AWS DevOps architecture and best practices

AWS DevOps architecture and best practices

July 7, 2022

Vitaly Potonya

Senior DevOps Engineer

An increasingly competitive business landscape and the growing pressure on software development organizations to innovate and deliver new features at a faster pace call for novel approaches to software development. To become more competitive and achieve maximum operational efficiency, many organizations turn to  AWS DevOps services. In this article, we will discuss AWS DevOps best practices, benefits, and architecture.

What is AWS DevOps?

AWS DevOps is a set of services and tools provided by AWS that allow organizations to maximize the efficiency of DevOps practices.

DevOps is the combination of development practices, tools, and philosophy that helps organizations to deliver services and applications much faster and with minimum issues by streamlining collaboration between software development and IT operations teams. Using the DevOps methodology, development and operation teams can work closely together and achieve increased efficiency throughout the application development lifecycle. 

DevOps lifecycle

Benefits of AWS DevOps

Conventional software development approaches like waterfall usually imply that software is developed sequentially, so the deliverables of one development stage are used as inputs for the next. While it’s easy to follow and understand, this approach has proven to be rather ineffective, especially when it comes to large development projects that involve numerous teams. The modern software development landscape, however, calls for frequent iterations and periodic addition of new features. Meanwhile, traditionally siloed teams have a hard time communicating with each other, which causes significant production delays.

AWS DevOps, on the other hand, can dramatically shorten the application development lifecycle, increase end-product quality and reliability, and encourage employees to collaborate and innovate.

Here are the benefits of AWS DevOps in a nutshell:

Fast delivery

DevOps allows organizations to iterate and innovate at a much faster pace.

Improved reliability

With continuous testing as an essential component, AWS DevOps promotes software quality and reliability.

Enhanced collaboration

DevOps encourages collaboration, leading to more employees caring about the end product.

Increased innovation

DevOps allows organizations to easily adapt to fluctuating customer needs, and continuously deliver updates and new features.

Adopt AWS cloud solutions with ease

Get a consultation

AWS DevOps best practices

To better understand how AWS DevOps ensures the aforementioned benefits, let’s discuss its best practices.

Continuous integration (CI)

Continuous integration implies that development teams should routinely submit code changes into a central repository, allowing organizations to identify and fix bugs much faster and update software more frequently.

Conventionally, developers commit changes to the central repository only after a substantial part of their work is done. Given the wide range of tools that modern developers use, integrating all the changes and fixing detected bugs becomes resource-intensive and time-consuming. Following the continuous integration practice, developers merge their work regularly, which results in fewer bugs and improved software quality. 

Continuous delivery (CD)

Continuous delivery goes hand in hand with continuous integration. This is a practice where the code changes are developed in short iterations, automatically built and tested and are ready to be reliably deployed in production at any time. This way, issues are identified timely and code is always ready to be deployed, since standardized testing ensures its reliability. Continuous integration is often unfeasible in on-premises deployments, while the cloud allows for almost unlimited testing environments.

Microservices

Microservice architecture is a software development method that splits an application into a series of small services that typically communicate with each other through APIs. Each microservice serves a single purpose, is usually managed by a small development team, and can be deployed and scaled independently. Compared to the monolithic architecture, microservices enable organizations to deliver increasingly complex software faster and add new features more easily.

 

Microservice architecture

Infrastructure as code

Essentially, infrastructure as code (IaC) implies that developers should treat infrastructure the same way they treat code. Instead of relying on scripts and manual processes, engineers manage infrastructure using familiar code-based tools, a version control system, and highly standardized practices overall. This allows organizations to easily change and distribute infrastructure configurations and ensures that each configuration is properly documented.

Continuous monitoring

With DevOps in place, organizations should monitor user experience after the application is released into production. By thoroughly analyzing the data generated by applications as well as the underlying infrastructure, companies can quickly resolve issues and accurately assess how software updates impact user experience.

Communication and collaboration

Communication and collaboration are essential cultural components of DevOps philosophy. By establishing a knowledge management strategy and rigorous company-wide cultural standards for information exchange, organizations can ensure effective communication between traditionally siloed teams like development, operations, marketing, and sales. 

Reap the benefits of AWS with Itransition’s help

AWS consulting

AWS consulting

With over 15 years of experience in delivering enterprise-level AWS solutions, our consultants and engineers know how to realize full potential of AWS

AWS DevOps architecture and tools

Now as we have a better understanding of DevOps philosophy, let’s figure out how exactly different AWS tools fit into the DevOps architecture.

AWS for CI and CD

AWS CodePipeline is a continuous delivery service that allows organizations to model and automate every stage of the application release process. It enables companies to update applications at a faster pace and proactively address ever-changing customer demands. 

With AWS CodePipeline, companies can easily test frequent and incremental code updates. This prevents bug escalation and reduces the amount of time and resources needed to fix them. Importantly, AWS CodePipeline is easily adaptable to an organization’s specific needs and architectures. For example, it’s easy to integrate source code from GitHub or continue to use existing services that reside on-premises.

How AWS CodePipeline works

AWS CodeBuild is a continuous integration service that frees up companies from the burden of resource management needed to compile and test code. AWS CodeBuild scales build servers depending on companies’ current demands and can compile multiple builds at the same time. What’s more, companies can use their existing build tools in AWS CodeBuild environments, meaning that integration requires minimal effort.

AWS CodeDeploy allows companies to significantly reduce downtime and eliminate the complexities commonly associated with software deployments by introducing application changes in small steps. Regardless of the deployment platform (EC2, Lambda, or on-premises), CodeDeploy easily integrates with organizations’ existing DevOps tools like GitHub and Jenkins. With the help of AWS Management Console, companies can have a bird’s-eye view of the status of software deployments. 

AWS for microservices

To build a microservice on AWS, companies can create APIs with Amazon API Gateway, and launch functions in the serverless computing environment AWS Lambda.

A microservice architecture with AWS Lambda

Typically, microservice architecture introduces a number of bottlenecks associated with server management. With a serverless computing service like AWS Lambda, organizations no longer need to worry about server optimization. Another AWS tool, AWS Elastic Container Service, also allows companies to easily deploy, manage and scale microservices. 

AWS for Infrastructure as code

AWS CloudFormation is a tool for managing infrastructure as code. With CloudFormation, engineers can use familiar JSON and YAML programming languages to provision both AWS and third-party resources. Engineers can also create a collection of AWS resources for a specific purpose and use them as a template for similar applications. Essentially, CloudFormation is a resource management automation tool.

Developers can also automate server configuration based on-predefined sets of rules using AWS OpsWorks. To audit and analyze resource management for further improvement, developers can apply AWS Config, which automatically and continuously monitors the changes in AWS resource configurations. Both OpsWorks and Config work are programmed with code. 

AWS for continuous monitoring

Applications often generate inordinate amounts of data in the logs-based format, especially when it comes to DevOps-native microservice architecture. AWS CloudWatch allows developers to collect operational data constantly streaming from resources, applications, and services, and perform a data audit in a unified platform. With CloudWatch, it becomes possible to instantly react to anomalies, visualize logs and metrics, and use this operational intelligence to gather actionable insights. CloudWatch can collect data both from AWS and on-premise services.

AWS X-Ray further simplifies the detection of bugs and performance bottlenecks. X-Ray closely monitors user requests and allows to add annotations and metadata to traces, enabling developers to identify issues more easily, and pinpoint where exactly latencies are occurring.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that when implemented properly, DevOps can bring tangible improvements in software development’s scale and predictability, reduce testing, designing, and maintenance costs, and allow organizations to proactively cater to customer needs. Whether it’s infrastructure provisioning, code deployment, or application monitoring, AWS has a wide range of specialized tools that help organizations to deliver products using DevOps practices.