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I see that in your template you do not specify the INITIAL size of the autoscaling group. In my opinion you should state it (else, it could takes an arbitrary or random value, for example "2"), i.e. something like:

desired_capacity: 1 (or the number you really want to start with).

Note: of course, as you know, this is the initial number of VM to be instantiated, after this number can go up or down depending in the load For TESTING purpose (I mean to see how it works) let me suggest you too to use a wider range for VM possible variation, for example: asg: type: OS::Heat::AutoScalingGroup properties: min_size: 1 max_size: 5 desired_capacity: 3

Besides, please also note than according to your threshold definition for the AUTOMATIC scaling (“up” or “down”) it won't happen anything in the range between 15% and 50% of the %cpu_util. Once again, for TESTING purposes, it could be a good idea to change those thresholds, and so forth.