If you have an ElastiCache Memcached cluster that you no longer need, it’s better to delete it. Dno’t believe me? Even AWS said so too:

It is almost always a good idea to delete clusters that you are not actively using. Until a cluster’s status is deleted, you continue to incur charges for it. [1]

Well, I have a Memcached cluster that I don’t need anymore. But instead of deleting this cluster using AWS console [1], I’m going to do this via AWS CLI.

The first step is to identify the cache’s cluster to delete by finding its ID. To do that, we can use describe-cache-clusters [2] to show or list all cluster IDs.

❯ aws elasticache describe-cache-clusters \
--query "CacheClusters[].{CacheClusterId:CacheClusterId}" \
--output table
|   CacheClusterId    |
|  test-enc-cache     |

In my case, I only have 1 cluster, and its ID is test-enc-cache.

With that ID, we can use another command, delete-cache-cluster [3] to delete it:

❯ aws elasticache delete-cache-cluster --cache-cluster-id test-enc-cache
    "CacheCluster": {
        "CacheClusterId": "test-enc-cache",
        "ConfigurationEndpoint": {
            "Address": "test-enc-cache.xxxxxx.cfg.apse2.cache.amazonaws.com",
            "Port": 11211
        "ClientDownloadLandingPage": "https://console.aws.amazon.com/elasticache/home#client-download:",
        "CacheNodeType": "cache.t4g.medium",
        "Engine": "memcached",
        "EngineVersion": "1.6.17",
        "CacheClusterStatus": "deleting",
        "NumCacheNodes": 1,
        "PreferredAvailabilityZone": "ap-southeast-2a",
        "CacheClusterCreateTime": "2023-09-29T08:37:10.022000+00:00",
        "PreferredMaintenanceWindow": "fri:14:00-fri:15:00",
        "PendingModifiedValues": {},
        "CacheSecurityGroups": [],
        "CacheParameterGroup": {
            "CacheParameterGroupName": "default.memcached1.6",
            "ParameterApplyStatus": "in-sync",
            "CacheNodeIdsToReboot": []
        "CacheSubnetGroupName": "web-demo",
        "AutoMinorVersionUpgrade": true,
        "SecurityGroups": [
                "SecurityGroupId": "sg-11111111111111111",
                "Status": "active"
        "TransitEncryptionEnabled": true,
        "AtRestEncryptionEnabled": false,
        "ARN": "arn:aws:elasticache:ap-southeast-2:444444444444:cluster:test-enc-cache",
        "ReplicationGroupLogDeliveryEnabled": false,
        "LogDeliveryConfigurations": [],
        "NetworkType": "ipv4",
        "IpDiscovery": "ipv4"

The output is pretty verbose, but what we need to pay attention is:

        "CacheClusterStatus": "deleting",

It’s normal to take more than a few minutes to delete a cluster. Sometimes it could take even longer depending on your cluster’s size and configuration.

To confirm if the cluster has been deleted, we can run the command:

❯ aws elasticache describe-cache-clusters --cache-cluster-id test-enc-cache

An error occurred (CacheClusterNotFound) when calling the DescribeCacheClusters operation: CacheCluster not found: test-enc-cache