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InfoQ Homepage News AWS Introduces Preview of Aurora Serverless v2

AWS Introduces Preview of Aurora Serverless v2

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During the first keynote of re:Invent 2020, AWS announced the next version of Amazon Aurora Serverless in preview. The new serverless version for the MySQL 5.7-compatible edition of Amazon Aurora scales in fraction of a second and introduces multi-AZ support, global databases, and read replicas.

The product page highlights the main improvements, including the ability to scale to hundreds of thousands of transactions in milliseconds and the autoscaling occurring in small capacity adjustments. A key difference between the two versions is the way the incremental capacity works: instead of doubling instance sizes at every scale up, Aurora Serverless v2 scales in increments of 0.5 Aurora capacity units (ACU). Furthermore the new service supports multiple availability zones and will add enterprise features currently available only on the standard Amazon Aurora. The choice to introduce a v2 version, instead of adding incrementally new features to the existing product, is not a common AWS choice but highlights the very different autoscaling and design of the new Aurora Serverless. Even if it is still in preview, there have been positive responses from developers and database specialists showing interests in the new managed serverless relational database. Christian Abdel-Nour, senior Oracle database specialist, comments:

Having helplessly watched non-cloud systems fluctuate between resource wastage and deficits, the presentation on the scaling benefits of Aurora Serverless v2 was eye-opening.

Jeremy Daly, chief technology officer at AlertMe and AWS Serverless Hero, performed some detailed tests and wrote a long review "Aurora Serverless v2: The Good, the Better, and the Possibly Amazing". He highlights some of the limitation of the previous Aurora Serverless and the advantages of the new one:

Over the last 18 months, we’ve seen some improvements to the product, but there were still loads of problems with the scale up/down speeds, failover time, and lack of Aurora provisioned cluster features (...) That all changed with the introduction of Amazon Aurora Serverless v2. I finally got access to the preview and spent a few hours trying to break it. My first impression? This thing might just be a silver bullet! (...) Beyond the amazing scaling capabilities is the fact that it supports the full breadth of Aurora features, including Global Database, Multi-AZ deployments, and read replicas.

Many of the new advanced features are not yet available during the preview phase that focuses on presenting the new scaling characteristics. For example, the Data API, Aurora global databases, Performance Insights, Aurora multi-master, RDS proxy and the pause capacity feature are still missing.

One of the challenging aspects of the new service is pricing. Even if Amazon claims that customers can save up to 90% of database costs (versus sizing for peak load) and suggests that most customers will save money moving from Aurora Serverless v1 to v2, different deployments and database patterns make direct comparison difficult. Jeremy Daly adds:

There’s no way to sugar coat this. The cost of Aurora Serverless v2 seems very high. In fact, v2 ACUs are twice the price of the original v1 ACUs (...) However, there are some important distinctions here when it comes to how these costs get calculated. One difference has to do with the incremental ACUs of v2 versus the doubling of instance sizes required for v1 (...) The other difference has to do with the scale down time.

The preview is currently available only in US East (N. Virginia), supports MySQL 5.7 and requires admission to the preview.

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