As the world’s most popular open-source database, MySQL has been around the block more than a few times. Traditionally installed in on-premise data centers, recent years have shown a major trend for MySQL in the cloud, and near the top of this list is Amazon RDS.
Amazon RDS allows you to deploy scalable MySQL servers within minutes in a cost-efficient manner with easily resizable hardware capacity. This frees you up to focus on application development and leaves many of the traditional database administration tasks such as backups, patching, and monitoring in the hands of AWS.
In this post I’d like to go over six important benefits of Amazon RDS, and why a move into RDS may be the right move for you.
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Amazon RDS allows you to use either the AWS Management Console or a set of APIs to create, delete, and modify your database instances. You have full control of access and security for your instances, as well as an easy process to manage your database backups and snapshots.
Amazon RDS for MySQL instances are pre-configured with parameters and settings tuned for the instance type you have chosen. Fear not, however, as you have a massive amount of control over these parameters with easy to manage database parameter groups that provide granular control and tuning options for your database instances.
Fast Storage Options
Amazon RDS provides two SSD-backed storage options for your database instances. The General Purpose storage option provides cost-effective storage for smaller or medium-sized workloads. For those applications that demand higher performance (such as heavy OLTP workloads), Provisioned IOPS Storage delivers consistent storage performance of up to 40,000 I/O’s per second.
Easily expandable as your storage requirements grow, you can provision additional storage on the fly with no downtime.
Backup & Recovery
A good DBA is only as good as their last backup. This is a saying I’ve heard ever since I started working with MySQL back in the 3.2.3 days. It was true then, and it is true now – without the data, what can even the best DBA do to restore production services?
With Amazon RDS, the automated backup features enable backup and recovery of your MySQL database instances to any point in time within your specified retention periods (up to 35 days). You can also manually initiate backups of your instances, and all of these backups will be stored by Amazon RDS until you explicitly delete them. Backups have never been so easy.
On-premise high availability is often a challenge, as so many pieces of the puzzle need to work together in unison, and this is discounting the need for multiple data centers that are geographically separated.
Using Amazon RDS Multi-AZ deployments, you can achieve enhanced availability and durability for your MySQL database instances, making them a great fit for production database workloads. By using Amazon RDS Read Replicas, it is easy to elastically scale out beyond the capacity constraints of a single database instance for read-heavy workloads.
With the available RDS monitoring features in Amazon Cloudwatch, all of the metrics for your RDS database instances are available at no additional charge. Should you want more detailed and in-depth monitoring options, CloudWatch Enhanced Monitoring provides access to over 50 CPU, memory, file system, and disk I/O metrics.
You can view key operational metrics directly within the AWS Management Console, including compute, memory, storage capacity utilization, I/O activity, instance connections, and more. Never be caught off guard again by not knowing what is happening within your database stack.
As a managed service, Amazon RDS provides a high level of security for your MySQL databases. These include network isolation using Amazon VPC (virtual private cloud), encryption at rest using keys that you create and control through the AWS Key Management Service (KMS). Data can also be encrypted through the wire in transit using SSL.
This is a good point to mention the Shared Responsibility Model, as there are still components you’ll need to secure during your RDS setup.
As you can see from the AWS documentation, you are still in control of your instances, and as such will need to be sure that the settings align with your desired security best practices. While a detailed dive into the Shared Responsibility Model is beyond the scope of this article, my colleague Michael Benshoof has written a detailed overview here: The Shared Responsibility Model of Security in the Cloud.
In closing, there are many benefits to leveraging the cloud for your database infrastructure, and Amazon RDS is one of the more popular options suitable for many workloads and users. While AWS RDS does remove much of the DBA overhead with traditional on-premise installations, the customer is still responsible for managing the data itself, along with the tasks that accompany that. Analyzing workloads, performance trends, traffic management, etc., is still going to be critical even when leveraging managed cloud services. Percona can assist with your RDS deployment by picking up where AWS leaves off:
• Performance Tuning
• Capacity Planning
• Disaster Recovery
• Resource Allocation
With Percona supporting your RDS installation, you can focus your efforts on your application and business, while letting Amazon and Percona support your infrastructure. If you are researching a move into the cloud, Percona can help review your options and assist in helping you choose a solution that will be best suited for your business.
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