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Amazon Web Services Moves into New Territory…Again

February 25th, 2011 02:10 admin Leave a comment Go to comments

Michelin Man in the SkyAmazon Web Services is on an aggressive development cycle. Its latest announcement comes today with what it calls AWS CloudFormation, a service that Amazon’s Jeff Barr describes in a manner that makes it feel quite similar to cloud management technologies such as Puppet and Chef.

With AWS CloudFormation, developers can create their own templates for provisioning the resources needed for their applications. Barr’s descriptions show how far the “recipe” metaphor has spread through the cloud computing world. It’s related to Chef, which serves as a configuration environment. In Chef, recipes are He tells a story about how much cooking is done in his house and the need to be precise in measurements when baking. The recipe has to be just right.

In this case, the recipe automates the creation of the stack for the developer.Christopher Peter replied to my question about how this can integrate with WordPress: “…I was referring to the example template.I like the programmatic approach to convert manual setup into 1 efficient command.”

That’s exactly it. AWS is programmable. Now it’s becoming automated to some extent, too.

Barr:

To date, many people have used AWS in what we’ll have to think of as cooking mode. They launch some instances, assign some Elastic IP addresses, create some message queues, and so forth. Sometimes this is semi-automated with scripts or templates, and sometimes it is a manual process. As overall system complexity grows, launching the right combination of AMIs, assigning them to roles, dealing with error conditions, and getting all the moving parts into the proper positions becomes more and more challenging.

The mechanisms allows the developer to describe what resources are required. AWS CloudFormation then configures the setup accordingly.

Barr:

Using CloudFormation, you can create an entire stack with one function call. The stack can be comprised of multiple Amazon EC2 instances, each one fully decked out with security groups, EBS (Elastic Block Store) volumes, and an Elastic IP address (if needed). The stack can contain Load Balancers, Auto Scaling Groups, RDS (Relational Database Service) Database Instances and security groups, SNS (Simple Notification Service) topics and subscriptions, Amazon CloudWatch alarms, Amazon SQS (Simple Queuue Service) message queues, and Amazon SimpleDB domains. Here’s a diagram of the entire process:

cloudformation_1.png

Barr goes into some depth about how these recipes work. The conversation on Twitter was buzzing on the topic. Christian Reilly (@reilly) tried the service this morning and he was impressed with it. He said it is a solid end-to-end service from virtual machine to app. It’s free and in part for that reason it could be a killer in the market as the lines blur in terms of the differentiation between it, Chef and other services.

But just after a day, it is already spawning integrations with Chef. A post on Hacker News details how this can be done.

Reaction has been generally positive.

cloudformationchef.jpg

AWS has been on a tear lately. Last week it announced hosting for static Web sites. It launched Elastic Beanstalk, a PaaS environment earlier in the month. These are all new efforts.

But there are lots of other movements in the market that AWS has to be watching. OpenStack and hosting providers are starting to build their own cloud environments.

In any case, these are fast moving times. I wonder what it will be from AWS next week?

Source: Amazon Web Services Moves into New Territory…Again

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