Understanding Aurora MySQL: 4 Comprehensive Aspects

Abhinav Chola • Last Modified: December 29th, 2022

Aurora MySQL: Featured image

Businesses perform countless transactions on a daily basis. They rely on robust databases to keep track of the transactions and maintain a level of accountability. Now, as the data grows, their database requirement also amplifies. Companies then turn towards Database Management Systems to provide a structure for their data and database instances. MySQL and Amazon Aurora are 2 such popular DBMS in the market.

MySQL provides a fully managed service that allows developers to deploy secure, cloud-native applications and store the required data. Moreover, with MySQL, users can start their analytical operations on the data as soon as it arrives in the database. The Amazon Aurora on the other hand is a DBMS that utilizes the AWS Cloud facilities and is compatible with MySQL and Postgres. It is relatively new but offers high processing power and scalability to the users. Today, organizations are drawn towards using these two tools together to bolster their growth.

This article will introduce you to Amazon Aurora and MySQL along with their features. It will explain the working of Aurora MySQL and will list down the best practices that you must follow to get optimal results from this tool. Read along to understand the benefit of Aurora MySQL for your business and start using it today!

Table of Contents

What is Amazon Aurora?

Aurora MySQL: Aurora Logo
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Amazon Aurora is a popular database engine that contains a rich feature set and can import databases from  MySQL and PostgreSQL seamlessly. It offers enterprise-grade performance and automates all traditional database tasks. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about manually managing processes like data backups, hardware provisioning, software updates, and many more.

Aurora provides high scalability and can replicate data across multiple zones through its multiAZ deployment tool. This implies users can have their pick among various hardware specifications to suit their particular use cases. Moreover, Aurora’s server-less feature controls the scalability of your databases and automatically upscale or downscale your storage when required. This mode charges you money only for the time the database is active. 

Key Features of Amazon Aurora

Amazon Aurora’s popularity is due to its following features:

  • Exceptional Performance: Amazon utilizes software and hardware tweaks that allow the Aurora database engine to take full advantage of Amazon’s available resources in terms of computing, memory, and networks. This way Aurora provides performance that is much higher than its peers.
  • Scalability: Depending on your database usage, Amazon Aurora will automatically grow from a minimum of 10 GB storage to 64 TB in increments of 10 GB at a time. This will have no adverse effect on its database performance and you don’t have to worry about allocating storage provision every time your business grows. 
  • Data Backups: Amazon Aurora offers automatic, incremental, and continuous backups without interfering with the database performance. This way, it eliminates the hassle of frequently taking data snapshots to maintain data recovery. 

You can learn more about Amazon Aurora here.

What is MySQL?

Aurora MySQL: MySQL Logo
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MySQL, developed in 1995, is a powerful database management system. This  DBMS uses SQL (Structured Query Language) to deploy data-related operations. Its basic version offers an open-source platform that anyone can easily access and fulfill their data management needs. However, advanced versions of MySQL designed to meet your specific needs, are available only for a monthly fee. Due to its numerous features and benefits, businesses today rely on the MySQL platform for a scalable and reliable data solution. 

The simplicity of MySQL gives it a clear advantage over its peer DBMS platforms, including Oracle databases and Microsoft SQL Server. Moreover, you can, without any extra cost, deploy MySQL with your preferred programming languages. On top of that, MySQL can also integrate and work with Linux, Unix, Windows, and other operating systems. Another convenience of using this RDBMS is that depending on your needs, you can work with MySQL directly from a server or after installing it on your local system.

Key Features of MySQL

The following features make MySQL a popular DBMS in the market: 

  • High performance: The MySQL engine operates at high data processing levels paired with a simple user interface. Moreover, it can host multiple users easily and allow them to access this platform from any location. 
  • Compatibility: MySQL provides you with the benefits of high-speed and low-latency data transactions. Furthermore, it provides you with the ecosystem to deploy web development tools. 
  • Scalability: The MySQL platform lets you scale up or down at any time. It also adapts seamlessly to popular operating systems such as Linux, OS X, Windows, etc.

To get more details regarding MySQL, visit here.

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Aurora MySQL on AWS Deployment

The QuickStart feature of Aurora is built to cater to the needs of users who wish to utilize a customized architecture for developing Aurora MySQL with the help of AWS Cloud Formation. You can deploy an ecosystem for Amazon Aurora MySQL Database on the AWS Cloud via QuickStart. Amazon Aurora is easily compatible with platforms like MySQL and PostgreSQL. Moreover, with Aurora, you can leverage the tools, and features provided by the MySQL and PostgreSQL databases. Aurora can even take this a step further by providing up to five times the throughput that you get with MySQL, without requiring any changes to existing applications. 

Quick Start can also be useful if you deploy it as a building block for your other automated deployments. You need to use the existing VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) deployment feature so that Aurora will only create database components. The template in VPC will connect to the existing AWS CloudFormation templates and can easily replace your MySQL database. 

You can deploy the Aurora MySQL environment using your AWS account by following the given steps:

  • Step 1: Log into your AWS account and locate QuickStart. If you don’t have an account, sign up using this link.
  • Step 2: Launch the Quick Start tool and choose the AWS Region option located in the top toolbar. You can choose to launch this tool using the following 2 options:
    • Deploy QuickStart into a new VPC
    • Deploy QuickStart into one of the existing VPC
  • Step 3: Now, test whether the deployment is working and ensure that your MySQL database is accepting connections.

The deployment process will approximately take 30 minutes to finish.

Working of Aurora MySQL

Aurora MySQL: Aurora Architecture
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Database Instances, Clusters, and Endpoints form the major components of Amazon Aurora. These components work together to deliver results for your business in the following ways:

  • Amazon Aurora operates on a database instance cluster rather than working with a single database instance. In this process, every Aurora connection is managed by a specific database instance. During an Aurora cluster connection setup, the hostname and port number point to an intermediate handler known as an endpoint. Aurora deploys this endpoint-based mechanism to keep its multiple connections abstract. This safeguards you from manually hardcoding all the hostnames and creating a custom script for load-balancing and rerouting database instances.
  • Different Aurora tasks require different instances to perform various roles. For example, the Primary instance manages all DDL (Data Definition Language) and DML (Data Manipulation Language) statements. 
  • Aurora Endpoints enable you to map each cluster connection to the correct instance based on your summary of use cases. For example, you can connect to the 32 Amazon Aurora User Guide to manage DDL statements. Moreover, for clusters with database instances of varying capacities, you can connect to custom endpoints related to different subsets of database instances.

Best Practices of Aurora MySQL Databases

The Aurora MySQL combination can provide you with many features and benefits. However, to gain the optimal results, you need to ensure the following practices are met:

Aurora MySQL Best Practice: Using Smart Drivers

Smart Driver is a database tool that is capable of reading the database cluster topology directly from the metadata table. It can also route new connections and link them with single instance endpoints. These drivers act independently and do not rely on  Amazon’s high-level cluster endpoints. MariaDB Connector is a popular Smart Driver that specializes in Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) for native Aurora MySQL DB  clusters. Furthermore, developers can use the MariaDB driver as an example to create drivers for other programming languages. The main advantage of a smart driver is that it can automate certain levels of connectivity from the database.

Aurora MySQL Best Practice: DNS Caching

Your work with Amazon Azure will have a direct impact on your DNS(Domain Name System) Caching. You need to manually set the right configurations for DNS caching to control its stage and place of occurrence. Java Virtual Machines (JVMs) for example, are notorious for performing DNS Caching indefinitely unless you configure them otherwise. 

You can face the following issues if there is no proper DNS caching plan in place:

  • Once a Database instance is scaled, applications won’t be able to connect with it. This is because untimely DNS caching causes applications to send requests to the old IP address of that instance, which however is no longer valid.
  • DNS Caching can make Aurora Replicas go through unequal utilization. For example, due to DNS caching, it is possible for one database instance to receive significantly more traffic as compared to other instances.

Aurora MySQL Best Practice: Transaction Management

You must regularly check and validate connections even if they’re not borrowed. The benefit of this periodic checking is that it will allow you to detect and clean up broken connections before any application thread tries to use them. 

You must not allow connections to remain in the pool indefinitely. A better approach is to recycle them by closing and reopening them systematically (for example, every 10 to 15 minutes. This way you can free up the resources acquired by these connections. Furthermore, It helps prevent risky situations like runaway queries, zombie connections, etc. that clients have abandoned. 

Benefits of Aurora MySQL

Using the Aurora MySQL combination can provide you with the following benefits:

  • The performance of Amazon Aurora delivers approximately 5 times the throughput of MySQL and 3 times the throughput of PostgreSQL in a similar time duration. Moreover, it allows for fast scalability and automates the process of scaling your small database instances into larger ones (up to 128 TB space per Database).
  • Amazon Aurora delivers high availability (99.99%) by replicating at least 6 copies of your data across as many as 3 Availability Zones and storing it in Amazon S3.  Using its Global Database, even a single Aurora Database instance can span multiple AWS Regions and enable rapid local reads and disaster recovery mechanisms. Furthermore, it allows you to revert to a previous checkpoint within seconds while recovering from user errors.
  • Amazon Aurora secures your databases using a multi-layered security mechanism. It uses Amazon VPC to isolate the network layers to prevent them from external influence, provide encryption via AWS Key Management Service (KMS) when data is at rest, and offer encryption of transit data via Secure Socket Layer (SSL)
  • Using Amazon Aurora, you don’t have to worry about managing database-related tasks like hardware provisioning, patching up software, configuration, backup, etc. It will automatically track your data, create backups and store them in Amazon S3. This facilitates granular point-in-time recovery of your data. Moreover, the Amazon CloudWatch enables you to manually monitor database performance. It also provides you with simple tools that can help you catch performance issues early and derive insights from your data.


The article introduced you to Aurora and MySQL along with their important features. It then discussed the components of Aurora MySQL Databases and listed the best practices of using these tools. Furthermore, the article explained the working and deployment of Aurora MySQL Databases. The article also listed the major benefits that these tools can add to your business.

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