If you are joining or consider joining the club of the millions of successful Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers by initiating an AWS-based project, it’s high time to get acquainted with its best-of-breed development practices and tools. After all, the choice of tools largely determines whether you are able to deploy a working and viable software solution down the line.
This article focuses on AWS DevOps, one of the most effective and up-to-date approaches to AWS-based development. In particular, the text covers the main AWS DevOps tools, the unique benefits they provide, and how they can be integrated into practice. With this information, especially if secured with the support of AWS DevOps engineers, you will be able to define the best tools for your particular project.
What is AWS DevOps?
If you are not yet familiar with AWS DevOps, for clarity, we should say a few words about the concept, which represents Amazon's unique view on the global DevOps philosophy. In line with the traditional DevOps approach, Amazon focuses on bringing together development and operations, shortening the development life cycle, and building working software systems as quickly as possible. The main difference from the established methodology is that AWS DevOps is built around practices, technologies, and tools provided by Amazon and compatible with its cloud software.
Why do enterprises implement AWS DevOps tools?
By adopting the right AWS DevOps tooling and infrastructure resources, enterprises can make the most of the AWS DevOps concept and achieve the following benefits:
Enhanced development and delivery speed
Since AWS DevOps is based on workflow automation, such activities as code deployment, testing, and updating become much faster, which enables teams to work more productively and focus on mission-critical tasks. Additionally, given the high availability of AWS DevOps tools, since developers typically do not need to download and install anything, development may become even less time-consuming.
Fail-safety and reliability
AWS DevOps tooling and infrastructure resources also enable IT teams to develop better-quality software. For example, by utilizing continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) practices, teams can test changes in code right away, thereby ensuring everything works as it should and that nothing undermines the system’s overall health.
Applying the capabilities of AWS DevOps architecture and AWS DevOps services, enterprises can significantly increase the computing power and scale of almost any software project in line with their needs. In particular, AWS DevOps tools are a must for dynamically developing systems, since they allow you to quickly scale your software vertically and horizontally as your business evolves.
18 AWS DevOps tools for effective software development
Now that we have discussed some of the benefits of AWS DevOps tools, we will take a closer look at each of them and see how they can be put into practice. For convenience, we have divided the tools according to their purpose and application in the development process.
Continuous integration and delivery
- AWS CodePipeline
As a continuous automated delivery and integration service, AWS CodePipeline provides developers with tools such as a command-line interface, AWS SDKs, and a service console, all aimed at streamlining and customizing virtually any step of the software release process. As a result, new code can be deployed and uploaded much faster, allowing teams to schedule and perform software releases up to several times a day.
- AWS CodeBuild
Typically, enterprises use AWS CodeBuild to set up a continuous integration and delivery process quickly or integrate CodeBuild into their existing CI/CD process. With AWS CodeBuild, teams can automatically compile the solution's source code to build ready-to-deploy packages and run tests – all without maintaining, administering, and managing dedicated servers. In addition, AWS CodeBuild enables DevOps engineers to choose almost any environment while compiling the code.
- AWS CodeDeploy
AWS CodeDeploy helps teams automate application deployment to AWS Lambda, AWS EC2, and AWS Fargate, enabling deployment in multiple production and test environments simultaneously. In particular, it allows engineers to use the blue-green deployment model to gradually transfer user traffic from one app release to another, thus preventing downtime.
Using the AWS Command Line Interface or the AWS Management Console, DevOps engineers can run and validate deployment processes and get information about all software versions and releases via one centralized hub. Thus, DevOps engineers can also easily detect any issues after launching patches and updates and, if needed, quickly roll back the changes.
- AWS CodeStar
The AWS DevOps toolset would not be complete without AWS CodeStar – a service that enables developers to quickly create a continuous delivery toolchain using ready-made templates for Amazon EC2, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, and AWS Lambda. Furthermore, given that AWS CodeStar is integrated with all of the aforementioned Amazon products (CodePipeline, CodeBuild, and CodeDeploy, respectively), developers can use CodeStar as a single point for monitoring and managing tests, releases, and deployment processes.
What is more, the service is integrated with Jira. This way, AWS CodeStar enables more efficient collaboration between multiple project teams, allowing them to easily track both individual tasks as well as the dynamics and status of the entire development process.
- Amazon Elastic Container Service
Amazon Elastic Container Service (often referred to as Amazon ECS) helps DevOps engineers build orchestrated systems based on a microservices architecture as well as run and manage hundreds or thousands of containers simultaneously. What is more, Amazon Elastic Container Service is closely linked to other Amazon services, ensuring container workloads run smoothly across the cloud.
For instance, you can utilize Amazon ECS Anywhere, a tool provided by Amazon ECS, to manage containers across your entire infrastructure. At the same time, you can use AWS Fargate to tap into serverless computing, thereby removing the need for instance and node management.
- AWS Lambda
AWS Lambda is a serverless service that allows developers to create stand-alone solutions (also called functions) in cloud environments and automatically execute them as separate, independent containers. Depending on the configurations and your business needs, Lambda can trigger specific functions based on various events such as an HTTP request, a file being added to an S3 bucket, or notifications received from Amazon SNS.
Infrastructure as code (IaC)
- AWS CloudFormation
AWS CloudFormation allows DevOps engineers to quickly create complex configurations (stacks), which include combinations of different AWS services in the Infrastructure-as-a-code format. Depending on the project's needs, these stacks can include items such as Elastic IP addresses, load balancers, RDS databases, Amazon SimpleDB domains, and many more.
- AWS OpsWorks
AWS OpsWorks is a configuration management service that provides DevOps engineers with managed instances of Chef Automate, Puppet Enterprise, and Stacks automation platforms. The first two facilitate deploying and configuring servers, managing configurations, and deploying updates and backups. In its turn, Stacks allows DevOps engineers to build solutions consisting of multiple layers, such as servers and databases, and ensure continuous provisioning.
- AWS Systems Manager
AWS Systems Manager’s primary application is being a single operational hub for managing cloud resources. The solution allows project teams to monitor and visualize available resources via AWS Explorer, manage servers and firmware using Fleet Manager, analyze system performance with AWS Incident Manager, and many more.
Besides, DevOps engineers can use AWS Systems Manager services to automate many support tasks. For instance, Patch Manager helps manage and automate the delivery of system patches. What is more, using SSM agents DevIos engineers can shift away from the legacy way of working with instances, requiring opening ports and VPN, and instead connect via AWS SSM. This way, AWS Systems Manager not only accelerates software and operating system patching but also enhances the project’s security.
- AWS Config
AWS Config service can be applied to managing, analyzing, and deploying configurations. DevOps engineers use AWS Config tools to detect configuration issues, update software systems more frequently and timely, and, if necessary, roll back configurations to their earlier versions.
We can help you unlock the capabilities of AWS DevOps
Security and monitoring
- Amazon CloudWatch
Amazon CloudWatch is a unified solution that generates system performance logs while simultaneously visualizing this information. Integration with Amazon services, such as Amazon ECS and Kubernetes, allows companies to increase the transparency of their digital ecosystems and detect poor performance early, both at the level of a single microservice as well as the entire infrastructure.
Additionally, Amazon CloudWatch tools can be fine-tuned depending on organizations' requirements. For instance, DevOps engineers can implement machine learning models to be able to compare the most critical indicators in real-time. CloudWatch can also be configured to automatically reallocate computing resources in case it detects any issues and inconsistencies.
- AWS X-Ray
AWS X-Ray helps teams get a better picture of the performance and health of solutions that have microservices architecture. First, the solution collects data (traces) from each element of the microservices network and then uses this information to create a unified Service Map. In short, Service Map represents a structured tree of all interconnected services, helping cloud engineers to define dependencies, visualize relationships between different system elements and act quickly when any bottlenecks and performance issues are detected.
- AWS CloudTrail
AWS CloudTrail allows organizations to monitor everything related to their Amazon Web Service accounts, providing features from risk auditing and security analysis to compliance monitoring. In addition, CloudTrail automatically generates AWS account event reports that include any actions and changes made via the AWS command line, Amazon SDK, and other tools. By viewing these reports, SecOps engineers can monitor user activity, check the status of computing resources, and quickly fix issues and security loopholes.
- Amazon GuardDuty
Amazon GuardDuty monitors AWS accounts and workloads for malicious activities and generates security reports. The solution can also utilize the capabilities of artificial intelligence to identify non-typical behavioral patterns better and understand the context of the events. Thereby, Amazon GuardDuty can provide teams with information that is enough for quick investigating and stopping malicious activities.
- AWS WAF
AWS WAF (Web Application Firewall) is a tool that helps AWS customers protect their solutions from all sorts of web-based threats and exploits. The primary purpose of WAF is to monitor incoming traffic, distinguish genuine users from bots, and block attacks that occur via the internet, such as SQL injections or DDoS.
- AWS Amplify
By implementing serverless AWS DevOps services like AWS Amplify, organizations no longer need to put effort into supporting and maintaining the servers, resulting in lower costs, enhanced security, and much easier deployment and maintenance. Besides that, AWS Amplify allows teams to quickly develop mobile and web solutions by customizing the application’s backend using Amplify CLI and Amplify Libraries. It also enables the creation of user interfaces in a specialized editor and helps edit and update app content via AWS Content Delivery Networks.
- AWS Fargate
We have already mentioned AWS Fargate, but now we shall dwell on this service in detail. AWS Fargate is a computing engine that provides tools for quickly building microservices and APIs without managing multiple servers, thus helping companies reduce overall development costs. Fargate is also compatible with artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, which can be applied to significantly increase the speed and efficiency of software testing and deployment.
- AWS DynamoDB
AWS DynamoDB is a serverless NoSQL database that allows developers to run robust solutions, enabling them to send millions of requests per second and support the same number of concurrent users worldwide without interruption. Using data models based on key-value pairs, AWS DynamoDB can support tables with data of any size, which also can be scaled if needed.
Revamping cloud development with AWS DevOps tools
AWS DevOps is one of the most effective approaches to development based on the Amazon Web Service cloud platform. In addition to the typical benefits of DevOps adoption, AWS DevOps tools provide companies with the unique capabilities required to automate most app and infrastructure development processes, including the process of AWS cloud migration. Using DevOps tooling and infrastructure resources, developers can not only enable continuous software delivery and integration and quickly develop software based on a microservices architecture, but also ensure the security of their software solutions.