Overview: Configuration and Release Management
The Amazon Web Services (AWS) Marketplace offers a large variety of commercial and open source offerings to augment software configuration and release within the AWS ecosystem. We look at the pros and cons of the most common configuration and release solutions from the Marketplace.
Modern software applications—particularly those that are designed to run on cloud platforms like AWS—commonly orchestrate numerous independent resources for compute, storage, database, networking, and security responsibilities.
Identifying and synchronizing all of these elements during the software build and deployment process is an essential but highly complicated task, even when releases are relatively infrequent. The challenge becomes even more daunting when attempting to keep pace with today’s DevOps process environments that employ Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery.
In response, tailored products—open source as well as proprietary—now let developers and administrators employ aids like playbooks, templates, or recipes to organize how they release software.
AWS Configuration and Release Solutions
AWS CloudFormation enables you to create and maintain a collection of all the AWS assets—including those that focus on developer-supplied code such as AWS Elastic Beanstalk—required for an application to be deployed onto the platform. This easily maintained inventory serves as the guidebook for provisioning and launching new instances in a rapid yet predictable manner.
Since AWS-hosted solutions are routinely composed of a kaleidoscope of Amazon-supplied resources, AWS Config is an invaluable managed service that lets administrators maintain an inventory of all AWS assets. This includes fine-grained details about their initial configuration, dependencies, and how the configuration evolves over time.
Administrators are also free to define rules related to governance, compliance, and any other desired policies, and AWS SNS will instantly alert them to any deviations.
AWS Configuration and Release Pricing
Using AWS CloudFormation incurs no additional expenses. The only charges are for the underlying Amazon Web Services resources that comprise what’s being positioned onto the platform. On the other hand, AWS Config pricing is driven by two primary factors: the number of resources with recorded configurations and the number of defined active rules.
Each recorded configuration is charged at a fraction of a cent per month; each active rule incurs a $2 per month fee. In addition, Amazon supplies 20,000 free evaluations per active rule each month, with additional evaluations costing 10 cents per thousand.
AWS Configuration and Release Limitations
While AWS configuration and release management tools do a great job of bringing order to what can quickly devolve into a chaotic process, they also introduce some proprietary artifacts and aren’t designed to work with on-premise resources and other cloud environments.
Instead, most enterprises elect to treat AWS as one piece of a larger software delivery puzzle by implementing one of the highly specialized tools that have become popular with developers and administrators.
Third Party Configuration and Release Solutions
Although they’re well-integrated with the Amazon Web Services platform and technologies like AWS CloudFormation, these configuration management products are able to work on multiple cloud providers and on-premise data centers.
Along with coordinating all the components that make up a modern software application, they help with error recovery, supply essential reporting, and can address critical governance and security concerns.
Third Party Configuration and Release Features
|Open source with commercial enhancements available||Cross platform support||Rich, web-based user interface|
|Integration with version control||Agentless architecture||Simplified configuration language|
|Extensive recipe collection||Flexible pricing models|
Third Party Software and Tools
|Ansible||Ansible is a radically simple IT automation engine that automates cloud provisioning, configuration management, application deployment, and intra-service orchestration. It models the IT infrastructure by describing how all systems interrelate, rather than just managing one system at a time.|
|Chef||Chef is an open source software agent that automates infrastructure by turning it into code. The infrastructure becomes dynamic, versionable, human-readable, and testable, regardless of whether it’s deployed in the cloud, on-premises, or in a hybrid environment.|
|Puppet||Puppet is an open source configuration management tool that provides a standard way of delivering and operating software, no matter where it runs. It defines apps and infrastructure using a common easy-to-read language.|