Does Amazon’s Aurora engine obliterate Oracle’s MySQL? – we’ll let you know…


I’ve been surprised by the number of web developers I’ve come across that haven’t heard of “Aurora”. For those who don’t know, on 12th November last year, Amazon announced something that shook the industry and made us very excited: a new product called “Aurora” that is fully MySQL 5.6 compatible but blows Oracle’s MySQL away.

It blows Oracle’s MySQL away by being up to 5 times faster at 1/10 the cost!

When the announcement came out we read and watched everything we could find about this. We couldn’t find any negatives; all the industry articles and blogs we could find heralded Aurora as a game-changer. From what we’ve gathered across hundreds of blog posts we are told that Aurora:

  • Reads up to five times faster than the largest MySQL instance ie (30 million selects per minute. Wow) Writes up to 3 times faster than standard MySQL (6 million inserts per minute).
  • Has incredible low master-slave lag (7.27ms replica lag at 13.8K updates per second).
  • Is utterly reliable (Automatically replicates data across multiple zones and has almost instant automatic failover with recovery from most database failures in less than 60 seconds. Continuously backs up data to Amazon S3.)
  • Is completely MySQL 5.6 compatible (just 3 extra statements for failure simulation).
  • Supports up to 15 read replicas (up from 5 in AWS MySQL).

We are true geeks and our collective minds were blown. At morning coffee after the announcement, it was all we could talk about. Kudos to Amazon, this is amazing.

You probably know that is powered by MySQL on AWS, so as you can imagine we’re incredibly excited to bring this technology to our customers. In theory we could serve tasks and milestones up to 5 times faster, perform your searches 5x faster, insert your new tasks 3x faster and all while keeping your data even safer than before. We want the very best for our customers, so the day that Amazon announced their limited preview of Aurora, we signed up.

Months of waiting

We’ve been patiently waiting for access for the 3 months. I also haven’t seen a single article on the web or post on the AWS forums discussing hands on experience with Aurora. This was getting us a little worried, we were starting to wonder if Aurora can live up to the hype or if unforeseen technical problems are going to delay its release for months to come.

We reached out to Amazon and requested (begged for) access to the Aurora limited preview again.

We’re in

Finally just a few days ago this email came in.


Let’s get testin’..

From the preview docs, we should be able to spin up an Aurora database as a slave instance to traditional MySQL. This will allow us to compare traditional MySQL versus the new shiney Aurora engine under a realistic workload, in a completely safe manner.

We’re excited to spin this up and get testing; we’ll soon know if Aurora can live up to it’s hype. Fingers crossed it will.

Amazon have some mumbo jumbo asking us not to reveal too many details during trial but we’ll share what we can. Besides I’m sure you can keep a secret.

Stay tuned.

Further reading for our fellow geeks:

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