Expanding the Cloud – Provisioned IOPS for Amazon RDS

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Following the huge success of being able to provision a consistent, user-requested I/O rate for DynamoDB and Elastic Block Store (EBS), the AWS Database Services team has now released Provisioned IOPS, a new high performance storage option for the Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS). Customers can provision up to 10,000 IOPS (input/output operations per second) per database instance to help ensure that their databases can run the most stringent workloads with rock solid, consistent performance.

High Performance I/O

Amazon RDS Provisioned IOPS is intended for applications that need predictable performance and have database workloads that generate largely random I/O. Amazon RDS Provisioned IOPS is ideal for mission-critical online transaction processing (OLTP) workloads that require a high performance storage option with consistent IOPS, within a narrow band of tolerance.

As with all AWS services, if you are in doubt about whether your application can benefit from Provisioned IOPS, it is very easy to try it out and decide for yourself, as there are no upfront costs.

By the way, for mission critical OLTP workloads, you should also consider adding the Amazon RDS Multi-AZ option to improve availability.

Reducing Complexity

Being able to get consistent performance from the database tier has a huge impact on the application architecture. As engineers, we often introduce all sorts of constructs in our architectures (whether in the cloud or on-premise) to compensate for the cases when databases under load do not deliver the rock-solid performance we need to serve our customers.

With the ability to provision IOPS to deliver consistent performance from a database, customers should be able to significantly reduce the complexities in their application because the database is no longer the bottleneck in their architectures. As a consequence, these simpler architectures are more cost-effective and easier to make reliable because there are fewer moving parts. For example, with the consistency you can get with Amazon RDS Provisioned IOPS, you may be able to dial up your IOPS and consolidate some of the write shards or read replicas you may be using in your architecture today.

Last week I read a great example of the immediate impact that Provisioned IOPS for EBS had on a customer’s architecture. Parse, the very cool mobile development platform that runs on AWS, switched to using Provisioned I/O for EBS to run their databases. Within a week the latency for end-users was cut in half and there were no longer performance fluctuations in their architecture. In addition, the hoops they used to have to jump through to pre-warm their databases are no longer needed. The ability to provision I/O gave them better performance with less effort. Read more about on their blog.

Sang Chi of Flipboard reported that because of the high I/O performance and consistency they are seeing with Amazon RDS Provisioned IOPS, they expect to scale their database applications to tens of thousands of IOPS. These are great examples of how many of our AWS customers are successful in making their database achieve higher performance while having to do less work in managing their databases.

Provisioned IOPS storage in RDS

The Provisioned IOPS storage option for RDS will be rolled out in two phases. In the first phase, IOPS can be provisioned for use with new database instances in increments of 1,000 IOPS up to a maximum of 10,000 IOPS if you are using the MySQL or Oracle database engines. If you are using the SQL Server database engine, you can provision from 1,000 IOPS to 7,000 IOPS. With all databases engines you configure corresponding storage from 100GB to 1TB.

In the second phase, we plan to provide an automated mechanism through the AWS Console and the RDS APIs, that will allow you to migrate existing databases running on Standard RDS storage to Provisioned IOPS storage, if you are using the MySQL or Oracle database engines. If you want to migrate an existing RDS database instance to Provisioned IOPS storage immediately, you can export the data from your existing database instance and import into a new database instance equipped with Provisioned IOPS storage.

The performance you get out of your databases will depend on the type of database you are using and your workloads. The Amazon RDS Provisioned IOPS storage option is available for all engines supported by Amazon RDS: MySQL, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL Server.

Amazon RDS Provisioned IOPS is immediately available for new database instances in the US East (N. Virginia), US West (N. California) and EU West (Ireland) Regions. The team plans to launching in the other AWS Regions in the coming months.

If you want to learn more about Amazon RDS Provisioned IOPS storage for Amazon Relational Database Service visit the Amazon RDS detail page, the Amazon RDS User Guide and the Provisioned IOPS Technical FAQ.You can also learn how customers are already taking advantage of Amazon RDS Provisioned IOPS by reading the blog post on the AWS developer blog.