MySQL HeatWave on AWS: A Cutting Edge Cloud Database for the Masses

September 27, 2022 | 4 minute read
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Carl Olofson







Guest post by Carl Olofson, Research Vice President, Data Management Software,IDC

Two things are apparently true: one is that MySQL is one of the most popular relational database management systems (RDBMS)on the planet, and the other is that AWS is the most popular public cloud platform. It follows from this that a great many developers are building applications on AWS, and many are using MySQL as the application database management system (DBMS). But up to now, their options in this regard have been limited, because MySQL deployments on AWS are usually either had through the Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) or Amazon Aurora, or by manual self-management on AWS virtual machines. In both cases, the MySQL in use is the open source community edition, usually using its standard storage engine, InnoDB.

The self-managed approach is really no different from deploying on one's own infrastructure. The user is 100% responsible for backups, failover, software upgrades, security, and allocation of compute and storage resources sufficient to serve the needs of the database. Not much cloud benefit there. The RDS approach is better, relying on AWS to manage resource deployments, handle recoverability, support high availability with read replicas, isolation and security, and also comprehensive monitoring and metrics. So, most of the routine and utility tasks are covered, but the power, scope, and scalability are still just what the standard MySQL deployment can provide.

Typically, users focus on transactional workloads with MySQL, and move the data somewhere else for analytics. This means that there are steps that must be taken, including ETL, which introduce latency, the risk of failure into the business of delivering analytic data, and increased costs for additional services, such as storage. Also, MySQL itself has little by way of scalability, and good performance depends on smart schema management, which is still an issue that is in the user's domain.

A couple of years ago, Oracle, which owns the IP for MySQL, introduced a cloud service for MySQL called HeatWave that greatly enhances the functionality of the base product with an integrated in-memory query accelerator for analytics and offers scalability and support for virtualized resources, effectively separating compute and storage. Since then, Oracle has enhanced this service so that the latest version provides complex query support with optimized memory-based columnar data, in-database machine learning capabilities, and self-management through a feature called MySQL Autopilot. The limitation has been that until recently, HeatWave was only available on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). That is no longer the case.

On September 12th, Oracle announced availability of MySQL HeatWave as a native cloud service on AWS. Finally, users developing applications on AWS can take advantage of a cutting-edge RDBMS with all its advanced features, yet still standard MySQL from a code perspective, and set up application interaction with that RDBMS on one platform. All of the management facilities for MySQL HeatWave on AWS are provided in the native AWS format, so users will feel comfortable and confident in using them. The AWS version of MySQL HeatWave has an architecture specifically designed to run on AWS and maximize performance while minimizing cost. Users who were confronted with the necessity of deploying on OCI in order to enjoy the benefits of MySQL HeatWave but porting the data back and forth for AWS applications, can now rest easy. All the capabilities of MySQL HeatWave are delivered natively on AWS, so such data transfers and associated high egress fees will no longer be necessary. For users with AWS applications using non-HeatWave implementations of MySQL, they can now upgrade to MySQL HeatWave, without needing to change a single line of code.

There is another aspect of this development that bears consideration. Previously, database developers and DBAs working with MySQL, as with most RDBMSs, had to get around limitations in the speed and scalability of the database by performing unnatural acts of denormalization, including intentional duplication, in the database schema. With MySQL HeatWave, however, the system lacks the shortcomings of earlier RDBMSs, providing self-optimizing and auto scaling features that optimize price performance for straightforward database implementations without requiring such unnatural acts. This allows a fully third normal form schema to power a database with exceptional performance and no longer forces quirky, error-ridden special coding, accidental inconsistencies, and other effects of denormalization. So, you get great performance designing schemas just the way you learned in school. The result is faster development projects with far fewer bugs generated in the process.

The significance of this development cannot be overemphasized. For CDOs, CIOs, and IT managers, a strategic move to MySQL HeatWave on AWS applications represents a powerful price/performance proposition that is hard to disregard, and the move also means that enterprises can continue to develop and innovate on this DBMS platform for the foreseeable future. The fact that HeatWave expands the functionality of MySQL, as well as the performance, manageability, and overall affordability gives enterprises the ability to employ MySQL developers on operational, analytic, and machine learning projects, and for those projects to share the same database in real time. The savings in terms of human effort and reduced complexity derived from this mixed capability on MySQL compound those of the platform itself, enabling the development team to accomplish far more than could have been expected previously using multiple database/analytic/machine learning services, and do so on a reduced budget.

For developers, the ability to leverage existing MySQL skills with little or no additional effort to produce faster and better applications is attractive enough, but now developers can have the kind of database that in the past would have required a big, expensive DBMS. For any developers working with MySQL on AWS, Oracle has just dropped a big productivity boost on your doorstep without the big price tag.

Learn more about MySQL HeatWave


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