AWS Cost Allocation

Guide to Optimize AWS RDS Costs and Performance

AWS relational database service (RDS) provides a platform to set up, operate, and scale relational databases in the cloud. AWS RDS is a robust and fully managed relational database service that can simplify database management tasks.  Monitoring and optimizing usage can help in significantly reducing RDS costs as well as AWS bill. This is because, typically AWS RDS is one of the top contributors to AWS costs for organizations across the world. In this article, we will look at various cost optimizations strategies to reduce RDS costs, while ensuring similar or better performance.

Implementing Autoscaling

Autoscaling feature in RDS helps in automatically upscaling resources during peak period and downscaling resources in non-peak period. Implementing autoscaling ensures that you pay only for resources that are being used at any point in time and avoid overprovisioning. This will help in reducing your overall RDS costs significantly.

Optimizing Database Storage

AWS RDS offers general SSD or IOPS based storage. IOPS is the right choice for applications that need high performance whereas general SSD is perfect for moderate performance requirements and non-critical applications. Choosing the right type of storage will help in avoiding cases where you are paying for IOPS-based storage but would need general storage for your workloads and vice versa. This will help you to avoid unnecessary costs.

Leveraging Read Replicas

AWS RDS offers features such as Read replicas, where you create copies of your primary database and use it later for batch processing activities such as reporting and periodic analysis. Using read replicas to offload traffic from your primary database can ensure you use RDS for real-time processing or ad hoc analysis. This can reduce your overall RDS utilization and provide you with downsizing opportunities to reduce costs.

Right-sizing RDS Instances

Selecting the appropriate instance type and storage configuration based your workload can avoid cases of overprovisioning and Under provisioning. While Under provisioning can cause performance bottlenecks which can be identified and fixed, overprovisioning often goes undetected and leads to bloated cloud bills. Using AWS CloudWatch to monitor instance usage metrics such as IOPS and CPU can help you identify opportunities for downsizing overutilized resources.  

Utilizing Reserved Instances

Reserved instances (RI) are a useful cost-saving option if you have predictable workloads. RIs provide a significant discount of up to 72% over on-demand instances but require a commitment to a specific instance type and usage term of 1-3 years.  

Minimizing Multi-AZ Deployments

RDS with multi-AZ (availability zone) deployments provide high availability and disaster recovery with automatic failover of database instances. This ensures minimal downtime as traffic gets routed to standby replica in a different AZ, if there is infrastructure failure or maintenance in AZ where primary instance is located.  

However, high availability increases the resources needed for database instances leading to significant cost increase. Consider your use cases and requirements carefully before deploying multi-AZ deployments for your RDS.


AWS RDS is a robust and adaptable cloud-based database solution that offers a broad range of features and advantages. However, it is imperative to optimize RDS usage to mitigate unnecessary costs. This is because AWS RDS is one of the five biggest contributors to cloud costs across organizations in the world.

Implementing the cost-saving measures outlined in this article has the potential to yield significant savings depending on your current usage patterns. However, the key lies in identifying specific business requirements and tailoring the approach accordingly.

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