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Table of contents
What is Amazon RDS?
The Need for Read Replicas
How Do Read Replicas Work?
Why Are Read Replicas Awesome?
But Wait, There Are Some Trade-Offs
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I create Read Replicas in different AWS regions?
How do Read Replicas work?
How many Read Replicas can I create for a single master database?
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

Read Replicas (RDS)

Author Shiva
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Ashwin Goyal
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Hey there, young tech enthusiasts! If you've ever wondered how popular apps and websites handle a massive number of users without slowing down, the secret lies in the magic of Read Replicas. Today, we'll dive into the world of Amazon RDS and explore what Read Replicas are, how they work, and why they are essential for making your favourite online services lightning fast!

Read Replicas( RDS)

What is Amazon RDS?

Before we jump into Read Replicas, let's understand Amazon RDS. RDS stands for "Relational Database Service," and it's a cloud-based service provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS).. Think of it as a super-smart data storage system that lets companies store, manage, and access their valuable information. This data could be anything from user accounts, product details, posts, and more!

Amazon RDS is a lifesaver for businesses because it takes away the burden of managing databases. Instead of worrying about the underlying hardware and software, companies can focus on building great applications while AWS takes care of the heavy lifting.

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The Need for Read Replicas

Imagine you have a super popular social media app, and millions of users are using it every second to share cat pictures and memes. All those users are constantly sending data to and reading data from the app's database. As the app gets increasingly popular, this constant back-and-forth can put a tremendous load on the database.

Here's where Read Replicas come to the rescue! Read Replicas are like magical clones of the main database that help spread the workload. They allow you to create additional copies of your database, and these copies can handle all the "reading" requests, while the original database deals with the "writing" requests.

How Do Read Replicas Work?

Let's break it down a bit further. The main database, sometimes called the "master" database, is where all the data is initially stored. Whenever a user writes new information or updates existing data, it goes straight to the master database.

Now, the cool part happens. Read Replicas are copies of the master database, but they aren't exactly identical twins. While they have the same data, the read replicas are continuously and automatically updated with the latest information from the master.

Instead of all those users bombarding the master database, they can be redirected to one of the read replicas. This way, the master database doesn't get overloaded, and everyone gets to enjoy the meme without any slowdowns!

Why Are Read Replicas Awesome?

Read Replicas offer several incredible benefits that make them essential for high-performance applications:

1. Improved Performance: By sharing the workload, read replicas prevent the master database from becoming overwhelmed. This results in faster response times for users and a smoother experience overall.

2. High Availability: In the magical world of AWS, sometimes hardware or software can act up. If the master database goes down, fear not! One of the read replicas can take its place, keeping the app running without any major hiccups.

3. Scaling Horizontally: Scaling can be a challenge for busy apps, but reading replicas makes it much easier. As the number of users grows, you can create more read replicas to handle the increased demand. It's like summoning additional support to handle the ever-growing crowd of cat enthusiasts!

4. Data Backup: Since read replicas are copies of the master database, they also serve as a form of backup. If anything bad happens to the master, you can promote a read replica to take over as the new master, and you're back in business!

5. Global Distribution: For apps with users worldwide, read replicas can be placed in different geographic locations. This means users from various regions can access a nearby read replica, reducing the time it takes for data to travel and improving the app's speed globally.

But Wait, There Are Some Trade-Offs

While Read Replicas are pretty amazing, they're not without their trade-offs:

1. Eventual Consistency: This term might sound a bit intimidating, but it's crucial to understand. When data is written to the master database, it takes a little bit of time to get propagated to all the read replicas. This means that, for a tiny fraction of time, the read replicas might not have the absolute latest information. For most apps, this is acceptable, but for some scenarios, like financial transactions, it's essential to ensure strong consistency.

2. Read-Only Operations: As their name suggests, read replicas are used for reading data. If you try to write or update information directly to a read replica, you'll be in for a surprise! These replicas are strictly for reading purposes and don't accept any write requests.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I create Read Replicas in different AWS regions?

Yes, you can set up Read Replicas in either the same or a separate AWS region as the primary database. This function offers more alternatives for disaster recovery and aids in keeping a backup of the database in case of regional problems.

How do Read Replicas work?

When you build a read replica, AWS makes a read-only copy of your main database from a snapshot. The Read Replica is always current, thanks to asynchronous copying of any changes made to the primary database.

How many Read Replicas can I create for a single master database?

Depending on your database engine, you can create a certain amount of Read Replicas. For engines like MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and SQL Server, you can, for instance, have up to five Read Replicas per master database.


Read Replicas are like the sidekicks of the main database, working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that your favourite apps and websites run smoothly. They provide better performance, higher availability, and easier scalability, making them a powerful tool for handling large user bases.

Recommended Readings:

You may refer to our Guided Path on Code Studios for enhancing your skill set on DSACompetitive ProgrammingSystem Design, etc. Check out essential interview questions, practice our available mock tests, look at the interview bundle for interview preparations, and so much more!

Happy Learning, Ninja!

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