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AWS Costs

AWS RDS Pricing Explained

How Is AWS RDS Priced?

Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) provides a fully-managed database service that includes security and high availability. The service helps you set up, scale, and operate databases in the AWS cloud.

AWS RDS pricing models offer on-demand rates, which you can use to pay per actual resource usage. There is no minimum fee. The RDS Reserved Instance pricing model provides significant discounts in exchange for a long-term commitment.

AWS offers several tools that can help optimize your monthly billing. The AWS Pricing Calculator lets you estimate monthly charges, and the Free Tier provides the option of trying out RDS at no cost.

Additionally, AWS RDS offers a variety of instance types, each optimized for different use cases. Each instance type is priced differently, so be sure to choose the right type for your database.

This is part of our series of articles about AWS costs.

In this article:

Amazon RDS Pricing Components

Below we explain each of the pricing components of the Amazon RDS service.

Read these guides for more background on AWS database services and storage pricing:

Free Tier

Here are several resources provided by the AWS RDS Free Tier on a monthly basis. You can get 750 hours per month of the db.t2.micro instances, running a single Availability Zone (AZ), with any open source database engine, SQL Server Express, or Oracle Bring Your Own License (BYOL).

The free tier provides 20 GB of SSD storage for your database, and an additional 20 GB for database backups or snapshots. The compute instance, database service, and storage are all offered free of charge as part of the Free Tier.

Database Engine

Your total AWS RDS pricing depends on the database engine you choose. AWS offers six database engines—Amazon Aurora, MySQL, PostgreSQL, MariaDB, Microsoft SQL Server, and Oracle. After choosing a database engine, you cannot usually change it. However, you can optimize performance, memory, performance, or input/output (I/O).

Open-source databases
MySQL, Postgres, and MariaDB open-source databases are priced similarly—sharing the same pricing for provisioned I/O, RDS data transfer costs, and storage. The only difference is that PostgreSQL instances are generally 5-10% more expensive per hour.

Proprietary databases
Amazon Aurora is a proprietary database offered by AWS. It comes with several features, including:

  • A serverless option—ideal for test environments.
  • Multi-zone backup—billing starts at a million replicated I/O operations.

Aurora’s storage per gibibyte (GiB) is slightly more expensive. However, it can help you save money when dealing with intermittent usage or when you need fast failovers and many read replicas.

Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server are commercial database engines, which you ordinarily purchase a license to use. When using these databases within RDS, the cost of licensing is included in the price, and this almost doubles the price of hourly instances. It is possible to bring your own Oracle license (known as BYOL)—this brings the cost down to the same level as open-source options.

Here are pricing examples (applicable to MySQL DB instances that are deployed in a single Availability Zone (AZ) within the US East region):

Instance Size

Price / Hour









X Large


2X Large


Reserved Instances

Reserved Instances (RI) let you reserve an instance for a 1-3 year term. In return for this long-term commitment, you receive a significant discount off the on-demand rate for that instance. RDS offers three RI payment options—no upfront, partial upfront, and all upfront.

Here is a pricing example (applicable to a MySQL db.t3.micro Instance deployed within a single AZ located in the US East region) for a standard one-year term:

  • No upfront payment—$0 upfront cost, $8.76 monthly rate (effective hourly rate of $0.012), 29% saving compared to on-demand
  • Partial upfront payment—$50 upfront cost, $4.161 monthly rate (effective hourly rate of $0.011), 33% saving compared to on-demand
  • Full upfront payment—$98 upfront cost, $0 monthly rate (effective hourly rate of $0.011), 34% saving compared to on-demand

Pricing for a standard three-year term is:

  • Partial upfront payment—$107 upfront cost, $2.993 monthly rate (effective hourly rate of $0.008), 52% saving compared to on-demand
  • Full upfront payment—$210 upfront cost, $0 monthly rate (effective hourly rate of $0.008), 53% saving compared to on-demand

Database Storage

Here is the pricing structure for the various database storage options.

General Purpose (SSD) Storage

RDS lets you choose from a range of 20 GiB to 64 TiB of General Purpose (SSD) storage capacity for a primary dataset. General Purpose (SSD) charges only for the storage you provision and does not charge for any I/Os you consume.

The general-purpose storage rate is $0.115/GB-month.

Provisioned IOPS (SSD) Storage

RDS lets you provision I/O capacity according to certain database requirements. You can scale and provision from 1,000 IOPS to 80,000 IOPS as well as from 100 GiB to 64 TiB of storage.

The storage rate is $0.125/GB-month and the provisioned IOPS rate is $0.10/IOPS-month.

Magnetic Storage

RDS lets you choose from a range of 20 GiB to 3 TiB of magnetic storage capacity for the primary dataset of your account. This storage option is supported for backward compatibility.

The storage rate is $0.10/GB-month and the I/O rate is $0.10/million requests

Backup Storage

RDS backup storage is the same storage associated with your account’s automated database backups as well as any database snapshots you have initiated on your own. You can increase your backup retention period as well as take database snapshots to increase the backup storage your database consumes.

Here are several pricing aspects to consider when using backup storage:

  • RDS allocates backup storage by region—the total storage space allocated for backup purposes is equal to the total storage space allocated for all backups within that region.
  • RDS does not charge extra for backup storage—this is applicable for up to 100% of the total database storage per region.
  • Additional backup storage fees—provisioned database storage incurs additional fees billed at $0.095 per GiB-month.
  • Instance termination—once a database instance is terminated, your backup storage is still billed at $0.095 per GiB-month.

Snapshot Export

RDS Snapshot Export can automatically export data from RDS or Aurora snapshots to Amazon S3 in a Parquet format. This format can be as much as twice as fast to unload. It consumes almost six times less storage in Amazon S3 compared to text formats. It also lets you use AWS services like Amazon Athena, Amazon SageMaker, and Amazon EMR to analyze exported data.

Snapshots are priced at $0.01/GB of snapshot size.

AWS RDS Storage Optimization with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the leading enterprise-grade storage management solution, delivers secure, proven storage management services on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Cloud Volumes ONTAP capacity can scale into the petabytes, and it supports various use cases such as file services, databases, DevOps or any other enterprise workload, with a strong set of features including high availability, data protection, storage efficiencies, Kubernetes integration, and more. 

In particular, Cloud Volumes ONTAP helps in addressing database workloads challenges in the cloud, and filling the gap between your cloud-based database capabilities and the public cloud resources it runs on. Learn more in these Cloud Volumes ONTAP Databases Case Studies.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP also provides storage efficiency features, including thin provisioning, data compression, and deduplication, reducing the storage footprint and costs by up to 70%.

Learn more about how Cloud Volumes ONTAP helps cost savings with these Cloud Volumes ONTAP Storage Efficiency Case Studies.New call-to-action

Yifat Perry, Technical Content Manager

Technical Content Manager