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How Amazon Aurora Limitless Database Can Help You Move Faster

With much of AWS re:Invent 2023 content focused on Data and GenAI, it could have been easy to miss some of the other product announcements, but, that does not make them any less important. Of the product enhancements announced at re:Invent 2023, one that I am most excited about is the launch of Amazon Aurora Limitless Database.

A man sitting at a table with laptops in front of him.
The Amazon Aurora booth at the AWS expo.

What is Aurora Limitless Database?

In a nutshell, Amazon Aurora Limitless Database is a PostgreSQL-compatible database engine, with a focus on being as “serverless” as possible. This new Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering abstracts away much of the time and effort needed to stand up a new database instance or cluster, and then takes that a step further in abstracting away much of the on-going maintenance and operational overhead required when running production-scale database workloads. 

 The elevator pitch for Aurora Limitless Database can be summed up as,  

“Aurora Limitless Database allows developers to focus on software development, without worrying about the operational heft of managing a database – starting on day one of development and continuing into production.”    

Now, that’s quite a loaded statement, so that’s unpack that, a bit.   

Using Aurora Limitless Database, as software developers, we can all appreciate the complexity of standing up, maintaining and scaling a database. Doing so requires an understanding of hardware, networking, security, fault tolerance and data availability, and more.   

Wow, That Escalated Quickly

As your platform grows, so does the database (or databases) that the platform depends on to operate. As databases grow operationally, they require more storage, more compute, continued access to networks, and other resources to meet the requirements of the application. As your need for more resources grows, so does the complexity of managing the whole database platform.    

While my conclusion may be slightly hyperbolic, it is starting to sound like we set out to manage a database, not build an application, doesn’t it? Building software applications requires more than just knowing how to code. Building software also requires an understanding of everything with which our applications must interact, including databases.  

How can Aurora Limitless Database help me move faster?

Looking again to the elevator pitch above, the goal of the Aurora Limitless Database is to allow software developers to focus on developing software – not managing a platform or product. So, how does it do that?   

Amazon Aurora Limitless Database eliminates the need to do almost anything beyond (essentially) asking the platform, “Can I please have a PostgreSQL database that you will manage for me?” Instantiating a new Aurora Limitless Database eliminates many of the traditional tasks of scaling hardware resources, managing backups, maintaining a fault-tolerant environment… all everything else needed to maintain a production environment.   

Does your application have spiked workloads, that can be unpredictable? Don’t worry, that platform uses a smart query engine to scale your database IN REAL TIME, while introducing minimal latency. Do you have business intelligence (BI) needs that need to be met and can often require complex queries that need to be “scheduled” or else they will bring down the system? Don’t worry about that, either, because the smart query engine acts as a proxy and will work to identify resource intensive requests, like this and provision additional infrastructure to support that, without creating a bottleneck for the rest of your application.  

Is everything this simple and magic? Well, yes and no. Yes, the database platform is designed to allow developers more of a “hands off” approach to database utilization and maintenance, but there is still foundational work needed to allow the platform to “do its magic.” Your AWS account will need to have the necessary networking and connectivity, IAM policies and roles have to be created or altered to allow access to these resources, VPC security groups will need to be configured, among other things, but that is pretty much the “price of entry” into Cloud computing. 

What comes next?

While currently in Private Preview, the Amazon Aurora Limitless Database is yet to reveal many of the details of itself to the masses, but for now, my interest is piqued. I am interested to see how software development teams adopt Amazon Aurora Limitless Database in their projects, but, secretly, I am even more excited about the inherent ability of the platform to help meet SLAs, RTOs, and other non-functional requirements, allowing the business to realize more value from a product that is easier to use for everyone involved.  


To learn more about Amazon Aurora Limitless Database and how to achieve production-scale, check out DAT344 from re:Invent 2023 on YouTube.