Oracle vs. AWS battle heats up around cloud costs, databases

After imposing a price hike for its customers that use AWS, Oracle now needs to contend with new AWS services that compete with its databases, as some users mull a migration.

As AWS finds new ways to entice Oracle customers, the latter has made its customers' transitions to the AWS public...

cloud more difficult. And in the ongoing Oracle vs. AWS feud, there doesn't appear to be a cease-fire coming anytime soon.

In January 2017, Oracle raised prices for customers that run their software on AWS. Oracle changed its cloud licensing policy to consider each virtual CPU as a full core -- instead of only a half-core -- effectively doubling the cost. The change suggested that Oracle hopes to slow migration to AWS and instead push customers to use Oracle Cloud.

But was this a smart move? While Oracle might lock in some customers who have no alternative to Oracle Cloud, that licensing change might have been the last straw for clients who desire more flexibility. And AWS is poised to capitalize on that frustration.

The Oracle vs. AWS dynamic resurfaced at re:Invent 2017, where Amazon introduced Amazon Aurora Serverless, an on-demand configuration for Aurora databases that allows customers to automatically start, stop and scale when necessary. With Aurora Serverless, system operators won't need to provision or manage capacity; the service uses a pool of warm instances to scale within seconds and allows existing connections to remain intact. It also offers potential cost reductions for intermittent database workloads.

Aurora Serverless marks an opportunity for AWS to dive deeper into Oracle's customer pool, especially with any legacy users that seek a change. AWS also offers its Database Migration Service, which enables existing Oracle users to easily migrate to Amazon Aurora. In addition, there's Amazon Aurora Multi-Master, which introduces the ability to create multiple masters in a cluster and improve availability by allowing an application to both read and write to multiple instances. AWS also recently unveiled Bare Metal Instances -- another service that directly competes with Oracle.

With these new AWS features and services, Oracle could be at a disadvantage. But is it enough for Amazon to win its customer battle with Oracle? And what else can AWS do to convince more Oracle users to make the switch?

For now, the Oracle vs. AWS battle looks a bit one-sided, given Oracle's decision to increase costs for its customers, while Amazon pushes more competitive services. Maybe the better question is: What will Oracle do next?

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