Amazon Urges Proprietary Database Customers To Migrate - InformationWeek

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Amazon Urges Proprietary Database Customers To Migrate

Amazon Web Services fourth annual Re:Invent conference got underway in Las Vegas this week. Senior vice president Andy Jassy bid directly for Oracle and SQL Server customers.

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Amazon Web Services continued its turn toward enterprise users by putting front and center two prominent CIOs who said their companies' strategies now depend on Amazon: GE and Capital One Financial.

The two CIOs appeared at the opening keynote of Re:Invent 2015 in Las Vegas, the fourth annual gathering of Amazon customers. The show kicked off on Wednesday, Oct. 7.

In another move aimed at an enterprise audience, AWS senior vice president Andy Jassy dangled the prospect of greater technical help for enterprises interested in migrating away from their proprietary database vendors to relational systems on Amazon.

CIOs Speak

Robert Alexander, CIO of Capital One Financial, issuer of 70 million credit cards and also one of the biggest US banks, said his firm is relying on AWS to host its next mobile banking application and scale it out to keep it in step with customer needs.

(Image: JurgaR/iStockphoto)

(Image: JurgaR/iStockphoto)

Alexander showed off features of a new customer-oriented mobile app that Capital One will soon offer. "Digital mobile is the new branch," he told a keynote crowd in the sprawling Venetian Casino and Sands Expo conference center in Las Vegas. Although Capital One plans to offer the application from Amazon data centers, Alexander didn't waste any time expressing concern about security in the public cloud.

Amazon has been made more secure than the enterprise data center can be, he said.

At the same time, Capital One is moving much of its infrastructure onto Amazon and reducing its data center facilities from eight last year to three by 2018, he said.

Among his listeners in the audience was Adrian Cockcroft, technology fellow at Battery Ventures, and one of the first architects of a cloud strategy for a company that was among the first to go all-in on Amazon, Netflix.

"Capital One says it's building a more secure system on AWS than it could in its enterprise data center. That was a very powerful statement to put out there from a financial services company -- that you can programmatically secure a cloud account, but you can't do that in the enterprise," Cockcroft said in a follow-up interview.

Alexander was followed later in the keynote by GE's CIO Jim Fowler, who said his firm is moving out of its own data centers and onto Amazon infrastructure as it transforms itself from a manufacturer of physical goods into a provider of services based on products. To complete its transition to a digital company, it will shrink its number of data centers from 34 to 4 and move the equivalent of its current 9,000 applications onto the AWS cloud.

Noting GE is a 140-year-old company, Fowler said: "Amazon is our trusted partner. It's going to run our infrastructure for the next 140 years." Adopting cloud computing as its future "is no longer an experiment, a test, a thing that's probable. It's inevitable," he said.

Cockcroft said GE was representative of the many companies that "are trying to shutdown data centers" and consolidate legacy systems. This year, more of them are becoming serious about it by mapping plans to migrate part of the production systems into the cloud.

New Services

AWS showed a more direct willingness to take on commercial database vendors at this year's event.

Jassy claimed to be repeating customer complaints when

Page 2: A Shot at Oracle

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Ninja
10/9/2015 | 12:21:34 PM
Re: How likely is it that Oracle, SQL Server customers will budge?
A lot of companies are moving over to Amazon. And as a result Amazon has some clout to try to get companies off of proprietary databases such as Oracle. 

Now that I think about this, the pressure from cloud providers like Amazon explains why Oracle has long tried to portray a "cloud" model when in fact that's still mostly about buying hardware from them. Interesting. 
User Rank: Ninja
10/9/2015 | 10:21:28 AM
Re: How likely is it that Oracle, SQ Server customers will budge?
Its not just converting the schema, its migrating the data and converting all the queries in applications that consume that data. Small but dramatic differences in dialects can be a killer. Earlier this year, I migrated an Enterprise client from MS SQL to MySQL (on AWS ironically enough). Converting the schema and migrating the data was maybe 30% of the work. The rest was changing queries in code and testing the applications.

Not for the feint of heart or the slim wallet!
User Rank: Ninja
10/8/2015 | 9:06:24 PM
Re: How likely is it that Oracle, SQ Server customers will budge?
I think the offer might be enticing to plenty of proprietary database users. They'll probably be familiar with AWS. The trouble might be with the conversion service's age. Proprietary users may choose to wait a bit to see how others fair with conversion. 
Charlie Babcock
Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
10/8/2015 | 6:41:00 PM
How likely is it that Oracle, SQL Server customers will budge?
Alternatives to proprietary databases have been available for years and their users haven't budged. They trust the software, even if they're uncomfortable with the amount it costs them. The thing that's different about Amazon's bid for their buiness is the schema conversion. AWS will do it for free to enable the migration. But will proprietary database users trust a free service?
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