Amazon Web Services did it again. Its new service, OpsWorks, is an application management service with the ability to manage applications of any scale or complexity in the AWS cloud. This integrated system manages resource provisioning, configuration management, application deployment, software updates, and monitoring and access control.
The service is another offering from the leader in cloud computing poised to disrupt a market, in this case, Platform as a Service (PaaS). OpsWorks will compete directly with PaaS mainstays Heroku, Engine Yard and AppFog. Given the speculation that AWS is working on a graphical interface to ease complex deployments, systems integrators and consultants, who traditionally worked with administrators on such deployments, may also be affected.
Functionally, AWS OpsWorks enables developers to use ‘layers’ which serve as structures for whatever instance a developer deploys. Every instance deployed by AWS OpsWorks “must be a member of at least one layer, which define an instance’s role in the stack and manage the details of setting up and configuring the instance, deploying applications, and so on.”
While the AWS OpsWorks console only permits an instance to be a member of one layer, using the AWS OpsWorks API gives the option of letting instances optionally be a member of multiple compatible layers. For example, if you wanted to use on of your application servers for administration, you could create a custom administrative layer and add one of the application server instances to that layer. The administrative layer’s recipes configure that application server instance to perform administrative tasks, and install any additional required software. The other application server instances are just application servers.
Operational control, automation, and flexibility are central to the OpsWorks offering. For a developer to define and deploy apps, all he has to do is instruct OpsWorks where the code resides and the service takes it from there, handling deployment tasks such as database configuration. Because OpsWorks uses the Opscode Chef framework, developers can use existing recipes or choose from an extensive offering of community-built configurations.
Did I mention that Trend Micro’s Deep Security service runs on AWS and is best set to be deployed automatically by Chef, which works with OpsWorks?
Werner Vogels has a detailed post that outlines both OpsWorks and the general AWS strategy. Amazon first rolled out its core services of storage database and computing and then added advance offerings such as DNS, messaging, etc., and now receiving management tools. OpsWorks is an important next step in revealing the AWS approach to the development of their service offerings. OpsWorks is a solid management tool that increases user options significantly, and adds to AWS’ growing number of different Application Management Services. It looks like part of a greater push to garner wider enterprise adoption, as confirmed by this recent article.
Old Cloud gurus know that OpsWorks was invented in Germany and is based on the Scalarium technology of Peritor. Scalarium was bought in 2012 by Amazon.