When we create a RDS instance, we are asked whether it is intended for a production environment or not.

We can't figure out what is the real difference between those.
It looks like "dev/test" doesn't allow for IOPS provisionning and multi-AZ deployment, which is probably something useful... when you run seriously sized apps.
Also, prod isn't eligible for free tier... not the kind of limitation which prevents you from using a "dev" instance for production.

What about simple small websites, like our intranet, or some humble customer's online shop ? Is there any disadvantage in using a "dev/test" instance for small production environments ?

Except for IOPS & multi-AZ availability, is there any restriction in functionnalities ?


There is no persistent difference between choosing the Development and Production options in the new RDS instance wizard. Selecting the options simply chooses different defaults on the following pages:


  • Instance Class: db.m3.xlarge
  • Multi-AZ: Yes
  • Storage Type: SSD
  • Allocated Storage: 100 GB


  • Instance Class: None selected
  • Multi-AZ: None selected
  • Storage Type: None selected
  • Allocated Storage: 5 GB

If you selected "Development" in the first page, then change the default options to the "Production" options, then you have a "Production" server.

If you selected "Production" in the first page, then change the default options, you can run under the free tier.


The prod option says "Use Multi-AZ Deployment and Provisioned IOPS Storage as defaults for high availability and fast, consistent performance." Test says "This instance is intended for use outside of production or under the RDS Free Usage Tier.".

There's no documentation I could find on this. Either option lets you use provisioned IOPS or standard SSD storage. I suspect the only difference is prod isn't eligible for free tier.

Someone else may know more than me though.

  • Forgot to mention those, since we couldn't care less about... but thanks for the reminder. I added those details to the question. – Balmipour Jul 31 '16 at 8:21
  • I happen to be at an AWS seminar tomorrow, with some super knowledgeable people including AWS staff, I'll ask if I remember. I suspect your multi-AZ limit and the free tier limit is it. You can do provisioned IOPS in the dev/test RDS databases. – Tim Jul 31 '16 at 8:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.