Why Microsoft’s Cosmos DB may displace AWS’s cloud databases

You might have gone into an alcohol-induced hibernation over the holidays, but cloud databases did not. More specifically, the cumbersomely named Microsoft Azure Cosmos DB did not, rocketing past AWS Redshift, as Begin founder Brian Leroux first noticed. While everything was “as you were” for AWS database leader DynamoDB in 2017, according to DB Engines’ comprehensive ranking, Cosmos DB jumped 27 places, from 58 to 31.

dbengines ranking jan2018DB-Engines

What’s emerging is a very different approach to data across competing cloud vendors. AWS has introduced powerful options for familiar data needs: Amazon Redshift for data warehousing, Amazon Aurora/RDS for traditional relational workloads, and AWS DynamoDB for NoSQL. Meanwhile, with Cosmos DB, Microsoft seems to be heading in the opposite direction, with a one-size-fits-all approach to data that seems to be catching fire.

Cloud databases are where the (new) action is

Most data remains firmly ensconced in traditional RDBMSs like Oracle, MySQL, and Microsoft SQL Server. While NoSQL has started to change this (MongoDB being the best example, thanks to its flexible schema document data store), databases remain the least likely enterprise infrastructure to change. There’s simply too much risk involved with changing databases.

Or there would be, if it weren’t for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and, increasingly, Google. Risk-averse enterprises may shy away from doing business with small-fry NoSQL startups, but they simply can’t avoid doing business with AWS and Microsoft.

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