IAM database authentication - Amazon Aurora
Services or capabilities described in Amazon Web Services documentation might vary by Region. To see the differences applicable to the China Regions, see Getting Started with Amazon Web Services in China (PDF).

IAM database authentication

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

An authentication token is a unique string of characters that Amazon Aurora generates on request. Authentication tokens are generated using Amazon 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. The token is only used for authentication and doesn't affect the session after it is established.

IAM database authentication provides the following benefits:

  • Network traffic to and from the database is encrypted using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS). For more information about using SSL/TLS with Amazon Aurora, see Using SSL/TLS to encrypt a connection to a DB cluster.

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

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

In general, consider using IAM database authentication when your applications create fewer than 200 connections per second, and you don't want to manage usernames and passwords directly in your application code.

The Amazon Web Services (Amazon) JDBC Driver supports IAM database authentication. For more information, see Amazon IAM Authentication Plugin in the Amazon Web Services (Amazon) JDBC Driver GitHub repository.

The Amazon Web Services (Amazon) Python Driver supports IAM database authentication. For more information, see Amazon IAM Authentication Plugin in the Amazon Web Services (Amazon) Python Driver GitHub repository.

Region and version availability

Feature availability and support varies across specific versions of each Aurora database engine, and across Amazon Web Services Regions. For more information on version and Region availability with Aurora and IAM database authentication, see Supported Regions and Aurora DB engines for IAM database authentication.

For Aurora MySQL, all supported DB instance classes support IAM database authentication, except for db.t2.small and db.t3.small. For information about the supported DB instance classes, see Supported DB engines for DB instance classes.

CLI and SDK support

IAM database authentication is available for the Amazon CLI and for the following language-specific Amazon SDKs:

Limitations for IAM database authentication

When using IAM database authentication, the following limitations apply:

  • The maximum number of connections per second for your DB cluster might be limited depending on its DB instance class and your workload. IAM authentication can fail in case of resource exhaustion during peak DB loads.

  • Currently, IAM database authentication doesn't support all global condition context keys.

    For more information about global condition context keys, see Amazon global condition context keys in the IAM User Guide.

  • For PostgreSQL, if the IAM role (rds_iam) is added to a user (including the RDS master user), IAM authentication takes precedence over password authentication, so the user must log in as an IAM user.

  • For Aurora PostgreSQL, you cannot use IAM authentication to establish a replication connection.

  • You cannot use a custom Route 53 DNS record instead of the DB cluster endpoint to generate the authentication token.

  • CloudWatch and CloudTrail don't log IAM authentication. These services do not track generate-db-auth-token API calls that authorize the IAM role to enable database connection. For more information, see Achieve auditability with Amazon RDS IAM authentication using attribute-based access control .

Recommendations for IAM database authentication

We recommend the following when using IAM database authentication:

  • Use IAM database authentication when your application requires fewer than 200 new IAM database authentication connections per second.

    The database engines that work with Amazon Aurora don't 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 cluster. If you exceed the limit of maximum new connections per second, then the extra overhead of IAM database authentication can cause connection throttling.

    Consider using connection pooling in your applications to mitigate constant connection creation. This can reduce the overhead from IAM DB authentication and allow your applications to reuse existing connections. Alternatively, consider using RDS Proxy for these use cases. RDS Proxy has additional costs. See RDS Proxy pricing.

  • The size of an IAM database authentication token depends on many things including the number of IAM tags, IAM service policies, ARN lengths, as well as other IAM and database properties. The minimum size of this token is generally about 1 KB but can be larger. Since this token is used as the password in the connection string to the database using IAM authentication, you should ensure that your database driver (e.g., ODBC) and/or any tools do not limit or otherwise truncate this token due to its size. A truncated token will cause the authentication validation done by the database and IAM to fail.

  • If you are using temporary credentials when creating an IAM database authentication token, the temporary credentials must still be valid when using the IAM database authentication token to make a connection request.

Unsupported Amazon global condition context keys

IAM database authentication does not support the following subset of Amazon global condition context keys.

  • aws:Referer

  • aws:SourceIp

  • aws:SourceVpc

  • aws:SourceVpce

  • aws:UserAgent

  • aws:VpcSourceIp

For more information, see Amazon global condition context keys in the IAM User Guide.