Key Strategies for AWS RDS Cost Reduction

Handoyo Sutanto
5 min
March 9th, 2023
Handoyo Sutanto
5 min
March 9th, 2023

Strategies to Reduce Your AWS RDS Costs

Amazon’s Relational Database Service (RDS) provides a specialized Database-as-a-Service platform that allows organizations to simplify database operations and maintenance. AWS RDS, and similar services from other providers, are widely used to streamline database management but can often have high costs if improperly managed.

Databases are a critical component of most modern organizations' IT infrastructure and create a large portion of IT costs, whether operating internal systems or public-facing applications. As a result, many enterprises look towards RDS to better manage costs.

However, RDS auto scaling, inefficient usage, and many other factors can make AWS RDS lead to unexpected IT costs. These unpredictable costs can affect the overall budget, growth, and scalability of both the application and the business.

Fortunately, you can employ key RDS cost optimization strategies to reap the benefits of the service without incurring unexpected and debilitating costs. Keep reading to learn how to make the most of your RDS budget — and how Lyrid might be a better alternative.

How Does AWS RDS Pricing Work?

Before we can dive into cutting RDS costs, we must first understand how the service’s pricing works. Your RDS price reflects several aspects of your usage and chosen plan. 

Some of the different pricing models and components from AWS that will impact your overall bill are:

RDS Free Tier

The free tier is intended to allow you to gauge your needs rather than provide an ongoing free service. The RDS free tier allows you to use 750 free hours of MariaDB, MySQL, and PostgreSQL databases in the Single-Availability Zone. You’ll also receive 20 GB of general-purpose storage with backups. 

Once you run more than one instance, Amazon will begin automatically billing your total usage across all instances. 

Database Engine

Amazon supports seven database engines to accommodate your needs. Amazon’s Aurora engine allows both on-demand and reserved instances while billing storage per GB/month increments and I/O usage per million requests. 

The remaining engines are billed similarly, with PostgreSQL incurring a 10% costlier hourly increase. In addition, Oracle and Microsoft engines incur licensing costs unless you bring your own. 

All available engines are:

  • Amazon Aurora (MySQL)
  • Amazon Aurora (PostgreSQL compatibility)
  • MariaDB
  • MySQL
  • PostgreSQL
  • Oracle
  • Microsoft SQL Server

Purchase Type

Your database instance type and size also impact your overall bill. Options such as vCPU, RAM, and network capacity all affect the final cost. Additionally, two overall instance types significantly impact your bill:

On-Demand Instance: This type of instance bills by the hour and is the default billing option. On-demand instances don’t require upfront payments or long-term commitments. If you use less than an hour, AWS bills one-second increments with a 10-minute minimum. Billing begins when an instance starts and ends when it stops.

Reserved Instance: This instance type allows you to reserve and commit to an instance for one to three years. Three payment options are available:

  • No upfront ($0 upfront, 29% savings off On-Demand).
  • Partial upfront (pay up to 99% upfront, 33% savings on one year plan, and 52% for three years).
  • All-upfront (full payment upfront, up to 34% savings in one year or 53% for three years).

Database Region

Your selected region may incur additional costs. You’ll always need to choose an Availability Zone (AZ), and you may select multiple zones. However, be aware that RDS will default to ‘Multi-AZ,’ which is a geo-redundancy option, so you don’t need to buy multiple zones for this purpose. 

Other Add-Ons and Attributes

There are a few other options that will also impact your bill. These options are:

  • Storage type: General Purpose SSD, Provisioned IOPS SSD, or magnetic.
  • Backup: Begins at $0.095 per GB/month
  • Snapshot export: Begins at $0.01 per GB
  • Data transfer: Only applies from RDS to the internet, with specific tiers based on usage and AZs

Be Aware of These Common AWS RDS Cost Traps

You can likely already see how it’s easy for an organization to end up paying more for AWS RDS than they actually need. The pricing structure is complex, with plenty of moving pieces, most of which will impact your bill.

Let’s explore some of the most common cost traps associated with AWS RDS, including: 

  • Underutilization of resources: Depending on how you’ve set up your RDS plan, you may be paying for resources you don’t need. Alternatively, you may be ineffectively using your resources, consuming more than you might need. Misunderstanding your plan during setup or inefficient usage can significantly increase your costs.
  • Unnecessary data transfer: Data transfer incurs a base charge that can increase between regions and AZs. Inefficient data transfer can be challenging to catch and correct, but avoiding unnecessary fees is worth the effort.
  • Lack of cost optimization strategies: RDS requires a strong understanding of database configuration and optimization understanding. On top of using the platform itself, specialized training in database creation and usage is necessary to maximize costs. For example, configuring the DB to minimize calls while providing the same utility translates to notable savings with RDS.
  • Backup storage costs: Backups carry separate costs regardless of how your plan is configured. Ensure you’re only backing up necessary data and removing outdated backups. When on a free plan, backup storage can push you into a paid plan if not managed.
  • Instance costs: Both types of instances can be costly, especially if a high-memory or high-performance instance is required. Then, depending on whether you choose on-demand or reserved, you can pay significantly more than you initially expect based on usage.
  • Multi-AZ deployments: Deploying in multiple Availability Zones (AZ) is a default feature called ‘Multi-AZ.’ This feature allows you to improve geo-redundancy and service availability but will increase costs. Leaving this feature on will dramatically increase costs, and they may not be worth it, depending on your usage.
  • Licensing costs: Some RDS engines, like Oracle or SQL Server, require users to bring their own license or purchase one from Amazon. These licenses can significantly increase RDS costs, making it well worth considering if you can use an open-source engine.
  • Aurora Serverless and Aurora Global Database costs: These advanced RDS versions provide specialized benefits but at higher costs. You should only use either service option if you have a specific need — otherwise, you’ll spend more than necessary.

Top Recommendations for AWS RDS Cost Optimization

So how can you avoid the traps we explored above? Enacting the right strategies helps you use RDS without paying more than you need. RDS aims to cut overall IT costs, and you can achieve that with these recommendations.

Some of the top strategies for RDS cost optimization are:

Right-Sizing Resources

Right-sizing your instances means turning off and eliminating anything you’re not using. 

Your monthly bill includes all of your instances, related storage, and associated infrastructure. You can investigate each instance's utilization and connections through the RDS control panel. For example, you can stop an instance entirely, and you won’t be billed for usage hours, only storage. 

Right-sizing may include downgrading your plan to a less powerful machine that meets your requirements. Depending on your needs, you can also consolidate multiple instances to minimize costs. Regularly explore any opportunities to adjust your plan to accommodate only what you use and nothing more.

Monitoring and Optimizing Data Transfer

Importing data to RDS from the Internet is free, but all other transfers incur costs. Depending on all several factors, your costs can range from $0.09 to $0.13 cents per GB. Transferring data between instances, zones, or delivering to external users significantly impacts your monthly bill. 

Adopt the right tools and processes to stay aware of your RDS data transfer usage. Frequently review your usage to identify anything that’s unnecessary or could be minimized. The goal is to provide the services you require without any data transfer that doesn’t serve an essential purpose.

Implementing Other Cost Optimization Techniques

Many other best practices to reduce your RDS costs are worth considering. Depending on your specific needs, many of the following techniques can help you optimize your RDS budget:

  • Change your DB engine: Migrating to another engine might be a time-intensive process, but it may significantly cut costs in the long term. For example, Oracle and SQL Server incur licensing fees that can significantly increase your overall costs. Additionally, PostgreSQL instances are 10% more expensive per hour. Explore opportunities to use other available engines to eliminate licensing or additional usage fees.
  • Use Reserved instead of On-Demand instances: Reserved instances provide more significant discounts based on how much you pay upfront. However, you must commit to one to three years, even if you pay nothing upfront. On-Demand instances have no commitment, and you pay more for that flexibility. If you’ll be using RDS for at least one year, it’s worth considering Reserved instances.
  • Disable Multi-AZ: Some organizations will significantly benefit from Multi-AZ, which automatically creates instances in other Availability Zones. However, many won’t need this capability but might be paying for it. Evaluate your needs and immediately optimize costs by turning off this feature.
  • Database hygiene: Even beyond RDS, database hygiene is necessary for applications and systems to continue operating efficiently. Correct indexing improves I/O performance and allows your instance size to remain small.
  • Remove old snapshots: You’re paying for snapshot storage — do you need them? Review older snapshots and remove the outdated ones that aren’t providing any foreseeable benefit.

Explore how you can use these techniques to cut costs, improving your application's and business's scalability.

An Alternative Solution: Deploying Databases in a Kubernetes Cluster with Lyrid

Everything we’ve discussed so far allows you to stay with RDS and get the most out of every dollar spent. However, RDS isn’t the only solution for deploying scalable databases.

Lyrid is a cost-effectively alternative that sidesteps the high costs associated with RDS. Our platform leverages Kubernetes clusters to provide microservices that allow for scalability and precise relational databases.

Read on to learn how Lyrid gives you the same core functionality as AWS RDS without the high, unpredictable costs.

How Does Lyrid’s Kubernetes Replace RDS?

Kubernetes is a container orchestration system that provides precise scalability by creating or destroying individual containers as necessary. As a result, data centers and enterprises are using Kubernetes to cut costs while improving their applications' and businesses' flexibility and scalability. 

Lyrid’s Kubernetes automates database deployment, scaling, and management in a Kubernetes cluster. In addition, each cluster only exists for as long as needed, removing the possibility of paying for something unused.

Ultimately, our platform gives you more flexibility and scalability at a predictable monthly rate. We don’t charge you for the following:

  • Data transfer
  • Backup storage
  • Licensing
  • Database engines
  • Snapshots
  • Regions
  • And other advanced RDS features 

Benefits of Choosing Lyrid

You don’t need to be stuck with RDS to have scalable and reliable databases. Lyrid lets you have the same benefits without a bill that may suddenly greatly exceed your expectations. 

Our implementation of Kubernetes gives you powerful benefits that enable growth, such as:

  • Cost-savings with a predictable monthly bill
  • Scalability without disproportionately increasing expenses
  • Reliability due to Kubernetes' ability to create new clusters if one fails
  • Cloud agnosticism so you can use our platform wherever you need it
  • Geo-redundancy to accommodate your offices and users worldwide

Lyrid’s specialized platform achieves these benefits by democratizing the cloud by connecting regional data centers to enterprises. Our platform gives data centers the tools to utilize their infrastructure better while giving enterprises an easy-to-use Kubernetes platform to manage everything they need.

Partner with Lyrid for Cost-Effective Relational Databases

AWS RDS provides a service many organizations will benefit from, but it can backfire, resulting in much higher costs than expected. Properly configuring, monitoring, and optimizing services is vital to truly benefit from RDS.

Fortunately, Lyrid provides a cost-effective and scalable alternative to AWS RDS that gives you more control and flexibility at a more predictable cost. Our automated Kubernetes platform costs a consistent monthly rate — instead of an unpredictable and potentially high-cost bill.

Additionally, Lyrid can make AWS RDS migration a seamless process so you can start spending less and scaling more. Ready to get started? Contact us today to speak to a Kubernetes expert to learn more.

Schedule a demo

Let's discuss your project

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

99 South Almaden Blvd. Suite 600
San Jose, CA

Jl. Pluit Indah 168B-G, Pluit Penjaringan,
Jakarta Utara, DKI Jakarta