Take your pick from a variety of AWS databases

Choose Carefully

Installing Databases on EC2

In addition to the featured AWS services that provide different types of databases, you still have the option of installing a database on EC2 yourself, giving you greater freedom in terms of products, installation, and maintenance processes. To do this, you can run the installation on the basis of an existing Amazon Machine Image (AMI) and import existing virtual machine images into the account.

The account holder has responsibility for the required licenses in a DIY database installation. EC2 provides two options – dedicated hosts and dedicated instances – for using dedicated hardware and optimizing license costs (e.g., through the use of MSDN licenses or licensing of physical cores).

Finally, the AWS Marketplace Databases & Caching category offers more than 200 listed products that are available as preinstalled versions. The offers in the Marketplace are either AMIs that launch with an EC2 instance or groups of resources that are created from a template. Depending on the offer, the license costs are billed along with the infrastructure costs, or the user contributes the licenses via a BYOL model.


Although RDS offers a wide range of relational databases, Amazon DynamoDB gives you unlimited scalability in the NoSQL field. Amazon Redshift is the drug of choice for massively parallel analyses of petabyte data volumes. Not least, EC2 provides the freedom to install and operate almost any other database yourself. When making a choice, priority should be given to managed options that scale well with the amount of data, number of users, and test environments. Additionally, these services allow a fast start and provide early feedback on a solution. As part of the free tier for AWS [6], interested parties can try out Amazon RDS, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Redshift, and other services and gain practical experience.

The Author

Steffen Grunwald is a solutions architect at Amazon Web Services Germany GmbH.

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