Amazon's Move Off Oracle Led To Thousands Of Delayed Deliveries: Report


An Amazon decision to move from Oracle's database software to its own Aurora PostgreSQL led to thousands of delayed package deliveries, according to a CNBC story citing a 25-page internal Amazon report.

The internal report focused on website issues that the e-commerce giant faced on Amazon Prime Day on July 16 maintains that Amazon's own Aurora software wasn't able to "handle the pressure, slowing down the overall database performance," according to the CNBC report.

The Amazon "correction of error" report said the database "degradation resulted in lags and complete outages," according to CNBC.

The report focused on technical problems at an Ohio Amazon warehouse that had moved off the Oracle database to Amazon's Aurora PostgreSQL, according to CNBC.

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Amazon engineers were specifically asked "why Amazon's warehouse database didn't face the same problem "during the previous peak when it was on Oracle," according to the CNBC story. They responded by saying that "Oracle and Aurora PostgreSQL are two different [database] technologies" that handle "savepoints" differently, according to CNBC.

Savepoints are key to implementing "complex error recovery" in database applications, according to Wikipedia. "If an error occurs in the midst of a multiple-statement transaction, the application may be able to recover from the error (by rolling back to a savepoint) without needing to abort the entire transaction," according to the Wikipedia definition.

On Prime Day, an "excessive number of savepoints was created, and Amazon's Aurora software wasn't able to handle the pressure, slowing down the overall database performance, according to the Amazon internal report cited by CNBC.

The Prime Day issues resulted in over 15,000 delayed packages and roughly $90,000 in wasted labor costs, according to the document cited by CNBC.

CRN reached out to Amazon for comment but had not heard back at press time.

In July, Amazon told CRN that the widespread glitches that impacted its fourth annual Prime Day were not related to Amazon Web Services.

CRN was unable to independently verify the internal Amazon documents.

The CNBC report comes one day after Oracle founder and CTO Larry Ellison said that the public cloud isn't safe enough for enterprises and specifically took jabs at Amazon Web Services as an example.

Ellison, during his keynote at Oracle OpenWorld, said there is a "fundamental problem" with the architecture of public cloud environments.

AWS, like its cloud competition, place their control code on the same servers that host customer workloads, according to Ellison. That means a malicious actor could change the provider's control code, access different servers, and look at other customers' data and exfiltrate that data, he said. Ellison added that the "smartest technology companies are routinely penetrated."

[Related: Amazon Will Extricate Itself From Oracle Tech By 2020: Report]

Oracle's Ellison has previously said that Amazon's plans to migrate off Oracle's database software by 2020 will be a challenge for the cloud giant.

"I don't think they can do it,” Ellison said during an event in August. "They've had 10 years to get off Oracle, and they're still on Oracle. And it's not going to be easy for them to use their own technology. It's not going to be cost-effective. I mean, it's really, really hard."

The CEO of a top cloud solution provider that partners with both Oracle and AWS defended AWS' Aurora PostgreSQL as an enterprise-ready offering. The CEO, however, did agree that it is hard for any company to move off Oracle's database. "Oracle is difficult to migrate from," he said.