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AWS RDS is a fully managed relational database service that automates time-consuming administrative tasks such as hardware provisioning, database setup, patching, and backups while providing cost-efficient and resizable capacity. It allows businesses to focus on their application and business logic, leaving the heavy lifting to AWS.

Understanding the nuances of AWS RDS pricing is crucial for businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re a startup on a tight budget or a large enterprise handling vast quantities of data, grasping RDS pricing can help you better predict and control your costs. AWS RDS offers several pricing models that vary based on instance types, deployment, region, and usage, each with its own unique advantages.

In this article, we’ll explore what AWS RDS is, its benefits, and delve into the key factors affecting its pricing. We’ll also examine different pricing models for AWS RDS instances and deployments.

What is AWS RDS?

The AWS Relational Database Service (AWS RDS) is a game-changer in the realm of cloud-based database management services. This fully managed service by Amazon Web Services eliminates the complexities often associated with setting up, operating, and scaling relational databases.

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With a broad spectrum of database engines at your disposal, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, MariaDB, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and Amazon’s proprietary Aurora, AWS RDS is a versatile solution, tailored to accommodate diverse organizational needs.

AWS RDS: The Better Alternative

When it comes to cloud-based database services, AWS RDS is often the preferred choice over traditional on-premise databases or even self-managed cloud databases. The reasons are manifold:

  • Data Storage Management: With AWS RDS, you no longer need to forecast and provision storage capacity. It scales automatically with your usage, ensuring your database has the room it needs to grow.
  • Automated Backups: AWS RDS provides automatic backups of your database, safeguarding your vital data. It maintains backup storage for each database instance, giving you peace of mind.
  • Software Patching: Keeping a database engine up-to-date can be a daunting task. AWS RDS handles this by automatically patching the database engine to the latest version during defined maintenance windows.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: AWS RDS operates on a pay-as-you-go model, meaning you only pay for the resources you consume. This avoids the hefty upfront investment typically associated with on-premise solutions.
  • Compatibility: AWS RDS supports a broad range of applications, from simple web and mobile applications to high-performance and high-availability business applications.

Understanding AWS RDS pricing is crucial to making informed decisions about your database management. In the sections to follow, we’ll explore the cost factors of AWS RDS to further illuminate how it can be a cost-effective solution for your database requirements.

Factors Influencing AWS RDS Pricing

In our exploration of AWS RDS, understanding the factors that influence its pricing is of the utmost importance. Primarily, two key elements play a significant role in determining the total cost – data transfer and storage.

Data Transfer

Data transfer costs with AWS RDS can be complex as they depend on various scenarios. These involve data transfers within the same Availability Zone, across different Availability Zones, between AWS RDS and Amazon EC2 instances, and more. Let’s delve into some specifics.

Within Availability Zone

Data transferred between AWS RDS and Amazon EC2 instances in the same Availability Zone is free of charge, as is data transferred between Availability Zones for the replication of Multi-AZ deployments. This provides significant cost savings for businesses that deploy their applications within the same Availability Zone.

Across Availability Zones

Data transfer scenarios involving different Availability Zones within the same region can be a bit trickier. If an Amazon RDS DB instance outside a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) interacts with an EC2 instance in a different Availability Zone, the data transfer charge is waived for traffic in or out of the RDS DB instance, but standard EC2 Regional Data Transfer charges apply ($.01 per GB in/out).

On the other hand, for Amazon RDS DB instances inside a VPC, EC2 Regional Data Transfer charges apply on both sides of the transfer if the data is moved between an EC2 instance and an RDS DB instance in different Availability Zones.

Cross-Region Transfers

Cross-region data transfers, such as DB snapshot copies or automated backups across regions, incur charges for the data transferred to copy the snapshot data and DB transaction logs across regions.

Free Tier and Other Services

As part of AWS Free Tier, customers receive 100 GB of free data transfer out to the internet each month. Additionally, rate tiers take into account your aggregate data transfer out usage across various AWS services, providing more flexibility with data transfer costs.

AWS RDS Data Transfer Pricing

In terms of specific RDS data transfer pricing, AWS charges based on the amount of data transferred in and out of AWS RDS.

Data Transfer in to RDS:

IN to Amazon RDS Pricing
Up to 1 GB / Month $0.00 per GB
Next 9.999 TB / Month $0.108 per GB
Next 40 TB / Month $0.102 per GB
Next 100 TB / Month $0.084 per GB
>150 TB / Month $0.06 per GB

Data Transfer out of RDS:

OUT of Amazon RDS Pricing
Amazon Cloudfront $0.00 per GB
USA Region (not Ohio) $0.02 per GB
USA Ohio Region $0.01 per GB
Non-US Region $0.02 per GB


Storage is another significant factor influencing the total cost of AWS RDS. AWS RDS supports three different storage options – Magnetic Storage, General Purpose (SSD) Storage, and Provisioned IOPS Storage. Each caters to specific needs and carries different cost implications.

Magnetic Storage

This is a legacy storage type that’s no longer actively used. Though available for backward compatibility, its limitations like poor scalability, size restrictions, and sub-optimal performance make it a less popular choice today.

General Purpose (SSD) Storage

This is the default storage type on SSD and a cost-effective storage solution. Typically used for development or testing workloads, General Purpose Storage allows for sizes between 20 GiB – 64 TiB (based on the engine). It comes in two versions: gp2 (standard performance) and gp3 (better performance), costing $0.115 per GB.

General Purpose (gp2) Storage Pricing

DB Engine RDS Storage Size Range of Baseline IOPS Range of Baseline Throughput Burst IOPS
MariaDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL 20 – 399 GiB 100-1197 IOPS 128-250 MiB/s 3,000
MariaDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL 400 – 1,335 GiB 1,200-4,005 IOPS 500-1,000 MiB/s 12,000
MariaDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL 1,336 – 3,999 GiB 4,008-11,997 IOPS 1,000 MiB/s 12,000
MariaDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL 4,000 – 65,536 GiB 12,000-64,000 IOPS 1,000 MiB/s N/A*
Oracle 20 – 199 GiB 100-597 IOPS 128-250 MiB/s 3,000
Oracle 200 – 1,335 GiB 600-4,005 IOPS 500-1,000 MiB/s 12,000
Oracle 1,336 – 3,999 GiB 4,008-11,997 IOPS 1,000 MiB/s N/A*

General Purpose (gp3) Storage

DB Engine Storage Size Baseline Storage Performance Range of Provisioned IOPS Range of Provisioned Storage Throughput
MariaDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL Less than 400 GiB 3,000 IOPS/125 MiB/s N/A N/A
MariaDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL 400 GiB and higher 12,000 IOPS/500 MiB/s 12,000–64,000 IOPS 500–4,000 MiB/s
Oracle Less than 200 GiB 3,000 IOPS/125 MiB/s N/A N/A
Oracle 200 GiB and higher 12,000 IOPS/500 MiB/s 12,000–64,000 IOPS 500–4,000 MiB/s

Provisioned IOPS Storage

For high-performing applications, Provisioned IOPS (input/output operations per second) storage is recommended. This storage type provides fast responses and consistent throughput, albeit at a higher cost. The cost for this type of storage involves both storage capacity and IOPS, leading to costs for 50 GB storage and 1,000 IOPS at $6.25 (for storage) and $100.00 (for IOPS).

Database Engine Range of Storage Size Range of Provisioned IOPS Maximum Throughput
MariaDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL 100 – 399 GiB 1,000–19,950 IOPS 500 MiB/s
MariaDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL 400 – 65,536 GiB 1,000–256,000 IOPS 4,000 MiB/s
Oracle 100 – 199 GiB 1,000–9,950 IOPS 500 MiB/s
Oracle 200 – 65,536 GiB 1,000–256,000 IOPS 4,000 MiB/s

Understanding these factors – data transfer and cloud storage – is crucial to effectively estimate and manage your AWS RDS costs. Stay tuned as we dive into the specifics of AWS RDS instance pricing in the next section.

AWS RDS Database Engines Pricing

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Amazon RDS for MySQL Pricing

MySQL is an open-source relational database management system known for its speed and reliability. AWS RDS makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale MySQL deployments in the cloud. With Amazon RDS, you can deploy multiple editions of MySQL in minutes with cost-efficient and resizable hardware capacity. They offer a range of instances tailored to fit your needs for both compute capacity and storage.

Instance Type vCPUs Memory Storage Monthly Price
db.t2.micro 1 1 GB 20 GB $5.00
db.t2.small 2 2 GB 50 GB $10.00
db.t2.medium 4 4 GB 100 GB $20.00
db.t2.large 8 8 GB 200 GB $40.00
db.t2.xlarge 16 16 GB 400 GB $80.00

Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL Pricing

PostgreSQL is a powerful, open-source object-relational database system with an emphasis on extensibility and standards compliance. Amazon RDS makes it easy to use PostgreSQL, providing the performance you need with the convenience of AWS. It manages time-consuming database administration tasks, freeing you to focus on your applications and business.

Instance Type vCPUs Memory Storage Monthly Price
db.t2.micro 1 1 GB 20 GB $5.00
db.t2.small 2 2 GB 50 GB $10.00
db.t2.medium 4 4 GB 100 GB $20.00
db.t2.large 8 8 GB 200 GB $40.00
db.t2.xlarge 16 16 GB 400 GB $80.00

Amazon RDS for Oracle Pricing

Amazon RDS for Oracle makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale Oracle Database deployments in the cloud. It provides cost-efficient and resizable capacity while automating time-consuming administration tasks such as hardware provisioning, database setup, patching, and backups. It frees you to focus on your applications so you can give them the fast performance, high availability, security, and compatibility they need.

Instance Type vCPUs Memory Storage Monthly Price
db.t2.micro 1 1 GB 20 GB $5.00
db.t2.small 2 2 GB 50 GB $10.00
db.t2.medium 4 4 GB 100 GB $20.00
db.t2.large 8 8 GB 200 GB $40.00
db.t2.xlarge 16 16 GB 400 GB $80.00

Amazon RDS for SQL Server Pricing

Amazon RDS for SQL Server makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale SQL Server deployments in the cloud. With Amazon RDS, you can deploy multiple editions of SQL Server in minutes with cost-efficient and resizable capacity. Amazon RDS frees you to focus on application development by managing time-consuming database administration tasks including backups, software patching, monitoring, scaling, and replication.

Instance Type vCPUs Memory Storage Monthly Price
db.t2.micro 1 1 GB 20 GB $5.00
db.t2.small 2 2 GB 50 GB $10.00
db.t2.medium 4 4 GB 100 GB $20.00
db.t2.large 8 8 GB 200 GB $40.00
db.t2.xlarge 16 16 GB 400 GB $80.00

AWS RDS Instances Type and Pricing

AWS RDS supports various database instance types. A comprehensive summary of the various database instances and its pricing are given below:

Amazon RDS Free Tier

The Amazon RDS Free Tier is designed to help new AWS customers get started with a managed database service in the cloud for free. You can use this service to develop new applications, test existing applications, or gain hands-on experience with Amazon RDS.

This offering includes:

  • 750 hours of Amazon RDS Single-AZ db.t2.micro, db.t3.micro, and db.t4g.micro Instance usage running MySQL, MariaDB, and PostgreSQL databases each month.
  • 750 hours of Amazon RDS Single-AZ db.t2.micro Instance usage running SQL Server (running SQL Server Express Edition) each month.
  • 20 GB of General Purpose (SSD) DB Storage
  • 20 GB of backup storage for your automated database backups and any user-initiated DB Snapshots.

Note that backup storage is free up to 20 GB or the size of your DB storage, whichever is less. If you exceed these limits, or if you terminate all DB instances in your account, backup storage will be charged at standard RDS rates.

The AWS Free Tier is available to you for 12 months starting with the date on which you create your AWS account. When your free usage expires or if your application use exceeds the free usage tiers, you simply pay standard, pay-as-you-go service rates.

Amazon RDS On-Demand DB Instances

Amazon RDS on-demand DB instances are billed based on the class of the DB instance. Billing starts as soon as the DB instance is available and is calculated down to the second, with a minimum of 10 minutes for billable configuration changes. Billing continues until the DB instance terminates, which occurs when you delete the DB instance or if the DB instance fails. If you wish to stop billing for your DB instance, you must stop or delete it to avoid being billed for additional DB instance hours.

Amazon RDS Reserved DB Instances

Reserved DB instances allow you to reserve a DB instance for a one- or three-year term, and in turn, you get a significant discount compared to on-demand DB instance pricing. These are not physical instances, but rather a billing discount applied to the use of certain on-demand DB instances in your account.

When you purchase a reserved DB instance, you commit to getting a discounted rate on a specific DB instance type for the duration of the reservation. The DB instance you create must match the specifications of the reserved DB instance to be billed at the discounted rate; otherwise, it is billed at an on-demand rate. You can modify a DB instance using a reserved DB instance, and if the modification is within the specifications, part or all of the discount still applies.

Amazon RDS Reserved Instances provide three payment options: No Upfront, Partial Upfront, All Upfront, allowing you to balance the amount you pay upfront with your effective hourly price.

Please note that Reserved Instance prices do not cover storage or I/O costs. For more information on features, payment options, and rules, you can visit the AWS Reserved Instances page.

Reserved VS On-Demand Instance Pricing Comparison

Month: 1 $895 $495 $80 $125
Month: 2 $895 $533 $160 $250
Month: 3 $895 $571 $240 $374
Month: 4 $895 $609 $320 $499
Month: 5 $895 $648 $400 $624
Month: 6 $895 $686 $480 $749
Month: 7 $895 $724 $560 $874
Month: 8 $895 $762 $639 $999
Month: 9 $895 $800 $719 $1123
Month: 10 $895 $838 $799 $1248
Month: 11 $895 $876 $879 $1373
Month: 12 $895 $914 $959 $1498

1-Year Pricing Summary

Total cost ($) $895 $914.27 $959.22 $1,497.96
Savings vs. On-Demand ($) $602.96 $583.69 $538.74 $0
Savings vs. On-Demand (%) 40.25% 38.97% 35.96% 0%

Please note that these prices are estimated based on the data provided, AWS prices may vary based on region, instance type, and other factors. For the most accurate pricing, always refer to the AWS Price List API or AWS Pricing Calculator.

AWS RDS Deployments Pricing

Amazon RDS on Outposts

Amazon RDS on Outposts allows you to utilize a managed database service on your on-premises Amazon Outpost. The pricing is based on a per-instance hour management fee for each database managed. Below is the current pricing for On-Demand instances based on General Purpose Instances:

Instance Type vCPU Memory Price Per Hour
db.m5.large 2 8 GiB $0.075
db.m5.xlarge 4 16 GiB $0.150
db.m5.2xlarge 8 32 GiB $0.300
db.m5.4xlarge 16 64 GiB $0.600
db.m5.12xlarge 48 192 GiB $1.800
db.m5.24xlarge 96 384 GiB $3.600

Amazon RDS Custom (Customer-Supplied)

Amazon RDS Custom is available in an On-Demand purchasing model, where you can deploy your DB instance in a single Availability Zone (Single-AZ). Pricing is per DB instance-hour consumed. The following is the pricing structure for Single Availability Zone deployment:

Instance Type vCPU Memory Storage Price ($ Per Hour)
db.m5.large 2 8 GiB EBS Only $0.205
db.m5.xlarge 4 16 GiB EBS Only $0.41
db.m5.2xlarge 8 32 GiB EBS Only $0.821
db.m5.4xlarge 16 64 GiB EBS Only $1.642
db.m5.8xlarge 32 128 GiB EBS Only $3.283
db.m5.12xlarge 48 192 GiB EBS Only $4.925
db.m5.16xlarge 64 256 GiB EBS Only $6.566
db.m5.24xlarge 96 384 GiB EBS Only $9.85

Amazon RDS Proxy

Amazon RDS Proxy is a fully managed, highly available database proxy for Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS). The pricing is based on the capacity of underlying instances, charged per vCPU per hour, or per Aurora Capacity Unit (ACU) per hour for Aurora Serverless v2. Here is the current pricing structure:

Instance Price Minimum Charge
Aurora Serverless v2 $0.015 per ACU-hour 8 ACUs
Provisioned instances $0.015 per vCPU-hour 2 vCPUs

Please note that there are no additional charges associated with the default endpoint when you create an RDS Proxy.


Making the right decision for your database deployment model requires careful consideration of your organization’s needs, and Amazon’s diverse set of offerings aims to cater to every unique scenario.

The pricing for each of these services varies, but each model is constructed to provide cost-effectiveness, scalability, and efficiency. As your requirements change over time, Amazon’s RDS offerings allow for flexible scaling and adjustment, helping to ensure that your solution is not only suitable for your current needs but also adaptable to future demands.

Amazon’s RDS services are designed to be flexible, reliable, and scalable, making them a robust choice for your database needs. As always, when selecting the right service for your use case, it’s important to consider not only the cost but also the specific requirements of your applications and your overall cloud strategy.

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Adarsh Rai

Adarsh Rai, author and growth specialist at Economize. He holds a FinOps Certified Practitioner License (FOCP), and has a passion for explaining complex topics to a rapt audience.

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