Understanding RDS Scaling and Elasticity


Understanding RDS Scaling & Elasticity
Scaling with RDS
Course Introduction

This course explores how to scale your RDS databases.  It covers scaling based on reads or writes, and what it means to scale horizontally or vertically. 

Additionally, it covers sharding databases as a way to increase write performance and when it needs to be considered as an option.

Learning Objectives

  • Explain the difference between horizontal and vertical scaling of RDS databases.
  • You will understand the differences between scaling for reads and scaling for writes.
  • You will learn to address these scaling issues inside Amazon RDS
  • You will learn when it is appropriate to shard an RDS database and understand its complexities

Intended Audience

This course is recommended for anyone who wants to understand the basics of scaling RDS. It includes information about database sharding as a way to scale write performance.


To get the most out of this course, you should have a basic understanding of cloud computing using Amazon Web Services.  You also need to know how relational databases work at a high level.


If you have any feedback relating to this course, please contact us at



Hello, my name is Will Meadows and today we will be talking about scaling your RDS databases based on reads or writes, horizontally or vertically. We will also have a special focus on Sharding your database to increase write performance and why you might need to consider this as an option in the first place. 

If you have any questions about anything I cover in this series please let me know at

Alternatively, you can always get in touch with us here at Cloud Academy by sending an email to and one of our cloud experts will reply to your question, concern, or comment. 

This course is recommended for anyone who wants to understand the basics of RDS and scalability. It will also be helpful If you want to know specifically how to deal with scaling write performance by sharding your Amazon RDS database.

Upon completion of this course you will be able to explain the difference between horizontal and vertical scaling of an RDS database.  

You will know what scaling for reads vs scaling for writes means and a few methods to solve these problems in regards to Amazon RDS.

Finally will also understand when it might be appropriate to shard an RDS database and the trade off associated with doing so.

You should have a basic understanding of cloud computing, in general, preferably with Amazon Web Services experience.  Also, RDS is Amazon’s relational database service.  You should know how relational databases work at a high level.  

If you’re new to Amazon RDS, you should complete the following courseware available from Cloud Academy:

If you’ve never created a database using RDS, or it’s been a while since you’ve created one, here is a lab that can walk you through it:

Feedback on our courses here at Cloud Academy are valuable to both us as trainers and any students looking to take the same course in the future. If you have any feedback, positive or negative, it would be greatly appreciated if you could send an email to

Please note that, at the time of writing this content, all course information was accurate. AWS implements hundreds of updates every month as part of its ongoing drive to innovate and enhance its services. As a result, minor discrepancies may appear in the course content over time. Here at Cloud Academy, we strive to keep our content up to date in order to provide the best training available. So, if you notice any information that is outdated, please contact This will allow us to update the course during its next release cycle.


Database Scalability - Scaling with RDS - Course Summary 

About the Author

William Meadows is a passionately curious human currently living in the Bay Area in California. His career has included working with lasers, teaching teenagers how to code, and creating classes about cloud technology that are taught all over the world. His dedication to completing goals and helping others is what brings meaning to his life. In his free time, he enjoys reading Reddit, playing video games, and writing books.