The Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) takes care of almost all of the day to day grunt work that would otherwise consume a lot of system administrator and DBA time. You don't have to worry about hardware provisioning, operating system or database installation or patching, backups, monitoring, or failover. Instead, you can invest in your application and in your data.
Multiple Engine Versions
RDS supports multiple versions of the MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server, and PostgreSQL database engines. Here is the current set of supported MySQL versions:
You can simply select the desired version and create an RDS DB Instance in a minutes.
Today we are enhancing Amazon RDS with the ability to upgrade your MySQL DB Instances from version 5.5 to the latest release in the 5.6 series that's available on RDS.
To upgrade your existing instances, create a new Read Replica, upgrade it to MySQL 5.6, and once it has caught up to your existing master, promote it to be the new master. You can initiate and monitor each of these steps from the AWS Management Console. Refer to the Upgrading from MySQL 5.5 to MySQL 5.6 section of the Amazon RDS User Guide to learn more.
For MySQL 5.5 instances that you create after today's release, simply select the Modify option corresponding to the DB Instance to upgrade it to the latest version of MySQL 5.6. If you are using RDS Read Replicas, upgrade them before you upgrade the master.
Version 5.6 MySQL offers a number of important new features and performance benefits including crash safe slaves (Read Replicas), an improved query optimizer, improved partitioning and replication, NoSQL-style memcached APIs, and better monitoring.
The InnoDB storage engine now supports binary log access and online schema changes, allowing ALTER TABLE operations to proceed in parallel with other operations on a table. The engine now does a better job of reporting optimizer statistics, with the goal of improving and stabilizing query performance. An enhanced locking mechanism reduces system contention, and multi-threaded purging increases the efficiency of purge operations that span more than one table.
Planning for Upgrades
Regardless of the upgrade method that is applicable to your RDS DB Instances, you need to make sure that your application is compatible with version 5.6 of MySQL. Read the documentation on Upgrading an Instance to learn more about this.