Aurora Serverless

This page contains information about using the Aurora Serverless service in Handel. This service provides a “serverless” instance of Aurora (MySQL).


Aurora Serverless is not appropriate for all workloads. Review the Use Cases before choosing this service.

Service Limitations

No Option Group Support

This service doesn’t allow you to specify any custom options in an option group. It does allow you specify custom parameters in a parameter group, however.

No Update Support

This service intentionally does not support updates. Once a database is created, certain updates to the database will cause a new database to be created and the old one deleted. In an effort to avoid unwanted data loss, we don’t update this service automatically. You can still modify the database and parameter group manually in the AWS console.


Make sure you know what you’re doing when you modify your RDS database in the AWS Console. Certain actions will cause database downtime, and some may even cause the database to be recreated.


Parameter Type Required Default Description
type string Yes   This must always be aurora-serverless for this service type.
engine string Yes   The Aurora engine you wish to use. Allowed values: ‘mysql’
version string Yes   The version of MySQL you wish to run. Allowed values for MySQL: ‘5.6.10a’
database_name string Yes   The name of your database in your Aurora cluster.
description string No   The description on the resources created for the cluster
scaling Scaling Configuration No   Cluster capacity scaling configuration
cluster_parameters map<string, string> No   A list of key/value Aurora cluster parameter group pairs to configure your cluster. You will need to look in the AWS Console to see the list of available cluster parameters for Aurora.
tags Resource Tags No   Any tags you wish to apply to this Aurora instance.

Scaling Configuration

The scaling section is defined by the following schema:

Parameter Type Required Default Description
auto_pause boolean No true Whether to automatically pause this database if it has been idle for a specified time.
seconds_until_auto_pause number No 300 (5 minutes) How long the database must be idle before it can be paused.
min_capacity One of 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, or 256 No 2 The minimum capacity (in Aurora Compute Units)
max_capacity One of 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, or 256 No 64 The maximum capacity (in Aurora Compute Units)

Example Handel File

version: 1

name: aurora-serverless-test

        type: aurora-serverless
        engine: mysql
        version: 5.6.10a
        database_name: MyDb
            min_capacity: 2
            max_capacity: 16
            auto_pause: true
            seconds_until_auto_pause: 600 # 10 minutes
        cluster_parameters: # This is where you can set parameters that configure the cluster as a whole
            character_set_database: utf8mb4
            some: tag

Depending on this service

The Aurora Serverless service outputs the following environment variables:

Environment Variable Description
<SERVICE_NAME>_CLUSTER_ENDPOINT The address that you should use for writes to the database.
<SERVICE_NAME>_READ_ENDPOINT The address that you should use for reads to the database.
<SERVICE_NAME>_PORT The port on which the Aurora cluster instances are listening.
<SERVICE_NAME>_DATABASE_NAME The name of the database in your Aurora cluster.

See Environment Variable Names for information about how the service name is included in the environment variable name.

In addition, the Aurora service puts the following credentials into the EC2 parameter store:

Parameter Name Description
<parameter_prefix>.<service_name>.db_username The username for your database user.
<parameter_prefix>.<service_name>.db_password The password for your database user.


The <parameter_prefix> section of the parameter name is a consistent prefix applied to all parameters injected by services in the EC2 Parameter Store. See Parameter Store Prefix for information about the structure of this prefix.

The <service_name> section of the parameter name should be replaced by the service name you gave your database in your Handel file.


Aurora Serverless does not actually differentiate between read endpoints and write endpoints, like Aurora does. However, a common use case for Aurora Serverless is to run non-production workloads and to run the production workloads using provisioned Aurora. In order to make this use case simpler, the Aurora-Serverless Handel service mimics the variables set by the provisioned Aurora service.

Events produced by this service

The Aurora service does not produce events for other Handel services to consume.

Events consumed by this service

The Aurora service does not consume events from other Handel services.