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Deploy an Aurora Global Database

Amazon Aurora Global Database is designed for globally distributed applications, allowing a single Amazon Aurora database to span multiple AWS regions. It replicates your data with no impact on database performance, enables fast local reads with low latency in each region, and provides disaster recovery from region-wide outages.

This lab contains the following tasks:

  1. Create a lab environment in a different region
  2. Create an Aurora global cluster

This lab requires the following prerequisites:

1. Create a lab environment in a different region

Using Multiple Regions

Due to the multi-region nature of a Global Database, you will often be switching between two regions to accomplish the tasks in this lab. Please be mindful that you are performing the actions in the proper region, as some of the resources created are very similar between the two regions.

We will refer to the region where your current DB cluster is deployed, and you have been working in so far, as your primary region.

We will refer to the region where you will deploy the secondary, read-only DB cluster as the secondary region.

To simplify the getting started experience with the labs, we have created foundational templates for AWS CloudFormation that provision the resources needed for the lab environment. These templates are designed to deploy a consistent networking infrastructure, and client-side experience of software packages and components used in the lab.

Click Launch Stack below to provision a lab environment in the US East (N Virginia, us-east-1) region to support the Aurora Global Database.

Launch Stack

In the field named Stack Name, ensure the value auroralab is preset. Accept all default values for the remaining parameters.

Scroll to the bottom of the page, check the box that reads: I acknowledge that AWS CloudFormation might create IAM resources with custom names and then click Create stack.

Create Stack

The stack will take approximatively 10 minutes to provision, you can monitor the status on the Stack detail page. You can monitor the progress of the stack creation process by refreshing the Events tab. The latest event in the list will indicate CREATE_COMPLETE for the stack resource.

Stack Status

Once the status of the stack is CREATE_COMPLETE, click on the Outputs tab. The values here will be critical to the completion of the remainder of the lab. Please take a moment to save these values somewhere that you will have easy access to them during the remainder of the lab. The names that appear in the Key column are referenced directly in the instructions in subsequent steps, using the parameter format: [outputKey].

Stack Outputs

2. Create an Aurora global cluster

The lab environment that was provisioned automatically for you, already has an Aurora MySQL DB cluster, that you are running the load generator against. You will create a Global Database cluster using this existing DB cluster, as the primary.

'Global cluster' vs. 'DB cluster': What is the difference?

A DB cluster exists in one region only. It is a container for up to 16 DB instances that share the same storage volume. This is the traditional configuration of an Aurora cluster. Whether you are deploying a provisioned, Serverless or Multi-Master cluster, you are deploying a DB cluster, within a single region.

A Global [database] cluster is a container for several DB clusters each located in a different region, that act as a cohesive database. A global cluster is comprised of a primary [DB] cluster in one given region that is able to accept writes, and up to 5 secondary [DB] clusters that are read-only each in a different region. Each one of the DB clusters in a given global cluster have their own storage volume, however data is replicated from the primary cluster to each of the secondary clusters asynchronously, using a purpose-built low latency and high throughput replication system.

Once the lab environment created above at Step 1. Create a lab environment in a different region has finished deploying, you may proceed.

Open the Amazon RDS service console at the MySQL DB cluster details page in the primary region. If you navigated to the RDS console by means other than the link in this paragraph, click on the auroralab-mysql-cluster in the Databases section of the RDS service console, and make sure you are back in the primary regions.

Region Check

Ensure you are still working in the primary region, especially if you are following the links above to open the service console at the right screen.

First, you need to disable the Backtrack feature. At present database backtrack is not compatible with Aurora Global Databases, and a cluster with that feature active cannot be converted into a global database. Select the auroralab-mysql-cluster and click the Modify button.


If you have not completed the Backtrack a DB Cluster lab already, and wish to do so, or have been instructed to do so part of the event, please complete that lab now before moving forward. Once disabled, you will not be able to re-enable the backtrack feature on an existing DB cluster.

RDS Cluster Modify

Scroll down to the Additional Configuration section (expand it if needed) and uncheck the Enable Backtrack option, then click Continue at the bottom of the page.

RDS Cluster Disable Backtrack

In the Scheduling of modifications section, choose the Apply immediately option, then click Modify cluster to confirm the changes.

RDS Cluster Confirm Changes

Once the modification is complete, and the DB cluster is in an available state again, from the Actions dropdown button, choose Add region.


You may need to refresh the web browser page after disabling Backtrack, before you can add a region. If Add region appears greyed out, please refresh the web browser page, or verify Backtrack was disabled correctly.

RDS Cluster Add Region

Set the following options on the configuration screen for the secondary DB cluster:

  1. In the Global database settings section:

    • Set Global database identifier to auroralab-mysql-global
  2. In the AWS Region section:

    • Choose the Secondary region of US East (N. Virginia)
  3. In the Connectivity section, specify where the database cluster will be deployed within your defined network configuration created above:

    • Set Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) to auroralab-vpc
    • Ensure the correct Subnet Group was selected automatically, it should be named auroralab-db-subnet-group.
    • Make sure the Publicly accessible option is set to No
    • For VPC security group select Choose existing and pick the security group named auroralab-database-sg, remove any other security groups, such as default from the selection
  4. In the Read replica write forwarding section:

    • Check the box for Enable read replica write forwarding
  5. Expand the Advanced configuration section, and configure the following options:

    • Set DB instance identifier to auroralab-mysql-node-3
    • Set DB cluster identifier to auroralab-mysql-secondary
    • For DB cluster parameter group select the group with the stack name in the name (e.g. auroralab-[...])
    • For DB parameter group select the group with the stack name in the name (e.g. auroralab-[...])
    • Set Backup retention period to 1 day
    • Check the box for Enable Performance Insights
    • Set Retention period to Default (7 days)
    • Set Master key to [default] aws/rds
    • Check the box for Enable Enhanced Monitoring
    • Set Granularity to 1 second
    • Set Monitoring Role to auroralab-monitor-[secondary-region]


Please note there are two monitoring roles in the list, one for the primary region (the one in the top right corner of your web page), the other for the secondary region (typically us-east-1). At this step, you need the secondary region one.

RDS Cluster Add Region

What do these selections mean?

You will create a global cluster, a secondary DB cluster, and DB instance in that secondary cluster, with associated configurations in one step. Your existing DB cluster will become the primary DB cluster in the new global cluster. These are distinct API calls to the RDS service should you create a global cluster using the AWS CLI, SDKs or other tools. The RDS service console, simply combines these distinct steps into a single operation.

Click Add region to provision the global cluster.


Creating a global cluster based on the existing DB cluster is a seamless operation, your workload will not experience any disruption. You can monitor the performance metrics of the load generator started above, throughout this operation to validate.

The global cluster, including the secondary DB cluster and instance may take up to 30 minutes to provision.

In order to connect to the DB cluster and start using it, you need to retrieve the DB cluster endpoints. Unlike a regular DB cluster, only the Reader Endpoint is provisioned. The Cluster Endpoint is not being provisioned, as secondary DB clusters only contain readers, and cannot accept writes. The Reader Endpoint will always resolve to one of the reader DB instances and should be used for low latency read operations within that region. In the RDS console, go to the DB cluster detail view by clicking on the cluster DB identifier for the secondary DB cluster, named auroralab-mysql-secondary.

The Endpoints section in the Connectivity and security tab of the details page displays the endpoints. Note these values down, as you will use them later.

RDS Cluster Secondary Endpoints