Community Blog [Into RDS] RDS Database Product Introduction and Business Scenario Selection

[Into RDS] RDS Database Product Introduction and Business Scenario Selection

This article introduces the basic knowledge of RDS, including the background, types, and product series.

By Wang Tao (Gaitian), from Alibaba Cloud Database Department


Recently, many customers were confused about how to choose an appropriate database. This is closely related to business scenarios, usage scenarios, and concurrency. This article introduces the basic knowledge of RDS. I hope you have a basic understanding of RDS products. There are best practices at the end of the article for relevant case analysis.


RDS is a database service. Users only need to purchase the corresponding services. This way, they can pay attention to their business development rather than paying too much attention to the service itself. Database services are available at any time.

What’s more, RDS is basically equivalent to the standard representative of cloud databases. RDS maintains a high degree of compatibility with the community while making significant improvements in security, performance, and services.

An Introduction to Alibaba Cloud RDS Product Types

Today, this article will introduce the four major database products already included in the ApsaraDB for RDS, MySQL, SQL Server, PostgreSQL, and MariaDB, and clarify the compatibility between each engine and the community and the ApsaraDB for RDS features.


RDS MySQL has major versions 5.6, 5.7, and 8.0 that are consistent with the community. AliSQL is an independent branch of MySQL that is deeply customized by Alibaba Cloud. In addition to all features of the Community Edition, AliSQL provides many functions similar to those of the MySQL Enterprise Edition. It also provides advanced features (such as enterprise-level security, backup, restoration, monitoring, performance optimization, and read-only instances). AliSQL provides many innovative features designed to improve functionality, performance, stability, and security, including:

  • Thread Pool: This feature uses the Listener-Worker model to improve the connection performance of AliSQL. It optimizes the concurrency control for different types of operations based on their priorities. This allows ApsaraDB for RDS to ensure high performance when it processes a large number of concurrent requests.
  • Statement Outline: This feature uses optimizer and index hints to ensure the stability of ApsaraDB for RDS when SQL query plans change due to data update, index addition or deletion, or parameter adjustment.
  • Fast Query Cache: This is developed by Alibaba Cloud based on the native MySQL query cache. The fast query cache uses a new design and implementation mechanism to optimize concurrency control, memory management, and caching. These optimizations increase query performance.
  • Binlog in Redo: The feature allows ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL to synchronously write binary logs into the redo log file when transactions are committed. This reduces operations on disks and increases database performance.
  • Faster DDL: It is developed by the ApsaraDB for the RDS Team. It fixes defects in the cache maintenance logic used to manage data definition language (DDL) operations. It also provides the optimized buffer pool management mechanism to reduce competition for locks triggered by DDL operations. This feature ensures the DDL operation performance of ApsaraDB for RDS when it processes a regular number of requests.

RDS PostgreSQL

RDS PostgreSQL has a major version 10/11/12/13/14 that is consistent with the community. At the same time, AliPG has been performing functional and technical iterations based on the community version since 2015. AliPG has made many optimizations in terms of function, performance, stability, and security. The typical ones are:

  • Faster Speed

    • Image recognition and vector similarity-based searches are tens of thousands of times faster on AliPG than on open-source PostgreSQL. Marketing and user profiling in real-time is thousands of times faster on AliPG than on open-source PostgreSQL.
    • The GIS Mod operator on AliPG processes mobile objects 50 times faster than the Mod operator on open-source PostGIS.
  • Higher Stability

    • AliPG uses the Platform as a Service (PaaS) architecture. This architecture allows you to transform traditional software from license-based services to subscription-based services. You can manage a large amount of metadata, optimize connections, and efficiently isolate resources. In addition, each RDS instance supports tens of thousands of schemas.
  • Higher Security

    • AliPG is certified based on leading national and international security standards, which empowers enterprises to increase institutional security scores in the financing and listing phases.
  • Security Hardening

    • Encrypts sensitive data that contains passwords. The sensitive data includes dynamic views, shared memory, the dblink plug-in, historical commands, and audit logs
    • Fixes the function-related bugs found in open-source PostgreSQL
    • Supports full Encryption
    • It supports the semi-synchronous mode, which allows you to specify a protection level for your RDS instance. The supported protection levels are maximum protection, maximum availability, and maximum performance.
    • Logical replication slot failover is supported. When the logical replication function is used, the primary/secondary switchover does not affect the reliability of logical replication.

RDS SQL Server

RDS SQL Server supports major versions such as 2008 R2/2012/2014/2016/2017/2019. It also has a highly available architecture and data recovery function at any point in time. It strongly supports various enterprise applications and also includes Microsoft's License authorization to reduce additional expenses. ApsaraDB RDS for SQL Server provides the following advanced features:

  • Disk Encryption: This feature encrypts the entire data disks of your RDS instance based on block storage. Your data cannot be accessed even if data leaks occur. This way, the security of your data is maximized. Disk encryption does not interrupt your workload. In addition, you do not need to modify your application configurations.
  • Read-Only RDS Instances: If the number of read requests that your database system needs to process is significantly greater than the number of write requests, a single primary RDS instance may not be able to process read requests efficiently, and your workloads may be interrupted. You can create one or more read-only RDS instances to offload read requests from the primary RDS instance. You can create one or more read-only ApsaraDB MyBase for SQL Server instances to offload the read requests of the system and increase the read capabilities of the system. This way, the requirements for processing a large number of read requests can be met, and the throughput of your application can be increased.
  • Read/Write Splitting: After read-only RDS instances are created, you can enable the read-only routing endpoint and add the endpoint of the primary RDS instance and the read-only routing endpoint to your application. Your database system forwards write requests to the primary RDS instance and read requests to the read-only routing endpoint. Then, the read-only routing endpoint forwards the read requests to the read-only RDS instances based on the read weights of the read-only RDS instances.


ApsaraDB RDS for MariaDB provides enterprise level performance and 100% compatible with opensource MariaDB. Currently, the supported version is 10.3. In terms of database O&M management capabilities,it is basically align with MySQL.

An Introduction to the Alibaba Cloud RDS Product Series

There are so many RDS product series. What are the differences between them? They can be expressed more clearly with a picture.

RDS Basic Edition

RDS Basic Edition only has one node. Since there is no standby database, the stability is related to the hardware and database itself. However, the cost is relatively cheap.


RDS High-Availability Edition

High-availability topologies can be customized. Currently, the RDS high-availability edition has a secondary node that can be switched as standby at any time to ensure database availability. At the same time, there are N read-only instances that can be attached under a primary instance (each product has its limits).


ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL of the Enterprise Edition

Three-node Enterprise Edition uses the Paxos protocol to ensure data consistency and can achieve RPO=0.



Q: If it is only used in the development and test environment, which product family should I choose?

A: RDS Basic Edition should be selected because it is cost-effective, but the disadvantage is that it cannot be HA and is acceptable for development and testing environments.

Q: Which product family should I select for the database used in the production environment?

A: We recommend selecting RDS High-Availability Edition or RDS Three-Node Enterprise Edition because this product has standby, which can quickly cause machine failure failover. When a fault occurs, it can help the business recover quickly.

Q: The service is a system that has strong requirements for GIS. Which database product type should I choose?

A: PostgreSQL database supports GIS requirements very well, and many high-precision GIS requirements customers are using the PostgreSQL database for related research and development work.

Q: How should I choose a set of management systems planned for production?

A: Currently, the MySQL engine is commonly used in the industry. As the production system has certain requirements for stability, we recommend selecting the High-Availability Edition or RDS Three-Node Enterprise Edition.


This article describes the meaning of RDS, ApsaraDB for RDS product types and product series, and how to select corresponding database products and series in your work. I hope the article is helpful when choosing the RDS database!

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