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Amazon launches Chef-based service for management platform OpsWorks

The compnay aims to provide a more advanced management platform

Amazon Web Services has introduced OpsWorks, a cloud-based platform powered by the Chef framework, which will give enterprises more integrated tools for managing the complete application life cycle.

Enterprises have started asking for more sophisticated tools to manage their AWS resources and automate application deployments because their cloud-based infrastructures are becoming bigger and more complex, Amazon said on Monday.

AWS OpsWorks is available now as a beta and is targeted at DevOps users who want better management and automation tools to help them customize and control their environments. It can be used for resource provisioning, configuration management, application deployment, software updates, monitoring, and access control at no extra cost through the AWS Management Console, SDKs, and Command Line Interface, according to Amazon.

In OpsWorks, users start by creating a stack, which is a container for all the EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) instances and other resources that they want to manage together. Applications, user permissions, and other resources are controlled in the context of the Stack.

Within a stack, users define layers that describe how to provision and configure instances. A layer can, for example, specify what packages to install, which security groups to add and Elastic IP addresses to assign, according to Amazon. To help users, layers for Ruby, PHP, Node.js, load balancer HAProxy, caching platform Memcached, and MySQL are included, it said.

The platform uses Opscode Chef recipes to handle the mechanics of setting up and configuring instances, deploying applications, and so on. Both built-in and custom recipes can be used as part of the layers. Users can also take advantage of hundreds of community-built configurations, according to Amazon.

The first iteration of OpsWorks provides full control of software on EC2 instances and integrates with resources such as S3 (Simple Storage Service) and Amazon RDS (Relational Database Service).

The best way to get started is to go through the "AWS OpsWorks Getting Started Guide", which is part of Amazon's technical documentation.

AWS OpsWorks currently supports Amazon Linux and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

OpsWorks will be offered alongside existing management offerings Elastic Beanstalk and CloudFormation.

While Elastic Beanstalk is specifically optimized for the most common Web applications and application middleware, OpsWorks can be used with anything from simple Web applications to highly complex applications.

CloudFormation focuses on providing foundational management capabilities without prescribing a particular model for development and operations. Customers define templates and use them to provision and manage AWS resources, operating systems and application code. In contrast, AWS OpsWorks is a higher-level service based on the DevOps method, according to Amazon

Compared to CloudFormation, OpsWorks also supports a narrower range of application-oriented resource types including EC2 instances, EBS (Elastic Block Store) volumes, Elastic IPs, and Amazon CloudWatch metrics.

OpsWorks is built on technology developed by Peritor, which developed the Scalarium management platform and was acquired by Amazon last year. Existing Scalarium can access their accounts on scalarium.com through August, 2013. They will contacted directly with information about migration in March, according to Amazon.

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