DevOps is typically a hybrid between ‘Development’ and ‘Operations’. It is a set of practices for agile software design. Since its main understanding lies in two broad concepts like development and operations, it naturally offers many different varieties to choose from. Amazon Web Services (AWS) has its version of DevOps where they not only uniquely implement DevOps but have also defined it separately.
Understanding AWS DevOps best practices is essential for any organization that wants to take advantage of the scalability, reliability, and cost-effectiveness that comes with developing applications on the cloud. With an increasing number of companies turning to the cloud for their application hosting needs, understanding how Amazon Web Services (AWS) DevOps can help them create a reliable application infrastructure is becoming increasingly important.
AWS defines DevOps as ‘the combination of cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that increases an organization’s ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity i.e., evolving and improving products at a faster pace than organizations using traditional software development and infrastructure management processes.
AWS DevOps services offer the flexibility of not having ‘siloed’ teams anymore separately for development and operations. Instead, they can work as one team and merge their functions to ease up processes. Some DevOps models also merge the security aspect of the development lifecycle in addition to taking it all the way through testing to deployment to operations.
Some of the major benefits of DevOps considered by Amazon at AWS include increased speed, enhanced reliability, faster delivery, a better scale of management and operative tasks, better collaboration, and heightened security. All of these benefits add up to more efficient performance.
AWS, short for Amazon Web Services, is the cloud computing platform offered by Amazon. Like many other cloud platforms such as Google Cloud, Azure, or IBM Cloud, AWS also offers security, data storage services, computing capacity, etc. It is by far the most highly adapted cloud platform all over the world. Being the cloud platform with the highest usage across the globe, AWS performs like any other typical in-house data center for organizations.
AWS essentially focuses on significant features like high-security level, ease of usage, adaptability, the pace of innovation, and the functionality of the platform to ensure smooth functioning for the users. Customer service is by large the greatest factor for all Amazon services including AWS that distinguishes it from the rest of the platforms.
Putting Them Together: AWS DevOps
Amazon defines AWS DevOps as – ‘a set of flexible services designed to enable companies to more rapidly and reliably build and deliver products using AWS and DevOps practices.’ These AWS DevOps tools and services simplify provisioning and managing infrastructure, deploying application code, automating software release processes, and monitoring your application and infrastructure performance. In layman’s language, it can be easily understood as applying the DevOps philosophy and concepts using the AWS cloud platform with its dedicated tools and services. The purpose of AWS is to implement Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery ((CD) CI/CD).
There are three primary categories in cloud computing known as Software as a Services (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Naturally, AWS falls under the IaaS category. The AWS DevOps architecture includes a great deal of features including Load Balancing, Amazon CloudFront, Amazon Security Group, Elastic Caches, Amazon RDS (Relational Database Services), Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service), Amazon EBS (Elastic Book Store), and Amazon Auto Scaling, and AWS infrastructure automation tools.
Must-Have AWS DevOps Tools
Like any reliable software, it is not possible to function uniquely without having a personalized set of tools available. Amazon DevOps tools are highly crucial for effective implementation and usage of AWS DevOps. Here are six must-have tools for anyone working with AWS DevOps.
AWS Cloud Development Kit: An open-source software development framework. It uses familiar programming languages for the purpose of modelling cloud application resources.
AWS CodeBuild: It is a simple integration service that adjusts to scale constantly and processes multiple builds as per the need. It can easily be used by the users as well.
AWS CodeDeploy: Deployment can be a huge pain and time-specific however AWS CodeDeploy makes it easier by offering the flexibility to automate software deployments.
AWS CodePipeline: This is another automation tool designed to eliminate the source of human error and a high level of human effort. It is a DevOps tool that helps to automate continuously delivered code for rapid and accurate updates.
AWS CodeStar: It is a highly useful tool to conduct DevOps on AWS. It offers a user interface to enable the activities like development, building, and deployment of applications on AWS. It’s as efficient as enabling the users to set up an entire delivery toolchain in a matter of minutes.
AWS Device Farm: This tool is a godsend for QA teams for the testing stage. We all know that more than 50% of the audience for any platform or website utilizes mobile for accessing the web. With that kind of a number shift, it is necessary to maintain a high quality of service of mobile applications and web applications as well. This tool helps engineers to test out their platform across real mobile devices and desktop browsers hosted in the AWS cloud.
AWS DevOps Services
To get started with using AWS DevOps services, there are several key components to be integrated which include Infrastructure as Code (IaC), Infrastructure Automation Tools (IAT), Cloud Testing Tools (CTT), Configuration Management (CM) and Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery/Deployment (CI/CD). Let’s take a quick look at these key components:
- Infrastructure as a Code (IaC): It involves writing code that defines your cloud infrastructure such as networks, virtual machines, databases etc., allowing developers to easily deploy them into production environments without manual configuration or setup required from the IT team. There are many popular IaC tools available such as Terraform and CloudFormation which allow developers to define their infrastructure in a version-controlled manner for better traceability and reliability over time
- Infrastructure Automation Tools (IAT): These are used for automating tasks related to managing cloud resources such as scaling up or down compute instances when demand increases or decreases respectively; setting up auto backups; creating alarms & alerts; and monitoring system performance metrics.
- Cloud Testing Tools (CTT): It involves testing different components of an application before rolling out updates into the production environment. These include unit tests, integration tests, and functional tests, among others. There are various popular tools available depending upon language or framework being used such as JUnit TestNG for Java based projects, RSpec & Cucumber frameworks in Ruby, and NUnit & MSTest frameworks in .Net projects.
- Configuration Management (CM): It helps maintain consistency within an environment by tracking changes made during deployment stages so they can be reverted if needed. Popular CM solutions include Chef & Puppet, both offering similar features but implemented differently.
- CI/CD: Last but not the least comes continuous integration/continuous delivery/continuous deployment pipeline which helps developers ship out product updates quickly while ensuring high quality standards through automated test suites running between each stage.
AWS DevOps Best Practices for App Development
AWS DevOps enables the integration of ‘development’ and ‘operations’ on the cloud platform – AWS. Some of the best practices to be followed for successful implementation of AWS DevOps are as follows.
- Leverage Infrastructure as Code: Use IaC technologies like Terraform or CloudFormation since they provide reliable ways of defining your infrastructure architecture in code form improving scalability and reliability in the long run.
- Utilize AWS Automation Tools for Testing: Make sure all changes made during deployment cycle pass through automated test cases for higher levels of precision and performance before shipping out product updates live into customer facing environment to reduce risks significantly
- Implement Monitoring Strategies: Set up dashboards displaying real-time performance data to enable proactive measures against potential issues and to prevent downtimes.
- Utilize Version Control System: Whenever working on projects involving multiple stakeholders make sure everyone has access control enabled via VCS solution like Gitlab, Github or Bitbucket, to help track progress across entire team including ability to rollback to earlier versions if needed.
- Leverage Containers: Containerization provides isolated environments inside same machine hosting multiple apps to ensure consistent behavior and save on maintenance cycles otherwise caused by OS level dependencies.
- Configure Security Settings Appropriately: Always follow security best practices while configuring settings within cloud environment preventing unauthorized users accessing sensitive information stored within database clusters other storage devices thus avoiding compliance related issues arising due negligence.
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