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Cluster Auto-Scaling

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  • How Atlas Scales Cluster Tier
  • How Atlas Scales Cluster Storage
  • Configure Auto-Scaling Options
  • Acknowledge Auto-Scaling Events
Feature Availability

Atlas enables Cluster Auto-Scaling for M10+ clusters using the General tier clusters.

You can configure your Atlas cluster to automatically scale its cluster tier, storage capacity, or both in response to cluster usage. Cluster auto-scaling removes the need to write scripts or use consulting services to make scaling decisions. To help control costs, you can specify a range of cluster tiers to which your cluster can automatically scale.

Auto-scaling works on a rolling basis, meaning the process does not incur any downtime.

Atlas analyzes the following cluster metrics to determine when to scale a cluster, and whether to scale the cluster tier up or down:

  • CPU Utilization
  • Memory Utilization

To learn more about how to monitor cluster metrics, see View Deployment Metrics.

Before scaling your cluster tier, Atlas checks that the cluster would not be in a tier outside of your specified Minimum and Maximum Cluster Size range.


During a migration, if you restore a snapshot with a larger size than the storage capacity of the destination cluster, the cluster does not automatically scale.

If the next highest cluster tier is within your Maximum Cluster Size range, Atlas scales the cluster up to the next tier if one of the following is true for any node in the cluster:

  • Average CPU Utilization has exceeded 75% for the past hour, or
  • Memory Utilization has exceeded 75% for the past hour.

Atlas scales a cluster to the next tier when the cluster hasn't been scaled up in the past hour.

High-Speed Write Activity

Scaling up to greater storage capacity requires sufficient time to prepare and copy data to new disks. Automatic scaling might not occur when a cluster receives a burst of high-speed write activity, such as a bulk insert. To reduce the risk of running out of disk storage, cluster managers should plan to scale up clusters in advance of bulk inserts and other instances of high-speed write activity.

Tier Availability

Automatic scaling works on General tier clusters but not on the Low-CPU or Local NVMe SSD tier clusters.

If the next lowest cluster tier is within your Minimum Cluster Size range, Atlas scales the cluster down to the next lowest tier if both of the following are true for all nodes in the cluster:

  • The average CPU Utilization and Memory Utilization over the past 24 hours is below 50%, and
  • The cluster has not been scaled down (manually or automatically) in the past 24 hours.

M10 and M20 clusters use lower thresholds to account for caps on CPU usage set by cloud providers after burst periods. These thresholds vary depending on your cloud provider and cluster tier.

To learn more about downward auto-scaling behavior, see Considerations for Downward Auto-Scaling.

Atlas auto-scales the cluster tier for sharded clusters using the same criteria as replica sets. Atlas applies the following rules:

  • Auto-scaling applies to all shards in the sharded cluster. You can't apply auto-scaling for some shards and not for others within the same cluster.
  • If any shard meets the criteria to auto-scale its cluster tier up, all shards will scale their cluster tier up.
  • All shards in the cluster must meet the criteria before Atlas will auto-scale the cluster tier down.
  • The Config server replica set does not auto-scale.

When cluster storage auto-scaling is enabled, Atlas automatically increases cluster storage when disk space used reaches 90%. The scaling behavior differs by cloud provider:

  • On AWS and GCP clusters, Atlas increases cluster storage capacity to achieve 70% disk utilization. For information on AWS storage change limitations and how Atlas works around them, see Changing Storage Capacity or IOPS on AWS.
  • On Azure clusters, Atlas doubles the current amount of cluster storage.

Atlas only automatically scales cluster storage up, and never automatically scales cluster storage down. You can manually reduce your cluster storage from the Edit Cluster page.

When you increase the storage capacity of a cluster, Atlas increases the cluster's oplog size. Atlas scales the oplog to 5% of the cluster capacity, not to exceed 50 GB. NVMe storage requires an oplog which is 10% of the storage capacity. Atlas doesn't change the oplog size if it exceeds 5% of the new storage capacity (10% in the case of NVMe storage).

As cluster storage capacity decreases, Atlas doesn't change the oplog size unless it exceeds a certain maximum determined according to MongoDB best practices.

When Atlas attempts to automatically scale your cluster storage capacity, it may need to scale your storage outside of the bounds supported by your current cluster tier. To help ensure that your cluster does not experience any downtime, Atlas will scale your cluster tier (in addition to cluster storage) to accommodate the new storage capacity.


The maximum storage capacity for an M30 cluster is 480 GB. If you have an M30 cluster with maximum storage allocated and your disk space used reaches 90%, a storage auto-scaling event would require raising your storage capacity to 600 GB. In this case, Atlas scales your cluster tier up to M40, because this is the lowest cluster tier which can support the new required storage capacity.

In the event that your specified maximum cluster tier can't support the new storage capacity, Atlas:

  1. Raises your maximum cluster tier to the next lowest tier that can accommodate the new storage capacity.
  2. Scales your cluster tier to that new maximum tier.

When Atlas overrides your maximum cluster tier, it also disables your cluster from automatically scaling down. If you want to re-enable downward auto-scaling, you must do so manually from your Cluster Settings


If Atlas attempts to scale your cluster tier down and the target tier can't support your current disk capacity, provisioned IOPS, or both, Atlas does not scale your cluster down. In this scenario, Atlas updates your auto-scaling settings based on the relationship between your current cluster tier and configured maximum cluster tier:

  • If the cluster is currently at the configured maximum cluster tier, Atlas disables the cluster from automatically scaling down because all smaller tiers would not be able to accommodate the necessary storage settings. If you want to re-enable downward auto-scaling, you must do so manually from your Cluster Settings.
  • If the cluster is not currently at the configured maximum cluster tier, Atlas raises the minimum cluster tier to the current cluster tier. In this case, Atlas does not disable downward auto-scaling.

This auto-scaling logic is designed to reduce downtime incurred by your storage settings not matching your workload.

When an auto-scaling event modifies your configured minimum or maximum cluster tier, Atlas sends an email to all project members with information on the event. The email includes the new cluster tier and information on any modified minimum or maximum tier bounds.

You can configure auto-scaling options when you create or modify a cluster.

Atlas displays auto-scaling options in the Auto-scale section of the cluster builder:

Image showing the auto-scaling cluster options.

In the Cluster tier section of the Auto-scale options, you can specify the minimum and maximum sizes to which your cluster can automatically scale.

Atlas defaults auto-scaling set to disabled. To enable auto-scaling:

  1. In the Auto-Scale section, check Cluster tier.
  2. Select a Maximum Cluster Size from the dropdown.

When you enable auto-scaling, your cluster can scale to increase capability with a higher cluster tier. To enable auto-scaling to a decrease capability with lower cluster tier:

  1. Check Allow cluster to be scaled down.
  2. Select a Minimum Cluster Size from the dropdown.
  • To permit Atlas downscale your cluster to a lower cluster tier may leave your cluster unable to handle your workload. Only allow Atlas to scale the cluster down if you understand your cluster's range of workloads. Account for any possible spikes or dips in cluster activity.
  • You can't scale to a cluster smaller than M10.
  • When Atlas downscales your cluster, it checks that your minimum cluster tier bound supports your cluster's current disk configuration. If your selected minimum cluster tier can't support your current disk configuration, Atlas adjusts your minimum tier to the next lowest tier which can support your configuration.


    You have set your auto-scaling bounds to M10-M60 and your current cluster tier is M40. Atlas triggers a downward auto-scaling event because the average CPU Utilization and Memory Utilization on your current cluster has been under 50% for the past 24 hours.

    1. Atlas attempts to auto-scale your cluster down to M30. M30 supports your current disk configuration, so the auto-scaling operation succeeds.
    2. Atlas checks your minimum cluster bound (M10) and determines that M10 can't support your current disk configuration.
    3. Atlas determines that M20 is the lowest cluster tier which can support your current disk configuration, and sets your minimum cluster tier to M20.

Cluster storage scaling is enabled by default. To opt out of cluster storage scaling, un-check the Storage checkbox in the Auto-scale section.

For more information on cluster storage, see Customize Cluster Storage.

When an auto-scaling event occurs:

  • Atlas logs the event in the project Activity Feed. To learn more about the Activity Feed, see View All Activity.
  • Atlas sends an email to all project members with information on the event. The email includes the original cluster tier and the new cluster tier after auto-scaling has occurred.
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