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Introduction to AWS Aurora

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What is AWS Aurora?

AWS Aurora is a relational database built with a cloud that is fully managed. It is compatible with MySQL and Postgresql. Developer & DBA already know how to deal with MySQL and PostgreSQL. Aurora will give you a combination of the speed and reliability of an enterprise database with the cost-effectiveness and simplicity of an open-source database. If your current application is developed with MySQL or Postgresql you can use Aurora. Aurora can deliver speed and throughput up to 5 times of MySQL and 3 times of PostgreSQL with your existing system means you won’t require to change your existing system.

How Aurora Relates to Engines of Amazon RDS?

The following points will illustrate how standard engines of Amazon RDS i.e, MySQL and PostgreSQL relates to Aurora:

While setting up new database servers with Amazon RDS you choose Aurora as a DB engine option.

If you are familiar with Amazon RDS then you would find it easy to set up Aurora. You can use Amazon RDS management console to set up clusters of Aurora, CLI commands and API to handle database routine tasks such as backup, recovery, repair, and others.

Aurora’s automatic clustering and replication and other management operations are managed over the entire cluster of database servers, not just one instance that lets you easily and with low cost can handle your large MySQL and PostgreSQL servers.

Your existing data in Amazon RDS for MySQL and PostgreSQL can be brought to Aurora by replication or using snapshots. There is another feature which is push-button migration that can be used to convert your existing Amazon RDS MySQL and PostgreSQL to Aurora.

How Aurora Works?

Aurora DB cluster consists of Primary DB and Aurora replica DB and a cluster volume to manage the data for those DB instances. Aurora cluster volume is not a physical but a virtual database storage volume that spans over multiple Availability Zone to support global applications better. Each zone has its copy of DB cluster data.

Primary DB is where all read and write operations are done over cluster volume. Each cluster in Aurora will have one primary DB instance.

Its just and replica of primary DB instance whose sole responsibility is to just give data i.e, only read operations. There can be 15 replicas for a primary DB instance to maintain high availability in all the Zones. In a fail-safe condition, Aurora will switch to a replica when a Primary DB is not available. Replicas help in reducing the read workload over primary DB. You can configure failover priority for replicas.

There can be a multi-master cluster also for Aurora. In multi-master, all the DB instance would have a read and write capabilities. We can call this as a multi-master replication in AWS terminology they are known as reader and writer DB instances.

You can also configure to keep a backup of your database on Amazon S3. This ensures the safety of your database even in the worst cases where the whole cluster is down.

For an unpredictable workload, you can use Aurora Serverless to automatically start scaling and shut down the database to match application demand.

Advantages of Aurora

Enterprise Level Security: Aurora is a service by Amazon so you can be assured about the security and you can use the IAM features.

Enterprise Level Availability: Multiple replications of DB instances over multiple zones ensure high availability.

Enterprise Level Scalability: With Aurora serverless, you can set up your database to automatically scale up and scale down with application demand.

Enterprise Level Performance: With simplicity & cost-effectiveness as open-source DB.

Enterprise Level Compatibility: Aurora is compatible with MySQL and PostgreSQL. So, if your current application is in MySQL or PostgreSQL you can migrate it or use Amazon RDS to shift your database and use Aurora Engine.

Maintenance: Aurora has almost zero server maintenance. 5 times faster than MySQL and 3 times faster than PostgreSQL.

Limitations of AWS Aurora

Given below are the limitations mentioned:

Currently supports MySQL-5.6.10 so if you need new features or you have an older version of MySQL then you can’t. In the future, Amazon will bring new features of MySQL for Aurora but you have to wait.

If you want to use MyISAM tables you can’t because Aurora only supports InnoDB currently.

You don’t have an option to use smaller RDS than r3.large with Aurora.

Conclusion – AWS Aurora

From the above content, we got a good idea of what Aurora is and what are its features. In current times it is very important to be highly available and fast and we don’t want to lose data, in that case, Aurora is a good choice. Companies can let their developers focus on business logic and the database would be managed automatically. But if your application is with older MySQL or PostgreSQL it could take a good effort to make it RDS compatible. Maybe not now but at some point in time, you need to look for a distributed database system that is highly scalable and available at that time Aurora could be a choice.

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