Artius IT DevOps on AWS

Artius IT DevOps on AWS

AWS DevOps Products and Services

Fully managed DevOps offerings from Amazon Web Services

Speed and flexibility are important superpowers to have in today’s information technology world. Think about it from a traditional “brick-and-mortar” business scenario. When you produce a widget, you want to get it from the stages of imagination to production in the fastest and most sensible manner. Having a streamlined method of getting business ideas from conception to production is “make it or break it”.  Two companies offering the same type of service to the same pool of customers will need the added benefit of testing their product to see how good the customer reception is. What processes are in place at your company to service your clients with products in the most efficient manner? DevOps has been a buzzword in the software and IT community for a while. What are the operations your company uses to develop software in a swift, flexible, and maintainable manner, so that you can competitively reach clients? Artius IT wants to give you our Artius IT Breakdown on AWS (Amazon Web Services) DevOps culture, principles, and practices. For more information on AWS DevOps click the link. This article briefly discusses the services and key features of AWS DevOps.

Continuous Integration & Continuos Deployment

DevOps on AWS is flexible, agile, and fully managed. Business that use AWS are able to focus on the core tenants of their corporate vision, and quickly implement that vision.  Software development services are simplified so that developers save time on provisioning servers, managing infrastructure, deploying code, automating releases of software, and monitoring/logging their environments throughout the workload’s lifecycle.  High speed product delivery is possible because the operations developers use in AWS DevOPs is built off of best practices and principles. The agility of being able to deliver and manage products and manage their lifecycle gives companies a competitive advantage in an information technology world where speed is king.

The key features of AWS DevOps is that it is fast, fully managed, scalable, programmable, automated, secure, integratable, and cost-optimized.  Signing up for a free AWS account gives developers instant access to all the resources available for powerful DevOps. Time is saved through the fully managed nature of AWS. There is no time wasted on doing sysops like running updates on OS, so as a result business can focus more on the core tenants of their corporate vision. All of the resources are scalable as well to encourage simple provisioning and configuration.  Developers have many different ways to gain programmatic access to AWS resources. They can use the AWS CLI, APIs,m AWS SDKs, and even template their entire workload. Automation allows for faster builds, optimized configuration, continuous integration and delivery, and simplified management of microservices. Granular identity and access management is also offered through AWS IAM (Identity and Access Management) resource. If you have preferred platforms or frameworks, AWS DevOps gives you the ability to fully integrate with your provider of choice through the AWS Marketplace. Payments are flexible with no up-front fees because AWS is based off of a consumption (pay-as-you-go) model. Programmers can take advantage of AWS free tiers for even more cost-optimized builds.

AWS DevOps offers many services that simplify development by automating manual tasks, managing environments at scale, and keeping engineers in control of the high-velocity traffic inherent in DevOps environments. All of the workers have to be monitored and analyzed properly in a DevOps environment. These services fall into 6 main categories; CI/CD (Continuous Integration & Delivery), microservices, IaC (Infrastructure as Code), monitoring and logging, Paas (Platform as a Service), and version control. CI/CD gives you the ability to build, test, and deploy applications in the cloud or on premises (your company’s own data center). AWS CodePipeline is the resource used for CI/CD secure application development. The software release workflow is a collection of sub-resources.

AWS CodeBuild and CodeDeploy allow you to set the release process and keep track of the versioning of application source code. These resources offer fast and reliable infrastructure updates as well. With CodeBuild you can compile source code, run tests, and produce software packages for deployment. There is no need to manage your CodeBuild servers because the resource is fully managed by AWS. CodeBuild automatically scales, and can process many instances simultaneously without leaving any build idle in the queue.
CodeDeploy is another fully-managed automated resource that deploys builds on EC2 instances or on premises.  There is no downtime to your application deployment, so you can add new features to your products in a swift manner.  The updates on the server are managed so you escape the complexities of patching and updating software. AWS has a complete environment for application development called CodeStar. Everything you will need to build a workload is included in CodeStar. The IDE (integrated development environment) of CodeStar allows you to manage software development in one place as well as use the entire CI/CD toolchain from AWS (CodeBuild with its underlying resources). By using CodeStar you will add speed to your releases.

Micro Services

Some workloads have numerous services that contribute to the overall functionality of a product. From a 10,000 foot view we can see that each individual service of a workload could very well be micro in its nature. The “micro” does not imply importance, rather it implies scope or influence an instance type can have on an entire workload. Some microservices run a few functions, while others can connect different services to a larger function.  Developers can group servers together as fleets of instances or even run lambda functions as calls in a serverless workload. AWS DevOps runs containers and serverless builds in a fully managed offering through ECS (Elastic Container Services) or AWS Lambda (Functions as a Service). ECS uses the production Docker Platform so that servers are high-performing and highly-scalable. The fully managed service easily supports Docker and can run managed clusters of EC2s (Elastic Compute Clouds). Lambda offers the ability to save time by not worrying about provisioning or managing servers. Almost every application can use Lambda in the front or back-end development cycle. All you have to do is upload your code to Lambda and the service does the rest.  

For the developers who like to run their entire environment as code. AWS offers template based API calls that spin up, monitor, and managenentire workloads. These scripts are available in templates. Use or modify a preconfigured template, of build your own. AWS CloudFormation, OpsWorks, Systems Manager, and Config. This is a huge benefit to developers and sysadmins because they have simpler creation environments and can manage their workloads easier. AWS OpsWorks is another resource that uses Chef configuration management platform to automate server configuration as code.

When it comes to managing a DevOps environment AWS Systems Manager, Config, CloudWatch, CloudTrail, and X-ray are all resources that help developers and sysadmins monitor and respond to their build environment. For the sysadmin who likes to collect software inventory, run OS patches, and create systems images, Systems Manager will increase your effectiveness.  You can configure Windows and Linux operating systems, define and track system configurations, prevent drift, and stay fully compliant in case you are ever audited. AWS Config is policy as code to manage security and governance. You’ll be able to see the history and changes for your configurations in order to properly inventory resources. You can create rules that automatically check configuration of resources. Use Config in conjunction with CloudWatch and CloudTrail for tracking and monitoring your network. You can set alarms and responses based off of the alarms. Imagine being able to automatically assess and respond to threats or lag in your environment without sacrificing development time because you already programmed the proper response. That would be valuable to say the least. AWS X-Ray identifies the bottleneck in resources, while CloudTrail records and delivers log files with valuable information.

To save even more time, you can use the AWS PaaS (Platform as a Service) offering called Beanstalk to run and manage web apps.  Use popular languages SDKs and Frameworks like; Ruby, PHP, Docker, Python, Go, .NET, and Java. Use familiar servers like Apache, NGINX, Passenger, and IIS. Elastic Beanstalk automatically handles deployment, provisioning, load balancing, auto-scaling, and monitoring while giving you full control over the resources in your workload. That way you can have programmatic access to each resource for granular tuning of your workload.  Use the version control services in AWS CodeCommit to access secure and scalable Git repos. It is fully managed as well, and you can store anything in your repos. CodeCommit fully integrates with Git.

With all of the best practices in DevOps deployed through AWS DevOps services and tools, why would you not use it? The time saving efficiency of AWS DevOps is a no-brainer for Artius IT. If you are interested in producing the best workload for your clients, contact Tor at 337.422.7639 or dev@ to get started with the best DevOps services in IT.

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