Using EBS for MySQL - Cloud Computing

The popular MySQL database included in the LAMP Web Starter runs well on EBS as does RDS. Some popular features include:

  • Persistent storage in the event of instance failure—If an EBS volume is used as the storage for a MySQL database, then the data is protected from instance termination or failure. You can simply attach/ mount the volume on another instance and MySQL will run its normal recovery procedures to bring the database up to date with the binary logs
  • Safety and replication—According to Amazon, “EBS volume data is replicated across multiple servers.” This makes your data safer than the default instance storage
  • Improved performance—Studies on EBS disk IO performance indicate that EBS IO rates can be several times faster than ephemeral storage and even local disk IO. This has obvious benefits for databases, which are often IO bound
  • Large data storage capacity—EBS volumes can be up to 1TB in size. In theory, you can support an even larger database with LVM or RAID across EBS volumes, or by placing different databases or table files on different EBS volumes. As always, paying attention to building your keys properly is essential for good performance
  •  Instance type portability—If you find that your current small EC2 instance is not able to handle your growing demand, you could switch the EBS volume holding your MySQL database to one running an extra large instance in a matter of seconds without having to copy the database across the network. You can also downgrade instance types later to save money
  • Fast and easy backups—EBS snapshots alone could be a sufficiently attractive reason to move a database server to Amazon EC2. Being able to take live, consistent, binary snapshots of the database in just a few seconds is a thing of beauty. Add in the ability to create a new EBS volume from a snapshot so another EC2 instance can run against an exact copy of that database . . . and you’ve opened up new worlds of possibilities. AWS also enables you to create new volumes from AWS-hosted public data sets.
  • Annotated Human Genome Data, provided by ENSEMBL. The Ensembl project produces genome databases for human as well as almost other species, and makes this information freely available.
  • Various U.S. Census Databases from The U.S. Census Bureau United States demographic data from the 1980, 1990, and 2000 U.S. Censuses, summary information about Business and Industry, and 2003–2006 Economic Household Profile Data.
  • UniGene provided by the National Center for Biotechnology Information
    A set of transcript sequences of well-characterized genes and hundreds of thousands of expressed sequence tags (EST) that provide an organized view of the transcriptome.
  • Freebase Data Dump from
    A data dump of all the current facts and assertions in the Freebase system. Freebase is an open database of the world’s information, covering millions of topics in hundreds of categories. Drawing from large open data sets like Wikipedia, MusicBrainz, and the SEC archives, it contains structured information on many popular topics, including movies, music, people and locations—all reconciled and freely available.
  • Backup.—You can take scheduled snapshots of your EBS and store them on S3.

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