DevOps in AWS: CloudFormation, CodeCommit, CodePipeline, and CodeDeploy

We are entering a new era of technology this is causing and a cultural shift in the way software projects are built. The waterfall model paved the way for agile development a few years back. Today a need exists for better collaboration between IT operations, developers, and IT Infrastructure engineers. This need brought about the new culture that we call DevOps.

DevOps is fundamentally about improved collaboration, integration, automation, reliable, and consistent IT operations. DevOps is an efficient journey from development to production. It requires the overlapping and intersecting responsibilities of developers and IT operations.

DevOps means:

  • Infrastructure as code
  • Continuous Deployment
  • Continuous Integration
  • Version Control Integration
  • Test Automation
  • Monitoring

The goal of this post is to introduce you to CloudFormation, CodeCommit, CodePipeline & CodeDeploy which fits separately into DevOps pipeline. I include other important tools and technologies such as OpsWorks, Cloudwatch, and Beanstalk because without them the discussion would be incomplete.

Infrastructure as a code with CloudFormation:

Treating infrastructure as code offers many benefits. It means creation, deployment, and maintenance of infrastructure in a programmatic, descriptive, and declarative way. It maintains the infrastructures’ version, putting in a defined format, maintaining the syntax and semantics helps in the long run for an IT operation engineer. When the code is maintained and deployed according to the above-mentioned practice, the expected result is a consistent and reliable environment.

Maintaining infrastructure as code is nothing new for the engineers who have worked with Opscode Chef, Puppet, Ansible, and Salt among others. A good example of this is cookbooks in Chef. This is what we like to call, Infrastructure as code. See below:

package 'nginx' do
  action :install
end
service 'nginx' do
  action [ :enable, :start ]
end
cookbook_file "/usr/share/nginx/www/index.html" do
  source "index.html"
  mode "0644"
end

Take a look at how easily an nginx server installation starts and displays the homepage in a defined code format. This is a cookbook in the Ruby language and maintained as if it were regular code. You can use version control software like git or svn to store it and make improvements.

Those are not new to AWS can easily find that from a very early time in cloud computing provides infrastructure as code in terms of CloudFormation. By using CloudFormation template (in JSON format) you can define and model AWS resources. They follow a defined syntax and maintained just like the way the DevOps principle demands. Take a look:

{
  "AWSTemplateFormatVersion" : "2010-09-09",
  "Description" : "AWS CloudFormation Sample Template Sample template EIP_With_Association: This template shows how to associate an Elastic IP address with an Amazon EC2 instance",
  "Parameters" : {
    "InstanceType" : {
      "Description" : "WebServer EC2 instance type",
      "Type" : "String",
      "Default" : " m2.xlarge",
      "AllowedValues" : ["m2.xlarge", "m2.2xlarge", "m3.xlarge", "m3.2xlarge"]
,
      "ConstraintDescription" : "must be a valid EC2 instance type."
    },
    "KeyName" : {
      "Description" : "Name of an existing EC2 KeyPair to enable SSH access to the instances",
      "Type" : "AWS::EC2::KeyPair::KeyName",
      "ConstraintDescription" : "must be the name of an existing EC2 KeyPair."
    },
    "SSHLocation" : {
      "Description" : "The IP address range that can be used to SSH to the EC2 instances",
      "Type": "String",
      "MinLength": "9",
      "MaxLength": "18",
      "Default": "0.0.0.0/0",
      "AllowedPattern": "(\\d{1,3})\\.(\\d{1,3})\\.(\\d{1,3})\\.(\\d{1,3})/(\\d{1,2})",
      "ConstraintDescription": "must be a valid IP CIDR range of the form x.x.x.x/x."
    }
  },
  "Mappings" : {
    "AWSInstanceType2Arch" : {
      "m2.xlarge"   : { "Arch" : "PV64"   },
      "m2.2xlarge"  : { "Arch" : "PV64"   },
      "m3.large"    : { "Arch" : "HVM64"  },
      "m3.2xlarge"  : { "Arch" : "HVM64"  }
    },
    "AWSInstanceType2NATArch" : {
      "m2.xlarge"   : { "Arch" : "NATPV64"   },
      "m2.2xlarge"  : { "Arch" : "NATPV64"   },
      "m3.xlarge"   : { "Arch" : "NATHVM64"  },
      "m3.2xlarge"  : { "Arch" : "NATHVM64"  }
    }
,
    "AWSRegionArch2AMI" : {
      "us-east-1"        : {"PV64" : "ami-5fb8c835", "HVM64" : "ami-60b6c60a", "HVMG2" : "ami-e998ea83"},
      "us-west-1"        : {"PV64" : "ami-56ea8636", "HVM64" : "ami-d5ea86b5", "HVMG2" : "ami-943956f4"}
    }
  },
  "Resources" : {
    "EC2Instance" : {
      "Type" : "AWS::EC2::Instance",
      "Properties" : {
        "UserData" : { "Fn::Base64" : { "Fn::Join" : [ "", [ "IPAddress=", {"Ref" : "IPAddress"}]]}},
        "InstanceType" : { "Ref" : "InstanceType" },
        "SecurityGroups" : [ { "Ref" : "InstanceSecurityGroup" } ],
        "KeyName" : { "Ref" : "KeyName" },
        "ImageId" : { "Fn::FindInMap" : [ "AWSRegionArch2AMI", { "Ref" : "AWS::Region" },
                          { "Fn::FindInMap" : [ "AWSInstanceType2Arch", { "Ref" : "InstanceType" }, "Arch" ] } ] }
      }
    },
    "InstanceSecurityGroup" : {
      "Type" : "AWS::EC2::SecurityGroup",
      "Properties" : {
        "GroupDescription" : "Enable SSH access",
        "SecurityGroupIngress" :
          [ { "IpProtocol" : "tcp", "FromPort" : "22", "ToPort" : "22", "CidrIp" : { "Ref" : "SSHLocation"} }]
      }
    },
    "IPAddress" : {
      "Type" : "AWS::EC2::EIP"
    },
    "IPAssoc" : {
      "Type" : "AWS::EC2::EIPAssociation",
      "Properties" : {
        "InstanceId" : { "Ref" : "EC2Instance" },
        "EIP" : { "Ref" : "IPAddress" }
      }
    }
  },
  "Outputs" : {
    "InstanceId" : {
      "Description" : "InstanceId of the newly created EC2 instance",
      "Value" : { "Ref" : "EC2Instance" }
    },
    "InstanceIPAddress" : {
      "Description" : "IP address of the newly created EC2 instance",
      "Value" : { "Ref" : "IPAddress" }
    }
  }
}

Here all the details required to launch an EC2 instance–coded and maintained. At first glance, it may not appear useful. But upon closer inspection, the code has every detail, what should be the size of the instance, what is the architecture we are looking for, the security group, the region we want to deploy etc. It is a very basic template. But imagine when you create a complete environment and you want to maintain the consistency and reliability, this kind of template will help you immensely at later point of time. No wonder, a PaaS platform like PCF on AWS can be completely deployed using a CloudFormation template.

You can also check the Cloud Academy blogs on:
1. Cloud Formation Deployment Automation
2. Cloud Formation Deployment Tool
3. Writing your first cloud formation template
4. Understanding nesting cloud formation stacks

for a better and detailed understanding of the topic.

Version Control Integration with CodeCommit:

AWS CodeCommit is the Git-as-a-Service in AWS. We have an introductory blog on CodeCommit which will be a useful starting point to get introduced to CodeCommit. A cloud-based source control system with features like HA, fully managed, can store anything, secure. It has virtually limitless storage and no repo size limit, secured with AWS IAM and data is replicated across AZs for durability.

Continuous Deployment with CodeDeploy:

Continuous Deployment is another principle of DevOps where the production-ready code is automatically deployed from version controlled system repository. AWS CodeDeploy helps to deploy codes in AWS EC2 with minimal downtime, with centralized deployment control and monitoring. Using CodeDeploy is easy and few step process which are:

  1. Create an AppSec file and package your application. AppSec file describes a series of steps that CodeDeploy will use to deploy.
  2. Set up your deployment environment. In this step, you define your DeploymentGroup such as AutoScaling Group and Install the agents in EC2 instances.
  3. Deploy.

A sample CLI command is as follows:

$aws deploy create-deployment --application-name test-app
            --deployment-group-name test-dg
            --s3-location bucket=test-bucket, key=myapp.zip

You can read about our blog posts on CodeDeploy from here.

Continuous Delivery and automation with CodePipeline:

AWS CodePipeline is Amazon’s offering for Continuous Delivery and release automation service.  AWS CodePipeline automates the release process for building the code, deploying to pre-production environments, testing your application and releasing it to production. Every time there is a code change, AWS CodePipeline builds, tests, and deploys the application according to the defined workflow.
AWS CodePipeline

(Image Courtesy: Amazon)

CodePipeline is flexible which allows you to integrate partner tools and your own custom tools into any stage of the release process. The partner tools are GitHub for Source Control, Solano Labs, Jenkins & CloudBees for Build, Continuous Delivery & Integration, Apica, Blazemaster, Ghost Inspector for testing and XebiaLabs for deployment.

Conclusion

AWS has always put the best effort to provide its users with the best tools and technologies. The effort is also made to make them simple, effortless and not very tough learning curve to use. Every new announcement, we are experiencing that AWS has made the cloud journey smooth, agile and efficient by embracing the DevOps technologies and principles in its platform.

Avatar

Written by

Chandan Patra

Cloud Computing and Big Data professional with 10 years of experience in pre-sales, architecture, design, build and troubleshooting with best engineering practices. Specialities: Cloud Computing - AWS, DevOps(Chef), Hadoop Ecosystem, Storm & Kafka, ELK Stack, NoSQL, Java, Spring, Hibernate, Web Service


Related Posts

Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— January 6, 2020

New on Cloud Academy: Red Hat, Agile, OWASP Labs, Amazon SageMaker Lab, Linux Command Line Lab, SQL, Git Labs, Scrum Master, Azure Architects Lab, and Much More

Happy New Year! We hope you're ready to kick your training in overdrive in 2020 because we have a ton of new content for you. Not only do we have a bunch of new courses, hands-on labs, and lab challenges on AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud, but we also have three new courses on Red Hat, th...

Read more
  • agile
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Linux
  • OWASP
  • programming
  • red hat
  • scrum
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— December 24, 2019

Cloud Academy’s Blog Digest: Azure Best Practices, 6 Reasons You Should Get AWS Certified, Google Cloud Certification Prep, and more

Happy Holidays from Cloud Academy We hope you have a wonderful holiday season filled with family, friends, and plenty of food. Here at Cloud Academy, we are thankful for our amazing customer like you.  Since this time of year can be stressful, we’re sharing a few of our latest article...

Read more
  • AWS
  • azure best practices
  • blog digest
  • Cloud Academy
  • Google Cloud
Avatar
Guy Hummel
— December 12, 2019

Google Cloud Platform Certification: Preparation and Prerequisites

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) has evolved from being a niche player to a serious competitor to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. In 2019, research firm Gartner placed Google in the Leaders quadrant in its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service for the second consecuti...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— December 10, 2019

New Lab Challenges: Push Your Skills to the Next Level

Build hands-on experience using real accounts on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and more Meaningful cloud skills require more than book knowledge. Hands-on experience is required to translate knowledge into real-world results. We see this time and time again in studies about how pe...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
  • hands-on
  • labs
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— December 5, 2019

New on Cloud Academy: AWS Solution Architect Lab Challenge, Azure Hands-on Labs, Foundation Certificate in Cyber Security, and Much More

Now that Thanksgiving is over and the craziness of Black Friday has died down, it's now time for the busiest season of the year. Whether you're a last-minute shopper or you already have your shopping done, the holidays bring so much more excitement than any other time of year. Since our...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS solution architect
  • AZ-203
  • Azure
  • cyber security
  • FCCS
  • Foundation Certificate in Cyber Security
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Kubernetes
Avatar
Cloud Academy Team
— December 4, 2019

Understanding Enterprise Cloud Migration

What is enterprise cloud migration? Cloud migration is about moving your data, applications, and even infrastructure from your on-premises computers or infrastructure to a virtual pool of on-demand, shared resources that offer compute, storage, and network services at scale. Why d...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Data Migration
Wendy Dessler
Wendy Dessler
— November 27, 2019

6 Reasons Why You Should Get an AWS Certification This Year

In the past decade, the rise of cloud computing has been undeniable. Businesses of all sizes are moving their infrastructure and applications to the cloud. This is partly because the cloud allows businesses and their employees to access important information from just about anywhere. ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Certifications
  • certified
Avatar
Andrea Colangelo
— November 26, 2019

AWS Regions and Availability Zones: The Simplest Explanation You Will Ever Find Around

The basics of AWS Regions and Availability Zones We’re going to treat this article as a sort of AWS 101 — it’ll be a quick primer on AWS Regions and Availability Zones that will be useful for understanding the basics of how AWS infrastructure is organized. We’ll define each section,...

Read more
  • AWS
Avatar
Dzenan Dzevlan
— November 20, 2019

Application Load Balancer vs. Classic Load Balancer

What is an Elastic Load Balancer? This post covers basics of what an Elastic Load Balancer is, and two of its examples: Application Load Balancers and Classic Load Balancers. For additional information — including a comparison that explains Network Load Balancers — check out our post o...

Read more
  • ALB
  • Application Load Balancer
  • AWS
  • Elastic Load Balancer
  • ELB
Albert Qian
Albert Qian
— November 13, 2019

Advantages and Disadvantages of Microservices Architecture

What are microservices? Let's start our discussion by setting a foundation of what microservices are. Microservices are a way of breaking large software projects into loosely coupled modules, which communicate with each other through simple Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Docker
  • Kubernetes
  • Microservices
Nisar Ahmad
Nisar Ahmad
— November 12, 2019

Kubernetes Services: AWS vs. Azure vs. Google Cloud

Kubernetes is a popular open-source container orchestration platform that allows us to deploy and manage multi-container applications at scale. Businesses are rapidly adopting this revolutionary technology to modernize their applications. Cloud service providers — such as Amazon Web Ser...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
  • Kubernetes
Avatar
Stuart Scott
— October 31, 2019

AWS Internet of Things (IoT): The 3 Services You Need to Know

The Internet of Things (IoT) embeds technology into any physical thing to enable never-before-seen levels of connectivity. IoT is revolutionizing industries and creating many new market opportunities. Cloud services play an important role in enabling deployment of IoT solutions that min...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS IoT Events
  • AWS IoT SiteWise
  • AWS IoT Things Graph
  • IoT