21 Jun 2015

The missing deployment hook for AWS OpsWorks

We've been using and recommending AWS OpsWorks for many years (from way back before it was even known as OpsWorks) and use it as our 'Go-To' configuration management system for the majority of AWS hosted client projects. It integrates superbly with Chef and brings together the core of AWS, cloud and DevOps into a single service, however it's not without nuances and the lack of dynamic deployment hooks from the code pipeline has bugged us for sometime.

Stack, layer and app configurations are a breeze and when combined with manual, time or load based scaling will launch, configure and deploy a range of application types to an infrastructure bootstrapped for your exact requirements, with easy options for adapting and/or adding resources (instance type upscale etc). Apps are pulled from S3, SVN or Git and although deployed to fresh launches, if you need to redeploy it's a somewhat manual process either from within the OpsWorks console (deployments), or remotely using the awscli tools. Git do provide an OpsWorks service hook, but what if you're not using Git? For example we use (and prefer) Bitbucket.

There's no shortage of feature rich CI portals out but in most cases for us they all felt like a 'sledgehammer/walnut' scenario when all we needed was a simple hook between a code commit and an OpsWorks app deploy, testing could be an option as a stage within the deployment pipeline but initially wasn't a requirement. After much digging we found this excellent post, detailing a simple method using Codeship CI which we implemented and tested in under an hour.

As mentioned, we could implement extended testing reliant on client and project type/need, but at an entry level we now have our missing OpsWorks deploy hook and the pipeline is complete.

We have been most impressed with the simplicity and ease of use the Codeship eco-system delivers and for anyone wishing to take a look they offer a generous free tier with 100 private builds per month and x5 private projects. Click the graphic to visit and sign up.


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