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Amazon Aurora Serverless MySQL Generally Available

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Article originally posted on InfoQ. Visit InfoQ

Amazon Aurora, a custom built MySQL and PostgreSQL compatible database in AWS, has a new capability generally available – Aurora Serverless MySQL. Amazon first showed a preview of this serverless ability at AWS re:Invent last year. 

The new GA release of Aurora Serverless MySQL is an evolution of Aurora towards a serverless service – automatically starting, scaling, and shutting down database capacity with per-second billing for applications with less predictable usage patterns. Furthermore, Aurora Serverless capability offers the database capacity without the need to provision, scale, and manage any servers. Customers can leverage this serverless option in Aurora by creating an endpoint through the AWS Management Console, and Aurora Serverless takes it from that point onward. 

To use the Serverless option in Aurora for MySQL, a user can through the Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) console create an Amazon Aurora database and choose the MySQL 5.6-compatible engine, which currently supports the serverless capability. 

 
Source: https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/aurora-serverless-ga/

Subsequently, the user selects the capacity type, i.e. the minimum and a maximum number of so-called Aurora Capacity Units (ACU) to be consumed. According to the blog post about the GA release, the ACUs are billed per-second, with a five-minute minimum, and a cluster will auto scale between the specified minimum and maximum number of ACUs. Furthermore, the rules and metrics for autoscaling will be automatically created by Aurora Serverless including CPU utilization and the number of connections. 

The autoscaling is a crucial characteristic of serverless- the Aurora Serverless capability enables detecting when a cluster requires more capacity and retrieves that capacity from a pool of database resources. Within seconds Aurora can deal with increased traffic, and in the case there is no activity, the cluster can even automatically scale down to zero. Thus cost savings apply when using Aurora Serverless in environment running applications with variable load or infrequent demand. 


Source: https://docs.aws.amazon.com/AmazonRDS/latest/UserGuide/aurora-serverless.how-it-works.html#aurora-serverless.how-it-works.auto-scaling

Finally, after a user specifies the capacity, it can create the database and wait until the cluster becomes available. The cluster is manageable through a console, which provides insights into connections, CPU utilization, and more.

Randall Hunt, senior technical evangelist at AWS, explains in the same blog post on the GA-release, what occurs on the AWS platform when a user provisions an Aurora Serverless database:

•    It creates an Aurora storage volume replicated across multiple AZs
•    It creates an endpoint in your VPC for the application to connect to
•    It configures a network load balancer (invisible to the customer) behind that endpoint
•    It configures multi-tenant request routers to route database traffic to the underlying instances
•    It provisions the initial minimum instance capacity


Source: https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/aurora-serverless-ga/

More details on Aurora Serverless are available in the documentation.

With the release of Aurora, Serverless customers will see a highly anticipated capability become available. Arun Varadarajan, vice president, AI and Analytics at Cognizant, said in a business wire article on Amazon Aurora Serverless:

The launch of Amazon Aurora Serverless has been highly anticipated by the market. It complements several of our offerings, including Cognizant Adaptive Data Foundation, a solution which enables the creation of cloud-based, holistic data strategies requiring insights, scale and speed. Amazon Aurora Serverless will enhance products like Cognizant Lab Insights, an intelligent, connected lab performance management solution because a serverless database architecture supports the intermittent data usage requirements of lab environments and provides better flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness.

Aurora Serverless for MySQL is available in US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), Europe (Ireland), Asia Pacific (Tokyo) and pricing details are available on the pricing page (serverless pricing).

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