10 best practices to reduce your AWS RDS costs

March 12, 2023
min. read
Tal Shladovsky
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RDS (Relational Database Service) is a cloud-based database service that's fully managed service, easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud. Like all consumable services, you can implement best practices to reduce your AWS RDS costs. Here are 10 way to reduce this cost, including using RIs, Spot instances, autoscaling and 7 more.

AWS RDS (Relational Database Service) is a cloud-based database service provided by Amazon Web Services. It is a fully managed service that makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud. However, as with any cloud-based service, it is important to optimize costs to get the most value for your money.   

Here are 10 ways to reduce your AWS RDS costs:

  1. Use RIs: Reserved Instances (RIs) are a way to commit to using a certain amount of RDS capacity for a certain period. This can lead to significant savings compared to on-demand pricing.
  1. Use Spot instances for RDS read replicas or to run other non-critical workloads: Spot instances are a way to take advantage of unused capacity in the AWS cloud and can lead to significant savings compared to on-demand pricing.
  1. Use autoscaling: AWS RDS allows you to scale your database instance up or down based on your workload. By using autoscaling, you can ensure that you are only paying for the resources you need at any given time. Read AWS’s blog on scaling RDS instances vertically and horizontally to learn more.  
  1. Ensure you are right-sizing your RDS instance types: Choosing the right instance type for your workload is critical to optimizing costs. If your instance is too large, you may be paying for resources you don't need. If it is too small, you may experience performance issues. You can read AWS docs and cost management articles to self educate on right-sizing.  
  1. Remove backup for non-critical RDS: If you don't need backup, you can save costs by removing it. However, if you do need backup, make sure to enable tag propagation to snapshots from the main RDS, as it's not enabled by default. Read more about RDS backup features and automated backups on AWS’s docs.  
  1. Use database storage optimization: You can optimize storage by archiving or deleting no longer needed data, and by using compression and encryption to reduce storage costs. AWS offers two storage types: Provisioned IOPS SSD and General Purpose SSD, which offer different performance and cost options. Choosing the right storage type for your workload can lead to significant savings.
  1. Remove enhanced monitoring and insights if you don't need them: Enhanced monitoring and insights are additional features that come at an extra cost. If you don't need them, removing them can help reduce costs.
  1. Periodically review and delete manual snapshots (or move encrypted snapshots to S3 bucket instead): Manual snapshots are a way to back up your database, but they can also take up a lot of storage and lead to increased costs. By periodically reviewing and deleting manual snapshots that are no longer needed, you can reduce costs.
  1. Stop RDS during off-work hours: If your database is not needed during off-work hours, you can stop it to reduce costs. However, make sure to have a plan for restarting it before it's needed again. You can use AWS Lambda functions to start and stop using these services, as well as an automated scheduler.  
  1. Use Multi-AZ only when necessary: Multi-AZ (Availability Zone) deployment provides high availability and automatic failover in case of a database instance failure. However, it also comes at an additional cost. If high availability is not critical for your workload, consider using a single AZ deployment to reduce costs.

By following these 10 tips, you can optimize your AWS RDS costs and get the most value for your money. Remember to regularly review your usage and adjust as needed to ensure that you always get the best possible value from your AWS RDS instances.

Liked this post?

Read Stav's (co-founder & CTO @Lightlytics) blog post on Democratizing cloud costs.

Read Tal's hands-on guide series on AWS cost reduction:

Read the 10 best practices to reduce AWS EC2 costs.

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