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Guide: Save 10%+ on RDS by Switching to AWS Graviton

Amazon launched their ARM-based chip, nicknamed Graviton, within the last few years. Since its release AWS customers have been showing major interest in the chip for its better price-to-performance ratio. Oftentimes, the main point of discussion for leveraging Graviton processors is around EC2 as that tends to be the top cost-center for organizations.

However, Amazon has been making a major push to have other managed services, such as RDS and ElasticSearch, offer Graviton processors. Where normally there are considerations when looking to run workloads on ARM to ensure that your application isn’t impacted, these go away when leveraging AWS-managed services. As a result, this can be a very quick win from a savings perspective and have the added benefit of better performance as well.

How Much Can I Save on RDS?

How much you can save depends on what RDS instance you’re currently running on. Though in general, you can look to save around 10% of your bill when going from the previous generation x86 chip to the newer generation Graviton processor. Below is an example, using us-east-1 prices for a multi-AZ RDS deployment:

Instance Type Chipset On-Demand Price
db.m5.large x86 $0.342
db.m6g.large Graviton $0.304

Pricing information provided by EC2Instances.info

To see a comparison of what RDS instance you’re currently running and what an equivalent Graviton based price would be, check out the “RDS” section of ec2instances.info.

How Do I Migrate to Graviton?

AWS makes migrating to Graviton is very straight-forward and there are only a few considerations you’ll need to make before planning to move forward:

  • Not every version of your database will be eligible for running on Graviton. In general, as long as you’re running on more modern versions of MySQL, Postgres and others you should be fine. AWS will not allow you to migrate from underlying instance to Graviton unless that version of your database is supported.
  • Ensure you are ready for a potential small window of disruption. Typically we hear from customers that the transition from x86 to Graviton only takes a minute or two and you’ll want to ensure your application (and user base) are prepared accordingly.

Next Steps

To get started with the above, feel free to visit ec2instances.info to see your potential savings or take a look at the AWS CLI command for modifying instances on RDS here: https://docs.aws.amazon.com/cli/latest/reference/rds/modify-db-instance.html