What is AWS DevOps and What Tools do You need to Develop a Production-Grade Web App

A combination of "development" and "operations," DevOps is a set of practices for agile software design. It's a simplified methodology, so consequently, there are many different varieties to choose from. In this article, we will focus on Amazon Web Services (AWS) DevOps, its architecture, best practices, and some of the most useful tools.

But before we scrutinize AWS DevOps, we should review a few basic terms and concepts.

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What is DevOps?

Building off the earlier brief description, here is how Amazon defines DevOps: "DevOps is the combination of cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that increases an organization's ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity: evolving and improving products at a faster pace than organizations using traditional software development and infrastructure management processes."

DevOps brings together the development and operations groups for a faster, more accurate, and more responsive software delivery experience. If you want an even more in-depth definition, check out What is DevOps?

What is AWS?

Cloud computing has surged in popularity, and consequently, users face a choice of over a dozen different cloud providers, such as Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and IBM Cloud Services. AWS is the acronym for Amazon's cloud provider, Amazon Web Services. AWS offers all the services and features (e.g., security, compute capacity, and databases) that you typically get in an in-house data center. It's arguably the largest cloud provider available.

For a closer look at AWS, read, "What is AWS: An Introduction to Amazon Web Services."

Now that we have understood about DevOps and AWS, let us now look into what exactly is the AWS DevOps.

So, What is AWS DevOps?

AWS DevOps is Amazon's answer to implementing the DevOps philosophy using its cloud platform and dedicated tools and services. In their own words, "AWS provides a set of flexible services designed to enable companies to more rapidly and reliably build and deliver products using AWS and DevOps practices. These services simplify provisioning and managing infrastructure, deploying application code, automating software release processes, and monitoring your application and infrastructure performance."

AWS DevOps provides application developer teams with the means to efficiently implement continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD). This enables them to securely store and version application source code, while automatically building, testing, and eventually deploying the application to either on-premises environments or to AWS.

There are three primary categories in cloud computing:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

AWS falls under the IaaS category—a scalable instant-computing infrastructure that the customer completely controls, including virtual servers and operating systems (OSes).

After getting an introduction and learning what is AWS DevOps, let us continue our learning by looking into the architecture of AWS DevOps.

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AWS DevOps Architecture

To get a better idea of what's involved in implementing DevOps on AWS, we need to break down the system's underlying architecture, using AWS EC2 as our example. EC2 stands for Elastic Compute Cloud, which lets users configure virtual machines and the underlying resources they leverage from a central console. Automation enables IT, administrators, to ensure that resources scale to meet their organization's needs, making the entire process more flexible and cost-effective.

  • Load Balancing. Most web application architectures feature load balancing. This virtual network appliance distributes EC2 traffic across multiple available web server resources, which can be increased or decreased depending on traffic demands. AWS offers the Elastic Load Balancing service to automate this.
  • Amazon CloudFront. This service delivers content, such as a website, and may include dynamic, streaming, and static types. It's optimized to operate in conjunction with other AWS components and is also compatible with non-AWS clouds.
  • Amazon Security Group. Due to the rise in hacking incidents, security is a huge priority. This feature acts as an inbound network firewall. Customers must specify the authorized protocols, ports, and source IP ranges to gain EC2 access. Users can give each EC2 instance one or several security groups, each of which sends the authorized traffic to the appropriate instance.
  • Elastic Caches. This web service manages the cloud's memory cache. Elastic caches reduce the strain on the services by caching frequently used data, thereby increasing performance and scalability.
  • Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS). The RDS service simplifies the setup, operations, and scalability of a cloud-based relational database. It manages the everyday database administration functions and tasks and provides an easily scalable, cost-efficient means of working with relational databases. RDS currently supports the following databases: Amazon Aurora, MariaDB, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, and PostgreSQL.
  • Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3). The AWS cloud offers two options for accessing, backing up, and storing web application data and other assets. S3 gives users a simple UI to manage any amount of data, anytime, from anywhere on the web. Users store data as objects within buckets. These objects, in turn, can be accessed, added to, read, or deleted as needed.
  • Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS): This is a high-performance block storage solution that helps manage data partitions and application logs. Users turn to EBS when they need rapid access and long-term persistence. EBS volumes are particularly ideal for dealing with primary storage for databases, file systems, or any applications that need access to unformatted, raw, block-level storage, and granular updates.
  • Amazon Auto Scaling. This service creates capacity groups of servers that users can expand or reduce as needed and on-demand.

Now that we have gone through the architecture, let us next learn about the various tools of AWS DevOps.

AWS DevOps Tools

AWS DevOps offers a comprehensive selection of tools to build and deploy software in the cloud. Here's a sample of a few of the more popular tools.

  • AWS Cloud Development Kit. This tool is an open-source software development framework that uses familiar programming languages for modeling and provisioning cloud application resources.
  • AWS CodeBuild. CodeBuild is an integration service that scales continuously and processes multiple builds. Users can build and test code with continuous scaling.
  • AWS CodeDeploy. This tool automates software deployments to several different computer services like Amazon EC2, AWS Fargate, AWS Lambda, or any other on-premises servers you choose.
  • AWS CodePipeline. This DevOps tool automates your continuously-delivered code for rapid and accurate updates.
  • AWS CodeStar. CodeStar is a particularly useful tool to conduct DevOps on AWS. It provides an intuitive user interface to help users effortlessly develop, build, and deploy applications on AWS. You can set up an entire continuous delivery toolchain in minutes.
  • AWS Device Farm. Mobile apps are a big deal today, and this tool helps developers improve the quality of their web and mobile apps by testing them across real mobile devices and desktop browsers hosted in the AWS Cloud. You can even run tests concurrently on different devices and browsers!

Let us next learn some of the best practices of AWS DevOps.

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AWS DevOps Best Practices

App developers who want to combine AWS and DevOps successfully must keep in mind these best practices:

  • Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery. CI/CD pipelines are the lifeblood of the DevOps philosophy. Continuous integration means building and regularly validating the project by updating code changes at set intervals. Continuous delivery builds off CI by automatically deploying code in the production environment.
  • Infrastructure Automation. This practice focuses on quality code and the need to test it at regular intervals automatically.
  • Infrastructure as Code. This practice provisions and manages your AWS cloud resources by writing a template file that is machine consumable and human-readable. The AWS CloudFormation tool is the go-to resource for AWS cloud development users.
  • Monitoring and Logging. All system activity needs to be monitored and recorded to assure that events get triggered at the right time, and also to correct anything that isn't performing well.
  • Communication and Collaboration. Every team and department needs to be on board with the project and stay informed. Additionally, there needs to be a forum to share useful feedback that may shape the course of the project.

How to Get Better Acquainted With DevOps and AWS

There's so much more to learn about DevOps as a philosophy and AWS as a cloud provider. Considering how both concepts are making more significant gains in today's app development industry, the more you know, the better.

With that in mind, why not check out which DevOps tools are the best? Or perhaps you want to become an AWS solutions architect?

Are you enroute to becoming a DevOps professional? Try answering these DevOps Engineer MCQs and know where you stand.

Do You Want to Become a DevOps Practitioner?

If you'd like to become a DevOps expert, then Simplilearn has the resources you need. The DevOps Certification Training course prepares you for a career in this increasingly popular methodology.

If you're already involved in DevOps, then consider upskilling. The more skills under your belt, the more valuable you are to your current or any future organization. The DevOps Engineer Certification Course can help you prepare you for a career in DevOps, the fast-growing field that bridges the gap between software developers and operations.

Simplilearn's DevOps engineer course teaches you the principles of CI/CD, automated configuration management, inter-team collaboration, and IT service agility. The course uses popular DevOps tools like Ansible, Cucumber, Docker, Git, Jenkins, Nagios, and TeamCity. 

The DevOps course can get you over 55 hours of Blended Learning, two dozen live demos of popular DevOps tools, more than ten industry projects, 24/7 support, and lifetime access to self-paced learning resources. Upon finishing the course, you can test your understanding of the concepts by answering the DevOps multiple choice questions and be well prepared for clearing the certification exam, you will be ready to enter the DevOps field and make a name for yourself in the industry!

As the demand for DevOps professionals continues to grow and depending on the exact job title, these professionals can earn an annual average salary of over US $115,666. So, what are you waiting for? Check out Simplilearn today and get started on a better career path!

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