There are many use cases for SSH tunnels as they allow accessing resources behind firewalls and other obstacles over a secure channel. Since more and more services are containerized, it makes sense to use SSH tunnels also within the context of containers, especially for testing. Using SSH tunnels within Docker containers would require installing an SSH client and mounting keys. In many cases this is not possible without building a new Docker image which includes the client.
There seems to be a problem with the older MySQL driver and IntelliJ Ultimate. When I tried to connect to a remote MySQL instance using a tunnel, IntelliJ would refuse to connect. IntelliJ would show an error similar to the following: Cannot connect to a database. Tried three times. The linked online help page was not really helpful. I could create the tunnel manually and verify the settings, all seemed fine.