Databases are the fulcrum of applications and a crucial part of business infrastructure. Database administrators (DBAs) across organizations are thriving to maintain optimal performance and avoiding application downtime. They are hurdled with numerous challenges that include high workloads and database complexity as the IT landscape moves toward an application-centric approach. Moreover, with the introduction of multiple database platforms, data management has become imperative not only on-premises, but also on cloud. To overcome these challenges, in a toss-up between Amazon Aurora vs RDS, DBAs can choose one of these two in order to meet their business requirements.

Database-as-a-service (DBaaS) comes as a boon for individuals and organizations as they are given an opportunity to leverage databases without configuring physical infrastructure and installing any software. In constant efforts to reduce the operational costs, organizations have turned to DBaaS to replace data storage. With Amazon offering both Aurora and RDS platforms, organizations find themselves in a soup while choosing between one of the two platforms. There are many factors to be considered before making this crucial decision. In this blog, we list out the key differences between Aurora vs RDS, while addressing their limitations as well.

Amazon Aurora

Aurora is a database engine that is designed to deliver the speed and reliability of high-end commercial databases in a simple and cost-effective fashion. It is compatible with MySQL and PostgreSQL, but uses an innovative database engine behind the scenes. Giving 5 times the throughput of MySQL running on similar hardware, DBAs save time while planning backup storage disks as it continuously backs data to S3 in real-time. Aurora also negates the need for automated backup scripts and windows.

Amazon RDS

RDS stands for Relational Database Service. Amazon RDS makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in cloud. It performs database administrative tasks, while providing a resizable and cost-efficient capacity to focus on your business and applications. Amazon Aurora, MariaDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, and Oracle are the 6 database engines you can choose from.


Aurora vs RDS

RDS is a hosted database with 6 relational database systems to choose from. Although there are performance benefits associated with RDS, Aurora comes with its own advantages. Here are 5 key features to compare Aurora and RDS.

1. Performance

As mentioned earlier, DBAs are under constant pressure to maintain optimal performance and reduce application downtime. Amazon Aurora gives twice the throughput provided by PostgreSQL or 5 times the throughput provided by standard MySQL running on similar hardware.

RDS, on the other hand, uses SSDs in its database services for better throughput. With Amazon RDS, you can either choose between an SSD-backed storage option that is optimized for high-performance OLTP applications or the one for cost-effective general purpose use.

2. Compatibility with Database Engines

Databases are used to collate data from various sources for the analysts to get a holistic view of an organization’s progress. With different types of databases available, organizations need to be wary of which databases are compatible with Aurora and RDS.

When migrating your on-premise databases to the cloud or from RDS to Aurora, you should meet your SLAs.

As mentioned earlier, Aurora is compatible with PostgreSQL and MySQL. Being compatible with PostgreSQL 9.6.1 and MySQL 5.6 means you can run your existing database tools and applications on Aurora without any modifications.

Amazon RDS, on the other hand, requires you to use AWS Database Migration Service to migrate from on-premise to PostgreSQL and MySQL servers.

3. Storage Auto-Scaling

One of the main reasons why cloud storage is a great success is because of the ease of auto-scaling. Auto-scale lets your scalability of your organization be flexible. Cloud helps you save a lot of resources and time with the addition of the auto-scaling feature.

Aurora’s storage is expandable from a minimum of 10 GB to a maximum of 64 TB based on your database usage. This is done in increments of 10 GB in order to not impact your database performance. Aurora can only support the InnoDB storage engine, and it automatically converts tables into InnoDB.

RDS requires DBAs to provision even up to 6 TB of storage on-the-go with no downtime.

4. Scalability

Both Amazon Aurora and RDS allow you to scale the memory and compute resources up and down, to a maximum of 244 GiB of RAM and 32 vCPUs. Scaling operations can be done within a few clicks.

5. Replication

Aurora supports 2 replica types – both sharing a similar underlying volume with the primary instance. Aurora allows you to provision up to 15 replicas, and the replication is done in milliseconds. Failover is done automatically to prevent data loss.

RDS only allows 5 replicas, and the process of replication is slower compared to Aurora. Failover is done manually, which could lead to data loss.

As far as managed database services are concerned, Aurora is the best way to go forward for any organization. Aurora RDS is better than RDS MySQL in most cases, and is highly recommended for transaction processing systems.


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Sreyesh Sarma
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