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How Amazon RDS replication protects databases from failure

We choose Amazon RDS for its multitude of database engines and want to build a highly available system. What options does Amazon RDS have for database replication and DR protection?

Building and managing a highly available relational database system is not a trivial task. It involves the time-consuming...

tasks of building servers, installing software, configuring networking, enabling replication and dealing with manual failovers during system maintenance.

Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) allows developers to not only run common database server engines such as MySQL, MariaDB, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server and PostgreSQL, but also to easily deploy applications to multiple Availability Zones (AZs) through Amazon RDS replication.

With Amazon RDS Multi-AZ deployments, developers provision a database instance; behind the scenes, AWS configures a standby instance in another AZ that receives database updates from the primary server through synchronous replication. The RDS web-based console enables developers to create a new database instance, choose a database engine and select the option to enable Multi-AZ deployments.

AWS manages backup and patching with RDS and Multi-AZ deployments automatically failover database services to a standby instance during maintenance periods or when issues arise (e.g., availability zone outages, hardware failures, network disruption or storage issues).

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RDS database instances have a single DNS endpoint from which applications connect to the database server. Whether the RDS database instance is publicly available or private to the systems within an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, AWS updates the DNS record during the failover process. During failover, there's no need to modify clients and application servers that have been pointed to the RDS database instance; no manual intervention is required.

In addition to common database engine options, AWS also offers Amazon Aurora through RDS. Aurora is an SSD-backed database system that is highly scalable and durable. AWS handles automatic Amazon RDS replication of data six different ways across three AZs. It supports five times the throughput of MySQL and up to 64 TB of auto scaling storage. Aurora also enables IT teams to create Amazon RDS replication of a database in a secondary AZ to enable a Multi-AZ deployment. Based on those features, and the fact that it is a MySQL compatible database, Aurora is now the recommended database engine for running managed relation database services on AWS.

Next Steps

Evaluate your Amazon RDS engine options

Where to look when AWS databases aren't cutting it

Plot out a thorough DR strategy to mitigate outage damage

This was last published in September 2016

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