RU)
    • Oracle Application Express (APEX) Version 19.2 and Version 20.1
    • Oracle Spatial for Oracle Standard Edition 2
    • Oracle OLAP

Amazon Aurora

Amazon Aurora is a MySQL and PostgreSQL-compatible relational database built for the cloud. It combines the performance and availability of traditional enterprise databases with the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of open source databases.

Amazon Aurora is up to five times faster than standard MySQL databases and three times faster than standard PostgreSQL databases. Amazon Aurora is fully managed by AWS, which automates time-consuming administration tasks like hardware provisioning, database setup, patching, and backups.

re:Invent 2020 Amazon Aurora Announcements

  1. Amazon Aurora versions
    • MySQL compatibility: Automated minor version upgrades, in-place upgrades from Aurora MySQL 5.6 to 5.7 (coming soon), Aurora MySQL 8.0 (coming soon)
    • PostgreSQL compatibility: Automated minor version upgrades. In-place upgrade 9.6.9 to 10.11, 10.7 to 11.7, 11 to 12 (coming soon), PostgreSQL 12 (coming soon)
  2. Storage – Aurora now supports database sizes of up to 128 tebibytes (TiB)
  3. Database volume storage now automatically shrinks as data is deleted
  4. Snapshot export to Amazon S3
  5. AWS Graviton2-powered Aurora (preview, coming soon)
    • Graviton2, fully compatible with all existing Aurora features – no porting needed
    • Up to 35% better performance
    • Graviton2 – Uniformity. 64-core, single socket, uniform memory access, every vCPU is a physical core, no simultaneous multi-threading (SMT)
  6. Amazon Aurora Serverless v2 (preview, coming soon)
  7. Global Database
    • Reader instances – up to 90
    • Managed RPO
    • Write forwarding
    • Managed failover
  8. Babelfish for Aurora PostgreSQL – Run SQL Server applications on PostgreSQL with little to no code changes

AWS Database Migration Service

AWS Database Migration Service (DMS) helps migrate databases to AWS quickly and securely. The source database remains fully operational during the migration, minimizing downtime to applications that rely on the database. It supports homogeneous migrations such as Oracle to Oracle, as well as heterogeneous migrations between different database platforms, such as Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server to Amazon Aurora.

AWS DMS can migrate your data to and from the most widely used commercial and open-source databases. You can continuously replicate your data with high availability and consolidate databases into a petabyte-scale data warehouse by streaming data to Amazon Redshift and Amazon S3.

re:Invent 2020 AWS Database Migration Service Announcements

  1. R5, C5, and T3 instances – creating new types of instances for improving the speed of migrations
  2. Support for the migration source of the latest versions of database engines: Oracle 19c, SQL Server 2019, MySQL 8, PostgreSQL 12
  3. Support for the migration target for the cloud database services: Amazon Neptune, Amazon MSK
  4. Spatial data type support
  5. Improved large object (LOB) handling
  6. Support for secure migrations with Transport Layer Security (TLS) v1.2 encryption


AWS services are continuously improving and responding to the needs and requirements of customers. From ClearScale’s standpoint, the most significant new RDS features announced at re:Invent are:

  • Performance: Amazon RDS on Graviton2 processors provides up to 35% performance increases
  • Reliability: RDS Proxy for seamless and faster failovers, with up to 66% faster failover time
  • Compatibility: support for new databases in AWS DMS such as Oracle 19c, SQL Server 2019, MySQL 8, PostgreSQL 12, Amazon Neptune, Amazon MSK, and MongoDB

Need help implementing Amazon RDS? ClearScale recently achieved the Amazon RDS Service Delivery Designation.

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