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RDBMS and Amazon RDS: A closer look into the differences

Relational databases have played a long inning in the database landscape across a wide range of businesses for many sound reasons like ease of creation, performance reliability and data integrity. Despite the strong-points, one cannot ignore the emerging realities and challenges faced by it especially due to lack of flexibility to adapt to the changing requirements of data types and quantities especially the unstructured data which is found in big data applications. It is also not a good idea to expand traditional databases as the growth of the same comes at a heavy price. Thus a need for additional database management system came up.

Relational Database Management System

A relational database is the one in which the data items have pre-defined relationships among them.

  • All the items are arranged in tables with proper columns and rows. The tables are used for holding information about various objects which need to be put in the database.
  • Every column in the table has a particular kind of data and field which stores the particular value of the attribute.
  • All the rows in the table actually represent a system of related values depicting one object or an entity. Every row in the table is usually assigned a primary key while foreign keys often relate the rows in multiple tables.
  • All this data can be accessed in more than one way without the need to reorganize database tables. The domain of the possible values in a particular data column can be defined along with the constraints which may actually apply to that.
  • Data integrity, which involves the fundamental wholeness, accuracy, and even the reliability of data in RDBMA is done by making use of several constraints. These are the primary keys, Foreign Keys, ‘Not NULL’ constraint, ‘Unique’ constraint, ‘Default’ constraint, and even the ‘Check’ constraint. All these actually use the business rules on the data which is present inside the tables for ensuring both reliability and accuracy of the data. Some RDBMS also allows the custom code embedding in these triggers which can be executed based on an action in the database.
  • Transaction in RDBMS is a one or more SQL statement which is executed in sequence, ultimately resulting in one logical unit of work. The transactions provide for an all-or-nothing proposition, which means forming one single unit. All the transactions fall in line with the ACID, i.e. Atomic, Consistent, Isolated, and Durable.

Various examples of standard relational databases include Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle Database, etc while some of the cloud-based relational databases include Amazon RDS, Google Cloud SQL, etc.


The primary advantage of a relational database is that it allows its users to categorize and store data which can be later filtered for extraction of particular information for reports. They are not dependent on any kind of physical organization and hence are easy to extend. After the database has been created, a new data category can be added without modification of the existing ones. Other advantages include:

  • Accuracy: Data is stored only once, without the need for data duplication.
  • Flexibility: Complex queries are carried out easily.
  • Trust: They are easy and well-known.
  • Security: Limited and access are allowed only to a few users.
  • Collaboration: Can be accessed by multiple users.

Cloud Databases

Amazon RDS is a cloud database. Latter is basically a collection of informational content which can be either structured or unstructured and often rests on a private or a hybrid platform. Here only lies the primary difference between RDBMS and the Amazon RDS, although from a design and a structural perspective, they are nearly the same.

  • A cloud database as the name suggests resides on the servers, and the storage put up by the cloud or Database as a service (DBaaS) which can only be accessed via the internet. This is in complete contrast to the standard RDBMS where the database stands connected to the internal LAN of the organization.
  • There is not much difference in terms of the behavior of databases whether accessed through direct queries by SQL statements or API calls, although there can be minor differences in terms of response time. The on-premises database which can be accessed by LAN will have significantly faster response time as compared to a cloud-based database which needs internet round-trip for every interaction.  

Cloud databases are also broadly categorized into relational and non-relational. The former is based on a table model and written in SQL. Tables are arranged in columns and rows. The relationship between the above two is called the schema. Furthermore, the cloud databases are also divided into traditional and database as a service (DBaaS). While the traditional is run on the infrastructure of the IT department’s virtual machine, the DBaaS model is based on a fee-based subscription service in which the database is run on the physical infrastructure of the service provider.

Advantages of Cloud databases:

  • No Physical Infrastructure: As an organization, you are not required to have any physical infrastructure as it is handled by the providers of cloud services. Latter is responsible for all the storage, maintenance, and availability requirements. You are only left with the role of supporting and maintaining the contents of the database software.
  • Cost-Effective: Reduced expenditure on capital, less liability of staff, lesser operating costs, etc.
  • Also, other benefits include instant scalability, performance guarantees, expertise, failover support, etc.

Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS)

Amazon Relational Database Service is primarily a web-service which makes it easier for setting up, operating, and even scaling a database in the cloud. As a result, you have a cost-effective and industry-standard relational database with a resizable capacity, which also goes to handle all the database admin tasks.

  • Amazon RDS imbibes many tough management tasks of a relational database. In fact, with Amazon RDS, the bundling of CPU, memory, and even the storage is split, and all of these can be scaled accordingly. This allows for easy allocation of each of these when required.
  • It also efficiently allows management of backups, software patching, auto-detecting of failures, and even recovery.
  • The restore process is highly efficient and reliable. Automated backups can be done when needed.
  • In addition to the database security in your package, you can also control who can actually access the database by employing AWS Identity and Access Management for defining users and permissions.
  • It is built on a DB instance which is actually an isolated database environment in the cloud. It can be accessed by making use of the same tools which are used in a stand-alone database.  Amazon RDS supports MySQL, Maria DB, Oracle, PostgreSQL DB engines. Each of these is endowed with their own set of features and parameters that control the behavior of the databases which it manages.
  • The DB instance can also be run on a Virtual Private Cloud VPC service, which offers complete control over the virtual networking environment, although the basic functionality remains the same with no extra cost.
  • Amazon RDS provides for three types of storage: General Purpose SSD, Provisioned IOPS SSD, and finally, the magnetic.
  • Amazon Cloud Resources are widely available in different parts of the world with each data center location called a region. There are multiple and distinct locations known as the Availability Zones, and each AZ is so made to be completely isolated to failures in other AZs. Thus, you can easily run the DB instance in multiple AZs under the option called the Multi-AZ deployment.
  • Access to DB instance is given by various security controls like VPC security groups and EC2 security groups.
  • Health and performance of a DB instance can be tracked by free Amazon CloudWatch Service. Various performance charts are shown in the Amazon RDS Console.
  • You can interact with Amazon RDS by either AWS Management Console, Command Line Interface, or Programming.

Both the RDBMS and Amazon RDS have their own set of uses and benefits which cannot be ignored. Amazon RDS is based on cloud database technology, which makes it more forward-looking, especially as we look at big data in coming years. Organizations have to brace up for more data and maintain a balance between cost-cutting and innovation. JanBask Training has some amazing courses in line with the above, so you may sort out your interests and opt for the one which closely matches your dream. You may Get in Touch wit  h us for more information about the same. Also, you may refer to our website, for more insights.


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