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  • Amazon aurora is also managed by Amazon RDS.
  • Aurora is a distributed, fault-tolerant, self-healing storage system that auto-scales up to 128TB per database instance.
  • Aurora supports Postgres and MySQL.
  • Aurora is cloud optimised which means you can gain 5x performance over MySQL on RDS and 3x performance over Postgres on RDS. But more expensive (20%) than RDS.
  • Aurora storage automatically grows from 10GB to 128TB.
  • We can have upto 15 read replicas. With RDS MySQL or Postgres we can only have 5.
  • Instantaneous automatic failover (30s).
  • Automatic backups are stored for a maximum of 35 days just like RDS.
  • Aurora can handle highly transactional OLTP workloads. The database is also ACID compliant.
  • It has the same security measures as RDS because it uses the same engines Postgres and MySQL. It also supports IAM based authentication.
    • In Aurora also you have to configure security groups.

High Availability and Read Scaling

  • High availability is built in Aurora. For RDS HA you have to use Multi AZ.
  • For HA it stores multiple copies (6) of you data across AZs.
  • Only one Aurora which is the master takes write.

DB cluster

What is a DB cluster?

If you have read replicas then it is known as a DB cluster. - In a DB cluster we have one master which supports read and writes - We can have several read replicas. - In the event of disaster any of these read replicas can be automatically promoted to the new master.

In RDS you have to use multi AZ for automatic failover. Also the standby instances don't take read requests in aurora they do.

  • Aurora DB cluster uses a cluster volume that manages the data for those DB instances. It is a virtual database storage volume that spans multiple Availability Zones, with each Availability Zone having a copy of the DB cluster data.
  • This is also known as a provisioned DB cluster since you can choose your DB instance class size and create Aurora Replicas to increase read throughput. If your workload changes, you can modify the DB instance class size and change the number of Aurora Replicas. This model works well when the database workload is predictable, because you can adjust capacity manually based on the expected workload.
How can read replicas be promoted to the main DB in case of failure without any replication?

Aurora Replica connects to the same storage cluster volume as the primary DB instance and supports only read operations.

  • So read replicas help in multi AZ setup.
  • attachments/Pasted image 20220421144808.jpg


What happens incase of a failover.

DB Cluster - Read Replica present If you have an Amazon Aurora Replica in the same or a different Availability Zone, when failing over, Amazon Aurora flips the canonical name record (CNAME) for your DB Instance to point at the healthy replica, which in turn is promoted to become the new primary. Start-to-finish, failover typically completes within 30 seconds.

Aurora Serverless If you are running Aurora Serverless and the DB instance or AZ become unavailable, Aurora will automatically recreate the DB instance in a different AZ.

Single Instance - No DB cluster since no read replica. If you do not have an Amazon Aurora Replica (i.e. single instance) and are not running Aurora Serverless, Aurora will attempt to create a new DB Instance in the same Availability Zone as the original instance. If unable to do so, Aurora will attempt to create a new DB Instance in a different Availability Zone and not the other way around.

Read Replicas

  • Read replicas are best when you have dynamic reads. In memory caching services are best when reads are not dynamic.
  • Just like RDS Aurora also supports cross region read replica.
  • Replication time of Aurora Read Replicas is < 1s. For RDS it is greater than 1s.
  • We have a writer(cluster) and a reader endpoint.
  • Read replicas are auto scaling. Reader endpoint takes care of adding the new instances. In short Reader endpoint helps in connection load balancing.
    • attachments/Pasted image 20220421145652.jpg
Read replica promotion priority
  • Each Read Replica is associated with a priority tier (0-15).
  • In the event of a failover, Amazon Aurora will promote the Read Replica that has the highest priority (the lowest numbered tier).
  • If two or more Aurora Replicas share the same priority, then Amazon RDS promotes the replica that is largest in size.
  • If two or more Aurora Replicas share the same priority and size, then Amazon Aurora promotes an arbitrary replica in the same promotion tier.

Custom Endpoints

  • Define a subset of Aurora read replicas with custom end points.
    • attachments/Pasted image 20220421190739.jpg
  • Reader endpoint is generally not used with custom end points.
  • Example use case would be running analytical queries on some specific replicas.
Scenario where to optimise your database workloads in your cluster where you have to direct the write operations of the production traffic to your high-capacity instances and point the reporting queries sent by your internal staff to the low-capacity instances.

Create a custom endpoint in Aurora based on the specified criteria for the production traffic and another custom endpoint to handle the reporting queries.

Aurora Serverless

  • Great for infrequent, intermittent, sporadic or unpredictable workloads. Provisioned DB cluster is not suitable for these kinds of workload.
Whenever you see the word unpredictable or minimising costs then go for Aurora Serverless.
  • Automated database instantiation and auto scaling based on actual usage.
  • No capacity planning.
  • Pay per second can be more cost effective.
How is Aurora serverless more cost effective than normal aurora?

Aurora serverless need not be running when its not being used but the normal aurora (provisioned DB cluster) must always be running. This is how aurora serverless is more cost effective.

  • Also known as a serverless DB cluster.

Aurora Multi Master

  • High HA and immediate fail over.
How is Aurora multi master different from normal aurora?

Each node does R/W instead of promoting a Read replica to master. Since there is no need of promotion fail over is instantaneous.

  • In a multi-master cluster, all DB instances can perform write operations. There isn't any failover when a writer DB instance becomes unavailable, because another writer DB instance is immediately available to take over the work of the failed instance.

  • It has a very specialised use case. Like in applications where you can't afford even brief downtime for database write operations. In most cases you should opt for Global Aurora.

Global Aurora

  • 1 primary region (R/W)
  • Upto 5 secondary read only regions. With 16 read replicas per secondary region.
  • Helps in decreasing latency
  • If you need good RPO (1s) and RTO(1m) go for global aurora.
  • Can promote another region for disaster recovery. Mitigate multi region failure.
Keywords for identifying questions related to aurora: another region, global , decreasing inter region latency, RPO/RTO

Aurora ML

  • Add ML based predictions to your applications via SQL
  • Integration between Aurora and AWS ML services
    • Amazon SageMaker (use with any ML model)
    • Amazon comprehend (for sentiment analysis)
  • Some use cases are fraud detection, ads targeting, sentiment analysis etc.


  • You can invoke an AWS Lambda function from an Amazon Aurora MySQL compatible Edition DB cluster with a native function or a stored procedure.

Last updated: 2022-06-17