Amazon RDS is Pretty Cool!

July 05 2011

I was playing around with Amazon RDS today. It’s a web service that makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud. In other words, Amazon manages MySQL on the server level and you can connect to it via your application or a MySQL command line. You are also able to perform various database administration tasks via an Amazon API or using something like a RightScale management platform.

Here are some of the cool things Amazon lets you do via a single API call:

  • Create a new MySQL instance and specify such parameters as: instance size, storage volume size, admin user/password, Availability Zone, and many others
  • Deploy a MySQL instance into two Availability Zones which essentially gives you two servers in different data centers that are kept in sync. If one of them fails, automatic failover is performed.
  • Vertical scaling of instances with no downtime (cpu, ram, storage).
  • Automatic and configurable database snapshots and point-in-time recovery (you can start up a new MySQL instance from a backup in minutes).
  • Replication slaves can be created from a master and be used as read-only slaves.
  • Options typically set in my.cnf are configurable using “Parameter Groups.”
  • Configure access to MySQL instances via “Security Groups.”
  • Monitor MySQL logs and events via “RDS Events.”

The coolest thing is how fast all these operations can be done. Most of them take only five to ten minutes. Creating a MySQL slave in five minutes or scaling a server vertically with no downtime? You can’t beat that! Amazon automated all the fancy footwork that is required to perform these operations. I have not done any benchmarking yet, but this is coming next!

More info about Amazon RDS can be found in the Amazon Relational Database Service User Guide

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