7–9 November 2016: Conference & Tutorials
9–10 November 2016: Training
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

When a bigger boat is not an option: The path to Aurora

Mario Kostelac (Intercom)
16:10–16:50 Monday, 7/11/2016
Reimaging DevOps, security, and infrastructure DevOps Emerald Room & Lounge Audience level: Intermediate
Average rating: ****.
(4.20, 5 ratings)

Prerequisite knowledge

  • A basic understanding of databases

What you'll learn

  • Learn how Intercom moved from MySQL to Aurora, which gave Intercom an extra year before it took its next scaling steps
  • Understand the problems that came with that migration and some solutions
  • See how Intercom did a hot swap of its main database without losing a single row


Data stores are the backbone of every modern application. For growing startups like Intercom, it’s natural for the load on data stores to grow on a weekly basis. The solution to this problem for most companies is the same—just get a bigger box from Amazon.

Intercom discovered it needed the biggest box and more. Mario Kostelac shares Intercom’s journey to the biggest MySQL instance on Amazon RDS and explains how AWS Aurora saved Intercom’s scaling when it quickly became too small. In short, Mario explains how Intercom moved a live database with more than two billion rows with almost no downtime and without losing a single row. It’s a story that anyone working on infrastructure at a growing company will be able to relate to.

Along the way, Mario outlines how Intercom went about choosing another data store and how it arrived at AWS Aurora, the latest Amazon database. Mario also covers the benefits of moving to such a datastore, the problems it introduced, and the new ability for scaling that was not there before.

Photo of Mario Kostelac

Mario Kostelac


Mario Kostelac is a full stack product engineer at Intercom, a highly successful and fast-growing technology startup that provides customer communication software to Internet businesses. While at Intercom, Mario has worked across several teams leading initiatives that range from database migrations to backend distributed systems to building some of Intercom’s most successful recent product features like Facebook integration for support teams. Prior to Intercom, Mario interned at Palantir and Microsoft.