Overview

Amazon Web Services (AWS) managed database services enable dynamic scalability, faster processing of database operations, convenient visualization and tooling, higher availability and resiliency, and stronger security than typical self-hosted relational database systems. Normally, applications must account for these things explicitly rather than just getting them out-of-the-box as part of a provider’s platform offering. As an AWS Partner, JBS leverages managed databases to reduce costs and improve overall performance for our clients’ applications.

Amazon RDS

Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) provides a normal SQL environment for data processing and storage but removes many of the time-consuming administrative tasks typically associated with database management, such as “provisioning, patching, backup, recovery, failure detection, and repair.”1 This allows your development resources to spend more time developing your system and less time managing infrastructure.

Amazon Aurora

Amazon Aurora, a specialized proprietary database engine that is optimized to be compatible with open-source database systems such as PostgreSQL and MySQL, provides even more benefits over standard PostgreSQL and MySQL databases. It does this by, for example, increasing performance three and five times for PostgreSQL and MySQL, respectively. Typical Aurora deployments are more cost-effective as they are designed to “eliminate unnecessary IO operations in order to reduce costs and to ensure resources are available for serving read/write traffic.”2

Migration Options

Migrating to or from an Amazon managed database is as simple as using either pg_dump or mysqldump and either pg_restore or mysqlimport. This is a major advantage as it requires no new knowledge from your developers or database administrators to get started or move your data where you need it most. Additionally, it is possible to move from Amazon RDS to Aurora using the built-in database snapshot tooling, for times when you want to take advantage of the optimizations that Aurora makes over the standard PostgreSQL or MySQL database engines.

Automatic Backups

Amazon Aurora databases are automatically backed up and the process of taking a backup or snapshot does not affect system performance. The backups can be encrypted and shared as needed within the same AWS region. Data is duplicated six times across three availability zones, separately from any snapshots that may have been taken, which are stored in Amazon S3.

Availability

Amazon RDS can be set up to operate in multiple availability zones (AZ). It is simple and easy to set up a primary database and configures replicas across AZs, making the data availability concern a thing of the past.

Security

Amazon database instances are kept inside a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). This gives you control over who can access your data via the normal AWS access controls (Identity and Access Management - IAM) and lets you define your own network topology. Furthermore, data can be encrypted both in transit and at rest. Encryption keys are managed using Amazon’s Key Management Service (KMS).

Scalability

Amazon RDS instances can be scaled at the press of a button. There have various CPU and Memory configurations to choose from and auto-scaling is also supported, to scale your application to handle different loads at different times while keeping costs as low as possible.

Visualization

Amazon CloudWatch allows you to keep an eye on your RDS database load metrics, get alerts when things appear abnormal, and provide other monitoring tasks such as logging. You can build dashboards and add charts as necessary to give quick at-a-glance views of how your systems are operating. This can be invaluable, especially while performance tuning or diagnosing issues with your application system.

Conclusion

Migrating your database systems to AWS RDS and Aurora provides clear benefits in terms of reducing costs associated with your database systems while improving system availability, fault tolerance, and reliability. If you are interested in moving your application’s database infrastructure into the cloud to take advantage of the various benefits mentioned in this post, contact JBS today to get started.

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