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When should we run Oracle on EC2 vs. RDS?

There are different approaches to running Oracle Database on AWS. What are the strengths and limitations of using Amazon RDS and EC2 for Oracle Database?

Oracle's support for running enterprise applications in the cloud reflects a growing realization that public cloud is a viable and worthwhile alternative to local data center ownership and management. But running complex applications in the cloud can be challenging -- even for experienced IT staff. AWS applications need regular testing and performance monitoring to ensure that mission-critical workloads like Oracle Database will provide the availability and user experience a business is accustomed to and demands.

Oracle Database can run within a suitable EC2 instance or through Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS). Running Oracle on EC2 and RDS are both viable options and offer unique advantages.

Generally, it's easier for enterprises to set up, manage and maintain Oracle on Amazon RDS than installing Oracle on EC2. RDS is highly scalable, and users can ramp the service up or down depending on compute needs. Licensing is handled through RDS per-hour fees, so there is no separate, long-term licensing.

RDS might also be a better option when a business needs to focus on tasks other than Oracle Database management. However, RDS is best served with databases smaller than 2.5 TB with storage I/O needs below 30,000 IOPS; larger databases and heavier storage use may require an EC2 deployment.

By comparison, running Oracle on EC2 provides control, flexibility and manageability of the application. A business that specializes in database use or requires full control over the application will probably benefit from an EC2 deployment. However, this requires detailing a deployment plan and application architecture. Cloud architects need to think about performance of the network and storage IOPS, resilience, backups for data protection, security and licensing. IT teams must control every aspect of the application's deployment.

Ultimately, the decision between RDS and EC2 deployments depends on size and performance needs, as well as management preferences.

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