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How different is the Amazons RDS DB Instance different from The normal EC2 Instance other than the fact that RDS DB Instance has a Database server running on it?

When an EC2 Instance goes down all the data associated with it also vanishes(when you dont attach an EBS). Is this true for RDS DB Instance as well?

I have already set up my database server with the following: 1 small EC2 Instance(m1.small) with MySQL server installed and attached a 10GB EBS and routed the MySQL Data Directories to EBS.

Is the small Instance of RDS any Different from the above?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

What does it provide? Quite a lot, if you're not a DBA.

  1. Automated snapshots to the second for the previous five minutes (configurable up to 8 days)
  2. DB snapshots are automatically scheduled, managed, and stored
  3. HA without having to think about it? Sign me up!

As for your additional questions; the RDS DB is persistant, and it's equivalent to setting up an EC2 instance with an Elastic Block Storage (EBS) and storing your database files on it. So yes, you've got a semi-equivalent machine--albeit, you're now responsible for managing backups et al, and scalability will be an issue should you need more machines.

RDS is aimed primarily at people who want to use a database--but don't want to manage it. Perfectly agreeable, and friends and peers I've talked to about Amazon's services in general have smiled on RDS. It costs a bit more, but it also gives you more. You'll just have to weigh how much you like maintaining your database.

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Check out the excellent Top 10 Things to Know About Amazon RDS. The big ones:

  • Amazon RDS uses a patched version of MySQL 5.1.38
  • No direct access to your DB configuration file
  • You have to define a 4-hour weekly maintenance window (or Amazon will define it for you) within which the management system will roll out patches for MySQL, back up your data, and perform other such maintenance
  • Your entire database can be backed up in snapshots on demand
  • Replication is disabled/access to the binary log is disabled
  • Amazon does not grant SHUTDOWN, and SUPER privileges even to the master user of the DB

EDIT: Another excellent article, which only touches on RDS but has a number of AWS gotchas is AWS Tips I Wish I'd Known Before I Started:

Set up event subscriptions for failover.

If you're using a Multi-AZ setup, this is one of those things you might not think about which ends up being incredibly useful when you do need it.

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