Amazon became the 800-pound cloud gorilla by dominating storage and compute in the public cloud.
Now it wants your data, too.
And, to an ever-increasing degree, you're giving it them. In copious amounts. As DB-Engines—which tracks the ebb and flow of database popularity—shows, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is on a growth tear, outpacing even hot NoSQL databases like MongoDB and Cassandra.
While Amazon's various databases are growing from much smaller bases than other popular databases, its database growth rates suggest all our database are belong to Amazon, too.
Big and getting bigger
AWS has been in the database business for years, launching its Relational Database Service (RDS) way back in 2009. Based on MySQL, Amazon RDS was an almost instant winner, even before it hit general availability (2013), with enterprises paying hundreds of millions of dollars for an otherwise free and open-source database.
Over the years, Amazon has kept improving the RDS beast, adding Oracle (2011), Microsoft SQL Server (2012), Postgres (2013), and finally its own relational database, Aurora, in 2014.
While it's difficult to impossible to find good data on Amazon's RDS growth over time (DB-Engines consolidates it into overall MySQL, Oracle, etc. popularity), the real growth for AWS has come from its NoSQL offering, DynamoDB.
While Oracle, MySQL, and Microsoft SQL Server continue to dominate database usage, the reality is that they're roughly flat to declining (SQL Server, IBM DB2) in terms of popularity (measured across a range of factors):
Meanwhile, different flavors of NoSQL are soaring, and particularly those from Amazon, Microsoft (red line, second from the bottom), and Google (black line at the bottom) that run on their public clouds.
Among the non-cloud NoSQLs, MongoDB and Cassandra are also growing at heady rates, but even these high fliers can't match the growth rates of the cloud NoSQLs—particularly, Amazon's DynamoDB.
Game over, Amazon?
As DB-Engines' co-founder Matthias Gelbmann notes, "When it comes to hosted database solutions, Amazon is at eye level or even ahead of the other giants in the industry, such as Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, SAP and Google."
No, it's not going to collapse the database industry onto itself anytime soon, but the trends are in its favor.
In the cloud, it's all Amazon, with Microsoft only now starting to seriously compete. For enterprises looking at running more workloads in the cloud, they're going to look first to AWS. Not surprisingly, this has translated into AWS being 10X the size of all its public cloud competitors combined.
Once there, they're going to find an innovation machine that runs at a pace that its server-bound competitors like Oracle simply can't match. A quick glance at Amazon's updates across its database line—particularly, DynamoDB—from this year, suggests that the pace isn't slackening... at all.
There's a long way to go, but Amazon's appetite is voracious. People may think they can dismiss a MongoDB or DataStax as being too small to unseat Oracle. But Amazon...? It has the cash and the product reach to give every enterprise database vendor a serious run for its money.
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Matt Asay is a veteran technology columnist who has written for CNET, ReadWrite, and other tech media. Asay has also held a variety of executive roles with leading mobile and big data software companies.