AWS Launches OpsWorks, A Potential PaaS Disruptor, To Automate App Deployment To The Cloud

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has launched a new service called OpsWorks, which manages apps at any scale. But more interesting is the disruptive influence the move will have on the fledgling platform as a service market (PaaS) and the battles between Chef and Puppet, the two competing services that help DevOps pros manage their increasingly complex infrastructures.

According to the announcement, the service is designed to manage the “complete application life cycle, including resource provisioning, configuration management, application deployment, software updates, monitoring and access control.” In a blog post, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels writes that AWS OpsWorks is built on technology developed by Berlin company Peritor, the creators of Scalarium, which was acquired by AWS in 2012.

OpsWorks gives developers the capability to use what it calls “layers,” which act as blueprints for the instances that a developer deploys. These layers can be used to configure a set of instances and the different related resources such as AWS “Elastic IP addresses,” which allows developers to use the dynamic aspects of the AWS cloud environment. The new service includes layers for technologies that include Ruby, PHP, HAProxy, Memcached and MySQL. A developer can extend the layer or create a custom one. Chef, used for automating infrastructure, can be triggered to push out “recipes” that correlate to specific events in the application life-cycle management.

OpsWorks is also used to assign instances to the different layers in the configuration of the developer’s choosing.

The powers of automation come into play in all aspects of OpsWorks. For example, the service defines and deploys apps. The developer tells OpsWorks where the code is located and from there, the system takes care of deployment tasks such as database configuration.

OpsWorks could be quite disruptive. Commenters on Hacker News point to its capabilities and how it can be used to replace Heroku. It integrates Chef, which raises questions about how Puppet might be used in this environment.

Overall, a meaty piece of news that points to the faster pace of app development, the need to automate and the impact it all has on the PaaS and DevOps markets.