Velocity News

What Amazon RDS for SQL Server Can’t Do (And 5 Things Cloud Managed Database Can)

Paul Shearer, Velocity's Vice President of Solution Engineering, shares the top seven advantages of Cloud Managed Database services.

Given the title,  it might appear that I’m not a fan of Relational Database Service (RDS) for SQL Server. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

RDS democratized data. It unleashed the power of the relational database to the masses.  Database administrators were unshackled from the low-value, administrative tasks that consumed their day. Instead, they could focus on driving real business value through analytics and data science. In short, RDS is magic!

That said, there are many cases in which RDS for SQL Server isn’t a natural fit due to its limitations. In these instances, Velocity’s SQL Server Cloud Managed Database (CMD) is a great alternative. Built atop a z1d instance family, Velocity’s CMD for SQL Server provides the same benefits of RDS, but with a much greater degree of flexibility at a much lower monthly cost.

Here are the top five Velocity CMD advantages:

1. You Can Bring Your Own License

You’re probably asking yourself: “I can’t use my own SQL license on RDS? What about the SQL Server License Mobility program?  Doesn’t that let me use the license I’ve already bought and paid for on AWS?”

In short, no.  Since Microsoft now has its own cloud, it would prefer that you run SQL Server over there. To entice you to do so, they changed the rules for hyper-scale cloud providers, but largely exempted themselves via the Azure Hybrid Cloud Benefit.

Don’t worry, though—Velocity has you covered. You can effectively bring your own license to AWS by using Velocity’s SQL Server CMD.

2. You Can Use SQL Server Developer Edition 

SQL Server Enterprise Edition is expensive. The Developer Edition is designed to provide your non-production databases all the features of the Enterprise Edition at a steeply discounted price. Unfortunately, this option isn’t available for RDS. 

Velocity CMD for SQL Server allows you to bring your own license to your SQL Server Developer Edition license and use it on AWS.

3. You Can Run Multiple SQL Instances on a Single RDS Instance

One of the best ways to extract the maximum value out of your SQL Server investment is by running multiple SQL instances on the same licensed server.  

Consider a scenario where you have two different departments, each needing some SQL Server database capacity. With RDS, your options are to either run both departments within the same SQL instance (which requires a lot of additional to properly segregate them) or to give each department their own RDS instance (which increases cost). 

Velocity’s SQL Server CMD allows multiple SQL Server instances. You specify how much RAM is allocated to each instance, and our Velocity Cloud Application Management Platform does the rest. Each department has full control of their own instance. That means you can stop worrying about one department inadvertently accessing, or even deleting, the other databases.

4. You'll Have Support For SQL 2019

RDS does not currently support SQL 2019. In fact, the latest version is does support only goes up to 2017. Worse, it's possible that 2019 support may never actually come to RDS. This is due, in large part, to the database engine wars currently happening between the cloud vendors. Consider this: SQL 2019 was released on November 2019 with no RDS release in sight. This is in contrast to SQL 2017 RDS support, which was released just one month after SQL 2017 was released in October 2017. Fortunately, Velocity's SQL Server CMD supports 2019, not a three-year-old SQL version.

5. You Can Use Local NVMe Storage

Do you feel the need for speed? 90% of the time, database performance is throttled by the disk subsystem. Using the local system bus on the host to access NVMe is by far the fastest option. It provides high throughput and high IOPS (input/output operations per second), and latency is measured in mere microseconds! It’s also one of the cheapest storage options available. So why isn’t RDS using this? Since the NMVe is literally installed on the physical host, it’s inseparable from that host. This means that if you lose the host, your data is gone.

In other words, putting your database on NVMe is a lot like feeding it meth: In the short-term, you benefit from amazing performance. But in the long run, you know you’re heading for something catastrophic. So is there a way to safely use it?

Velocity CMD for SQL Server uses local nVME for TempDB, providing the optimal balance between performance and durability of the data.

Interested in learning more about Velocity's CMD solution and how it could work for your business? We outline the full list of benefits of CMD. 

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