Comparing Alibaba Cloud ApsaraDB for RDS and MySQL Database Hosted On ECS Instances

Setup and Maintenance

ApsaraDB for RDS is a fully-managed database service that requires a few mouse clicks to provision. This service frees you from administrative tasks for setting up, patching, recovering, detecting and repairing MySQL databases.

Backup and Security

A database holds valuable information that must be safeguarded at all times. ApsaraDB for RDS makes your life easier by integrating security in the database solution. One of the worst enemies of MySQL database is SQL injection — a technique used by hackers to steal information from your database through malicious codes.


ApsaraDB utilizes latest technologies to ensure that the service is highly available. Different nodes synchronize data at real-time. A shared-nothing architecture ensures that there is no single-point of failure due to redundant database server and hardware. The reliability offered by this kind of setup guarantees an uptime of 99.9999%.


You have quite a few options when deploying ApsaraDB for RDS. Although you can choose the MySQL version, data center, RAM, CPU and disk space, you can’t access the database configuration files if you have special needs.

Scalability and Elasticity

Scalability helps the database to scale up or down depending on the workload subjected to it. Both ApsaraDB and MySQL database deployed on the ECS instances are scalable. You can provision an instance that can comfortably handle your database needs.

Cost Effectiveness

Both ApsaraDB and Alibaba Cloud ECS instances have simple and transparent pricing with no upfront fees. You can choose a pay-as-go pricing model to ensure that you are only paying for the resources that you need.

Other Factors to Consider When Choosing Between ApsaraDB and Self-Managed MySQL Database

We have compared ApsaraDB for RDS to self-managed MySQL databases deployed on Alibaba Cloud ECS. We will now list a few more tips that can help you to choose between the two different types of MySQL databases:

  1. ApsaraDB is suitable for applications that connect directly to a database server without requiring any middleware like PHP. For instance, you can connect your desktop application written in Java, or C# to the ApsaraDB directly.
  2. If you want to isolate the database from the rest of your application, you can use ApsaraDB as the backend database. For instance, you can have a WordPress site running on a different server but the application can connect to ApsaraDB as the backend database.
  3. Backup for your application. To enhance the security of your application, you can backup your database on ApsaraDB. In such a setup, you may even run advanced data analysis on the ApsaraDB data without affecting your primary database.
  4. You can use ApsaraDB if your application database requires a large disk space for storing data. ApsaraDB can scale up to 2TB.
  5. Use ApsaraDB in mission critical applications that require automatic failover and second level data recovery when a database server fails.
  1. To run content management systems that requires a full operating system for hosting other applications like web servers, scripting languages, email servers e.t.c. For instance, the MySQL database can be setup in the same server hosting Apache, PHP and an e-commerce software like Magento.
  2. Where performance of the entire server is not an issue. If you don’t want to isolate your database from the rest of the application, you can create the database on the same Alibaba ECS instance hosting your other applications.
  3. You might also run Alibaba cloud ECS MySQL database in scenario where you want complete control over the database server. For instance, if you want to change some settings, this might be a good choice but you must have strong MySQL administrative skills to run the server.
  4. You can also use Alibaba ECS instances in case you want to run different database management systems on a single Virtual Private Server. However, if you need more stability, you can deploy different instances of ApsaraDB with each instance running a separate database engine e.g. MySQL, PostgreSQL and Ms SQL server.


In this article, we have gone through a comparison of Alibaba Cloud ApsaraDB for RDS and a MySQL database hosted on Alibaba Cloud ECS instance. We have also listed some tips that can help you choose between the two approaches for deploying a cloud database on Alibaba Cloud.



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