DBA Tasks Offloaded After Moving to AmazonRDS or SQLAzure


Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) is a web service that makes it easier to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud. It provides cost-efficient, resizeable capacity for an industry-standard relational database and manages common database administration tasks. Although Amazon RDS is great for many applications to store its data, but has many limitations where many features cannot be used due to restricted permissions at file system level and on registry and OS level.

For On-Premise SQL Server instances, DBAs and System Admins are responsible for many tasks which may be day to day or some scheduled tasks like patching, maintenance etc. Amazon RDS or SQL Azure can offload many such tasks which SQL Server DBA or System Admin has to take care and thus can reduce the load on the DBAs on large environments with many servers and applications. Instead of spending time on repeated things, they can focus more on other important DBA activities like performance turning, health checks, etc.

Some of the important activities or tasks offloaded from DBAs or System Admins are listed below. These are not the only ones, but there are others too.
Patching – Patching of SQL Server instances or Operating System, drivers, etc have been one of the core responsibilities of the DBAs or System Administrators and often are repeatable and does not require smart work instead requires some hard work on working during off hours to reduce the impact on the users using the application. With Amazon RDS, these patching is taken care by Amazon team and we only have to specify the window on when the patching needs to take place. However this limits the control on what patches can be applied, as every patch we want will not be applied, as they need to certify which patch needs to be applied and tested to work smoothly.

Upgrade to Higher Version – Upgrading on-premise SQL Server is considered one of the major project and requires lot of planning and time to implement and test. With Amazon RDS, the implementation of upgrade and any issues are taken care by Amazon and we can just focus on testing our application and fixing the appliation compatibility issues.

Backups – Backups are taken care by Amazon and we just need to specify the time when backups can be performed and how many days backups are required to be retained. Point to note is that the number of backups to be retained is directly proportional to the increase in storage price to keep the backups. By default recovery model used in SIMPLE and cannot be changed to simple, instead we need to choose retention period as 0, meaning we do not need any backups. Thus, for databases which need backups will have full and transaction log backups and mostly we can recover our data to as early as 5 minutes before the crash.

High Availability – Amazon provides support for High Availability and it is important to choose the high availability feature, as this is third party vendor and on data centre which we have no control or details about, so we never know if there will be any issues or outages. For high availability, RDS can automatically setup a database mirroring secondary on another Availability Zone often in another Amazon data centre in the same region.

Hope this was helpful.

This is applicable for below versions of SQL Server

SQL Server 2012
SQL Server 2008 R2
SQL Server 2014

SQLServerF1 Team
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