Amazon introduces translation tool for SQL commands

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Amazon has announced Babelfish for Aurora PostgreSQL. The tool is not to be confused with Yahoo’s defunct translation application, is capable of translating commands for a T-SQL database to PostgreSQL commands on the go.

The translation tool directly attacks Microsoft. It is difficult to persuade customers using Microsoft SQL Server to migrate to another database, as applications that integrate with the Microsoft SQL Server communicate using the T-SQL language. If a client wishes to migrate their database to another vendor, all the applications that work with it would also need to be adapted.

Translation

With Babelfish, this would no longer be needed, as the tool serves as a translation layer between the application and the database. This makes it easier for Amazon customers of Microsoft SQL Server to migrate their database to Amazon Aurora, which uses PostgreSQL.

Correctness

In a blog post, Amazon emphasizes that the company has put a lot of work into making the application as correct as possible. As an example, the company states that SQL Server stores monetary values with four decimals, but PostgreSQL generally only stores two decimals. This could cause rounding errors. Amazon claims that Babelfish prevents such rounding errors.

Companies pay too much

In a SiliconANGLE interview, AWS-CEO Andy Jassy mentions that he believes that many companies pay too much for traditional databases such as SQL Server and Oracle Database. He thinks that Microsoft and Oracle are making their licence agreements less and less favourable for customers, but that the companies get away with it because it is difficult to migrate away. With Babylon, he wants to lure those customers to Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL.

Availability

Babelfish for Aurora PostgreSQL is now in preview. Amazon plans to release the translation tool in early 2021. An open source version will then be available on GitHub under the Apache 2.0 license.

Tip: AWS RDS database service supports Graviton2 instances