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Amazon Relational Database Service
User Guide (API Version 2014-10-31)

IAM Database Authentication for MySQL and Amazon Aurora

With Amazon RDS for MySQL or Aurora with MySQL compatibility, you can authenticate to your DB instance or DB cluster using AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) database authentication. With this authentication method, you don't need to use a password when you connect to a DB instance. Instead, you use an authentication token.

An authentication token is a unique string of characters that Amazon RDS generates on request. Authentication tokens are generated using AWS Signature Version 4. Each token has a lifetime of 15 minutes. You don't need to store user credentials in the database, because authentication is managed externally using IAM. You can also still use standard database authentication.

IAM database authentication provides the following benefits:

  • Network traffic to and from the database is encrypted using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).

  • You can use IAM to centrally manage access to your database resources, instead of managing access individually on each DB instance or DB cluster.

  • For applications running on Amazon EC2, you can use EC2 instance profile credentials to access the database instead of a password, for greater security.

Availability for IAM Database Authentication

IAM database authentication is available for the following database engines and instance classes:

  • MySQL 5.6, minor version 5.6.34 or higher. All instance classes are supported, except for db.m1.small.

  • MySQL 5.7, minor version 5.7.16 or higher. All instance classes are supported, except for db.m1.small.

  • Amazon Aurora 1.10 or higher. All instance classes are supported, except for db.t2.small.

Limitations for IAM Database Authentication

With IAM database authentication, you are limited to a maximum of 20 connections per second. If you are using a db.t2.micro instance class, the limit is 10 connections per second.

The Amazon RDS for MySQL and Aurora MySQL database engines do not impose any limits on authentication attempts per second. However, when you use IAM database authentication, your application must generate an authentication token. Your application then uses that token to connect to the DB instance or cluster. If you exceed the maximum connection-per-second limit, then the extra overhead of IAM database authentication can cause connection throttling. The extra overhead can even cause existing connections to drop.

We recommend the following:

  • Use IAM database authentication as a mechanism for temporary, personal access to databases.

  • Don't use IAM database authentication if your application requires more than the maximum number of connections.

  • Use IAM database authentication only for workloads that can be easily retried.

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