Amazon’s Fulfillment Unit Flips The Off Switch On Oracle Database


In another milestone in Amazon's quest to purge Oracle technology from its massive e-commerce business, the company's fulfillment division last week completed its migration to native AWS databases.

John Darrow, Amazon's senior principal engineer, last Friday posted on Twitter video of a countdown, complete with what appeared to be an Oracle pinata, to the flipping of the switch—a command executed on a laptop—that re-platformed Amazon Fulfillment operations on Aurora PostgreSQL and DynamoDB.

Amazon CTO Werner Vogels quickly congratulated the Amazon Fulfillment teams for that accomplishment on his own Twitter feed: “Congrats to the @Amazon Fulfillment teams for completing the migration off Oracle to 100% #AWS. #databasefreedom”

[Related: AWS Takes Aim At MongoDB With New Database Service]

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It's not clear how much more Oracle technology remains under the hood in Amazon's retail business, and what the timeline is for further migrations. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Oracle declined comment.

Oracle has become an acrimonious competitor of AWS, and efforts to migrate away from Oracle's leading database have intensified as a war of words played out between senior executives of the two technology giants.

Oracle founder and CTO Larry Ellison has repeatedly publicized the substantial software license fees Amazon pays Oracle. In an earnings call in December of 2017, Ellison said the $50 million Amazon spent on Oracle technology in the previous quarter led him to conclude of the shift: "I don’t think they can do it."

Last November, AWS CEO Andy Jassy celebrated another milestone in the ongoing feud with a tweet that started: "In latest episode of "uh huh, keep talkin' Larry."

Jassy revealed that on Nov. 1, Amazon's consumer business "turned off" its Oracle data warehouse—a technology for storing large amounts of data typically used for analytics and business intelligence.

Jassy took the moment as an opportunity to punch back at Ellison, who a month earlier at the Oracle OpenWorld conference again boasted about Amazon's dependence on Oracle technology, despite the enmity between the two technology giants.

While those migrations have become a crucial aspect of Amazon's technology strategy, and a point of pride for the industry's dominant public cloud, they can be fraught.

A 25-page Amazon "correction of error" report concluded that Amazon's move from Oracle's database software to Aurora PostgreSQL resulted in database degradation that caused "lags and complete outages" on last year's Amazon Prime Day, according to a CNBC news story.

Ellison mocked the failure that marred the fourth annual Amazon Prime Day, a promotion for premium members that drives more sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with widespread outages that ultimately delayed deliveries for thousands of customers.

Amazon set a goal to shed the final remnants of Oracle database technology from its e-commerce service by the first quarter of 2020, according to a CNBC report published last year.

At the time, two people familiar with the project told CNBC that Amazon was less than two years away from realizing its long-envisioned plan to cease business with its rival.