AWS DevOps Blog

A Year in Review: Elastic Beanstalk, OpsWorks, and CloudFormation

2013 was an exciting and busy year here at AWS. Let’s take this opportunity to look back on the new features and updates to Elastic Beanstalk, OpsWorks, and CloudFormation that we saw throughout the year.

AWS Elastic Beanstalk

New Environment Types: background task handling with the new Worker Tier, as well as a Single Instance environment ideal for development workloads or for non-critical, low traffic applications.

Developer Experience: New container types, including Node.js, PHP 5.5, Java 7/Tomcat 7, and Python 2.7; support for the new c3 and g2 EC2 instance families; support for Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL; a new Management Console; the ability to customize .NET environments; Rolling Updates for environments; as well as a 3-part Getting Started video series.

Security: Support for IAM Roles, VPC support for Elastic Beanstalk environments; and SSL support for Single Instance environments.

AWS OpsWorks

We’ve also grouped the enhancements AWS OpsWorks saw in 2013 into 3 categories:

Developer Efficiency: added support for Elastic Load Balancing, a CloudWatch metrics dashboard and a Java layer.

Security: Grant users access to specific stacks and the actions each user can take with resource-level permissions, support isolated networks with Amazon VPC.

Configuration and Deployment: choose whether to install software using Chef recipes, custom AMIs or both.

OpsWorks also saw a number of other interesting features:

  • User-level SSH access to instances – easily remove a user when they no longer need access
  • CloudWatch custom metrics aggregated by layer – see the state of all your servers and alarm on metrics such as memory and load
  • Runbook automation – run any Chef recipe or bash script at any time, for example push Apache logs to S3 when your instance has a CloudWatch alarm
  • Instance customization – customize your instance with Chef recipes; automate changes using OpsWorks events that run recipes to adapt your environment; deploy software updates from Git, SVN, or S3 to one or any set of instances.

AWS CloudFormation

We held a live CloudFormation: Year in Review Hangout last week. You can watch the recording/Q&A and view the agenda and notes we used in the session, and we’ll also summarize CloudFormation’s year of features and additions below:

Expanded Service Coverage: CloudFormation launched in GovCloud (including sample templates), expanded VPC support, and extended support for existing resources, including RDS Read Replicas, ElastiCache Redis, EBS-Optimized EC2 Instances, ELB Cross-Zone Load Balancing (and Proxy Protocol), as well as Elastic Beanstalk Worker Tiers.

Developer Experience: Create resources conditionally based on input parameters or mappings with CloudFormation conditions and new intrinsinc functions (i.e., Fn::If, Fn::And, etc); specify Physical IDs (i.e., names) of resources; a framework for developing your own custom resources (including 5 sample resources and a video); and support for the new AWS CLI.

Stack Management: Express action- and resource-level control over stacks with IAM Policies; protect individual resources within stacks from being updated or deleted with Stack Policies; automatic updates for nested/embedded stacks; support for Federated Identiy and STS credentials when using the CloudFormation Management Console or APIs; and a brand-new Management Console.

Finally, creating, updating, and deleting stacks saw a performance improvement with Parallel Stack Processing: CloudFormation now automatically determines which resources in a template can be created in parallel and does so.

Looking Forward

We look forward to your feedback and feature requests in 2014! Please stay tuned to this blog for more tips, tricks, and how-to posts in the new year, and follow us on Twitter (@AWS_EB, @AWSOpsWorks, and @AWSCloudFormer) for all the latest updates and announcements.