11 Reasons To Opt For Relational Database Service (RDS)

When it comes to the field of Information Technology and specifically in relation with Databases, RDS means “Relational Database Service”. In other words, we can say that RDS is an abbreviation of Relational Database Service. Of the recent times, it is all the new rage. Yet, only few can wrap their head around the concepts surrounding the RDS. In this article, I will try to demystify the secrets of Relational Database Service. That said, we will explore about the following topics:

  • What exactly is a RDS or Relational Database Service
  • 11 Reasons to use a Relational Database Service.
  • Practical uses of Relational Database Services.
  • Typical charges for a RDS.
  • Typical quotas for a RDS.
  • Differences between RDS and other types of database solutions.

In order to understand what a Relational Database Service (RDS) is, let’s just take a step back and review the definition of a Relational Database and then we will work our way up to the RDS. Relational Database is just a database that is used to organize data in different ways. The database is the parent container for holding all the data. This database, in turn, consists of multiple content holders called “tables“. These tables contain the actual data in multiple rows, distributed across multiple columns. If you would like to know more about the basics of a Relational Database along with an example please visit this article on what is Relational Database.

What exactly is a Relational Database Service?

So now that we know that a Relational Database is a database consisting of multiple relationships, Relational Database Service (RDS), is a web service offered to utilise the Relational Database online, on the cloud. In other words, RDS is a web service that is reliable, scalable, and easy to manage out-of-the-box in the cloud.

Typically, RDS provides a professional database management platform that allows you to very easily and efficiently set, operate and scale a relational database as needed. The RDS comes with a console of its own using which, you can perform pretty much all of the required responsibilities with very less intervention and even without programming.

Ways to access the RDS

There are couple of ways in which the RDS can be accessed. They are:

  • Via Management Console
  • Via API

Accessing RDS via Management Console

Typically, once we order a RDS, we need to login to the RDS management console via the Web interface or the Web UI and access it from there. Using this console, we will be able to administer the RDS DB instances.

Accessing RDS via API

For integrating RDS into third-party systems, we can use the Application Programming Interface or the API to access the RDS.

How and where RDS are located

There are couple of places where the RDS that we purchase, are located. They are:

  • Regions
  • Availability Zones (AZs)

Regions

The geographic area in which the resources used by our RDS are located, is called a “Region”. It is possible for the RDS services in the same region to communicate with one another over the intranet. For the RDS services that fall in the internet category, communication among them is not possible.

For the reason mentioned above, it is also possible to provision RDS to certain specific regions. A good reason to do this is to meet the specific local laws of that region and other demands.

Availability Zones (AZs)

The Regions mentioned above contain Availability Zones. There could be many Availability Zones within a single Region and this is where the networks and power that a RDS typically uses, are physically isolated. The beauty of AZs is the fact that they provide low-latency network connections that are unaffected by faults that may occur in other AZs. These AZs are also cost-effective and hence, the benefits are passed on to us, the customers.

For the reasons mentioned above, we should always provision RDS in separate AZs so that our applications are protected against the local faults that occur in a specific location, if any faults were to occur.

All of this aims to streamline the business processes and this in turn, decreases the repetitive and routine tasks required for operation and management, thereby increasing our productivity. All this time saved, could be utilized in making other decisions vital for the business.

11 Reasons to use a Relational Database Service

1. Immediate use after the initial setup:

Using RDS cuts the time manifold, as it will be easy to access the capabilities of a production ready Relational Database in minutes, as opposed to previous setup that could extend from hours to days. There is no requirement for running a server and for deploying a dedicated database instance. For someone who opts for RBS, they could get the project files ready and deploy those files over the cloud in just a matter of minutes.

2. Effortless administration

As Relational Database Service is a cloud-based solution for working with databases, it is fast, secure, reliable, stable, scalable, cost effective, and easy to administer. RBS shines in the fact that there is no need for customer assistance in the installation and deployment of data basis. It is automatically performed by the RDS in matter of just few minutes as opposed to hours that are consumed by a typical Relational Database system setup.

3. Stability

RDS runs on the cloud platform. Hence the infrastructure used, will be highly reliable. The reliability of the RDS stems from the fact that when a primary RDS instance is provisioned, RDS automatically duplicates the data to a passive stand by DB instance. Because of this, in case the primary DB instance fails because of any reason or becomes unavailable, the RDS will automatically switch the service to the standby replica in a matter of seconds and serves the data from this replica, thereby providing cushion against any unexpected downtimes.

4. Reliability

RDS also offers tools that are immensely useful for the administration of databases such as disaster recovery tools, recovery, monitoring, and other tools that are necessary for operation and maintenance of the databases.

5. Backups

There are two types of backups offered by RDS. They are:

  • Automated backups
  • Manual backups

Automated backups

Automatic backups ensure that the data is backed up at regular intervals thus preventing data loss. In order to do this, we can set the backup start time and retention period when creating a DB instance. This will signal the RDS to create a full backup of the DB instance accordingly.

Manual backups

Manual backups ensure that the data is backed up on demand. In order to do this, we have to manually initiate the full backup of the DB instance. Once the manual backup is generated, it is available to us, till we delete it manually.

All of this adds up in favour of Relational Database Service over the cloud.

6. Security

By using RDS, it is easy to control and monitor access to the database. In addition to this, we can run the DB instances in Virtual Private Cloud, also known as VPC. By using the encrypted VPN, we can isolate the database instances and then we can connect to these instances from the existing IT infrastructure. RDS also supports the use of Secure Socket Layer, also known as SSL, to secure the data transmission. This improves our overall security even more and offers more peace of mind.

7. Scalability

RDS is very interesting in the fact that it is scalable in couple of directions. These directions are:

  • Horizontal scale
  • Vertical scale

Horizontal scale

If we use my SQL and PostgreSQL database engines, then we can create one or more read replicas of the primary DB instance. This is done to offload the read traffic from the primary instance, thereby increasing the speed of the web application. The maximum number of instances that can be deployed at a certain time is 5.

Vertical scale

The storage capacity can be increased by modifying the allocated storage. The computing capacity can be increased or decreased by modifying the DB instance class.

Note: SQL server does not support the read replica and scaling up the storage capacity.

8. Ease of Administration

It is very easy to setup a Relational Database over the cloud. In addition to this, it is very easy and efficient to operate and scale the RDS as per our requirements. It is very easy to perform operation and management activities such as monitoring database health, makeup and recovery, migration connecting to the database instance. It is also very easy to view different operational metrics such as CPU usage, memory usage, input output activity, database connections, storage capacity utilisation and more.

9. Cost efficient

RDS is highly cost efficient and very light on the pocket as we just have to pay for the resources that we actually use. This is in high contrast to the other database services that demand a fixed price, regardless of whether the resources used or not. This leads to high saving and more profits for any individual or organisation who prefer to accept the RDS for any database needs over the cloud.

10. Reduces cost of operation and maintenance

RDS reduces the cost of operation and maintenance of databases and the complexity involved in doing so, which in other words means profit for us, as a customer. In this way we get to focus more on the application and business requirements rather than spending time and additional resources on Relational Database administration and management.

11. Wide areas of implementation

Relational Database Services can be used in many areas covering a broad spectrum, such as websites, portals, testing environments, enterprise application system, Internet of Things, Mobile applications and many others. We will cover the main areas below.

Practical uses of Relational Database Services

RDS can be used virtually anywhere. Some of the areas are as follows:

1. Websites

E-commerce portals, gaming portals, social platforms, enterprise portals, e-government portals, internet industry are some of the communities that could leverage the raw power of the RDS as it provides secure, high performance, easy to use, efficient and low-cost database services over the cloud.

2. Development and testing environment

Any company or developer that follows a good development strategy, always has at least a couple of instances for development purposes and testing of software. Typically, the first instance is a development instance wherein the development takes place. The second instance is a test instance which is used only for testing the code deployed from the dev environment. This helps in using the stable, reliable and on-demand specification RDS in performing a joint test. This removes the need to build the databases manually, and in turn saves much time and money. This also helps in focusing on the application development and cuts down the software launch time.

3. Enterprise application system

Software that are provided as a service or SaaS and Enterprise office applications can be migrated to the RDS. This reduces the maintenance work load and the IT construction cost as RDS manages the service data. It also helps to access the database services without any specialised knowledge in actual physical database design, thereby increasing the productivity of the employees.

4. Internet of things (IoT)

As RDS provides database storage read and write capabilities for the service in the cloud, this minimises the need to connect, monitor and manage the terminal things manually.

5. Mobile applications

RDS makes it possible for us to add and configure mobile application software on devices such as mobile phones and tablets. It also performs customer identity authentication as well as push and distribution and data storage activities.

Charges for RDS

The RBS charges are minimal due to the fact that, the actual charges are made only on the resources consumed. This means that the payment is made based on the storage used, the backup resources consumed and the computation power utilised in the process of using the RDS. This also depends upon the service provider that you plan to go with, so take your time to review the market standards at the time you wish to purchase RDS and take a call based on that.

Quota for RDS

When an RDS account is opted for, each account has its own limitations (as per the region), on the number of resources that can be created. Once the limit for a resource is hit, then additional calls for utilising the resource will fail with an exception.

There are different resources or parameters with their own limits in RDS. Some of them are instances, cores, memory, disk, disk capacity. This could vary from provider to provider. So, it is best to check for these parameters before you make a select your next RDS provider.

 

Differences between RDS and other types of Database solutions

FUNCTIONRDSDB SERVICE ON SELF MANAGED SERVER
Service availabilityHas different features such as Read-only instance and Stand Alone instance that offer maximum service.We assume the complete burden on this, the stand-by environment and setup of RAID.
Data reliabilityHas different features such as Read-only instance and Stand Alone instance that offer maximum service.We assume the complete burden on this, the stand-by environment and setup of RAID.
System securitySupports Anti-DDos; Helps to repair security flaws.Specific security solutions need to be installed; Repairing security faults could be expensive.
Database backupAutomatic backups available.Automatic backups may or may not be available. The existing backups need to be tested for integrity periodically.
Hardware and software

investment

No specific requirement on our end as everything is cloud based.For self-management, the DB server could be really high and must be paid in full.
System hosting costNot required.High
Maintenance costOperation and Management is not required.We need manpower for maintenance and this proves to be expensive.
Deployment and scalingFast deployment, scalable and on-demand provisioning available.The hardware should be purchased, equipment needs to be root hosted and machine deployment are very time consuming and required.
Resource utilizationWe pay for as much as we use and hence resource utilization is high.When resources are consumed to the peak, there are no additional resources causing the system to perform inefficiently.

Conclusion

In this article we have seen an introduction to Relational Database Service (RDS). Now we know what RDS is, the different reasons for opting to RDS and what it can do for us. We also reviewed the different features and specifications of a typical RDS. Hopefully this gives you enough information to think about opting for a Relational Database Service for your next project.

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