AWS RDS for SQL Server – Cheat Sheet

Hello Friends!

Back to you again with my all together new pick, Amazon Relation Database Service. Ah! interest, some of you might be wondering is this topic has nothing to do with SQL Server. Yes / NO ?

Working with RDS for few years and most of cases got to know from many of beginners or intermediate level DBA working with AWS RDS about a single place to know what to setup & configure and how to choose correct thing. This is quite a bit of subjective question, however I’d given a thought to come up with some kind of cheat sheet which can help my friends & peer working in AWS RDS world can move swiftly with their stuff.  However before moving ahead, I would like you to go through DBA Guide of AWS RDS written by Waren Chaves. I found it extremely useful than going through multiple places and mug up.

Below is a consolidate sheet of how to chose what for respective environment with a brief supporting in notes. Perhaps not the best, but works very well. Pre-Requisites are something a DBA should know at first place & pretty documented either in form of email or ITIL tool to come with appropriate AWS RDS Instance for SQL Server.

DB Details Pre-Requisite Prod & DR NON-Prod Notes
DB Engine Yes sqlserver-se sqlserver-se Default value – non editable
License Model Yes BYOB BYOB Select from drop down list per your organisation standard.
I’ve choosen “Bring Your Own License” being much cheaper solution than “Include License” and let AWS charge you for it.
DB Engine Version Yes SQL Server 2014 SQL Server 2014 Supports upto SQL Server 2016 for Standard & Enterprise
DB Instance Class Yes Ex: db.r3.large Ex: db.r3.large 2 vCPU , 15 GiB RAM
Time Zone (Optional) No UTC UTC UTC
Multi-AZ Deployment Yes NO NO Dedicate Tenancy is required at Network Level is required to support Multi-AZ for AWS RDS “SQL Server” Instance.
Please check with your AWS Account admin/Network Administrator before setting up AWS Instance. If it’s not in place, Multi-AZ setup will fail.
Storage Type Yes Provisioned IOPS SSD General Purpose SSD Chose is carefully it selection adds extra $ in billing.
Until and unless needed “General Purpose SSD” works well.


Scaling storage after launching a DB Instance is currently not supported for SQL Server.
You may want to provision storage based on anticipated future storage growth.

Allocated Storage Yes Ex: 200 GB
1000 IOPS
Ex: 200 GB Can’t be change at any instance once provisioned for RDS SQL Server.
DB Instance Identifier Yes <As per request> <As per request> Example: AWSRDSSQLServer2014
VPC No Default VPC Default VPC Will remain default until and unless specific details provided by Engineering Team.
Subnet Group No Default Default Will remain default until and unless specific details provided by Engineering Team.
Publicly Accessible No NO NO We shouldn’t setup Publicly Accessible to “No” for real builds.  And also discourage to have no internet access from the VPC in which these DBs live for security reasons.
Availability Zone Yes Ex: us-east-1a Ex: us-east-1b If dedicated tenancy not in place at VPC level, Multi-Az isn’t suppported. However, there is another cheap solution available with this help of “Availability Zone”.

Multi-Zoning can be leveraged to address HA/DR solution by setting up two different stack of database same application/network/DB Setup.

VPC Security Group No Ex: ABC (vpc-Z1234567) Ex: ABC (vpc-X1234567) Only 1 VPC will be available under one AWS Account
Microsoft SQL Server
Windows Authentication
No N/A N/A N/A
Database Port No 1433 1433 Default – 1433
DB Parameter Group No default default default
Option Group No default default default
Copy Tags to Snapshots No Unchecked Unchecked Doesn’t really matter until and unless needed.
Enable Encryption No No No Currently AWS RDS SQL Server isn’t HIPAA complaint  (expected in Q1 2017) so no encryption required. However this is good to have a feature.
Backup Retention No 35 days 35 days Maximum Backup Retention period available in AWS RDS is 35 days.
Backup Window No Ex: 00:30 Ex: 00:30 As per choice
Enable Enhanced Monitoring No N/A N/A N/A
Monitoring Role No N/A N/A N/A
Granularity No N/A N/A N/A
Maintenance Window No N/A N/A Auto Minor Version Upgrade = No
This change be change at any instance.

Happy Learning!Don’t forget to give your feedback & queries.

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About Avanish Panchal

Avanish carries around 15 years of experience in IT industry. He is post graduate in Computer Science, followed by Masters in Business Administration. He has worked on multiple technologies like SQL Server, .net & Sybase with world largest bank(s)/IT consulting firm(s) like JPMorganChase, CapGemini, Datamatics etc. Currently holds position of Database Architect in BioPharma Global Leader. His area of focus are SQL Server DB Engine, Security, Storage, Virtualization & Infrastructure Consolidation. Passionate for delivering Database IT Infrastructure to satisfy and exceed the needs of the enterprise. You may find him active on various forums like SQLBangalore, SQLServerGeeks & many more. His SQL Server passion helped him to be the Core Team member of Asia's First SQL Server Conference in 2015 @ Bangalore (#SSGAS2015).

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