Elastic Beanstalk vs CloudFormation vs OpsWorks vs CodeDeploy

AWS Elastic Beanstalk

AWS CloudFormation

  • AWS Elastic Beanstalk makes it even easier for developers to quickly deploy and manage applications in the AWS Cloud. Developers simply upload their application, and Elastic Beanstalk automatically handles the deployment details of capacity provisioning, load balancing, auto-scaling, and application health monitoring.

  • This platform-as-a-service solution is typically for those who want to deploy and manage their applications within minutes in the AWS Cloud without worrying about the underlying infrastructure.

  • AWS Elastic Beanstalk supports the following languages and development stacks:

    • Apache Tomcat for Java applications

    • Apache HTTP Server for PHP applications

    • Apache HTTP Server for Python applications

    • Nginx or Apache HTTP Server for Node.js applications

    • Passenger or Puma for Ruby applications

    • Microsoft IIS for .NET applications

    • Java SE

    • Docker

    • Go

  •  Elastic Beanstalk also supports deployment versioning. It maintains a copy of older deployments so that it is easy for the developer to rollback any changes made on the application.
  • AWS CloudFormation is a service that gives developers and businesses an easy way to create a collection of related AWS resources and provision them in an orderly and predictable fashion. This is typically known as “infrastructure as code”.

  • The main difference between CloudFormation and Elastic Beanstalk is that CloudFormation deals more with the AWS infrastructure rather than applications.

  • AWS CloudFormation introduces two concepts:

    • The template, a JSON or YAML-format, text-based file that describes all the AWS resources and configurations you need to deploy to run your application.

    • The stack, which is the set of AWS resources that are created and managed as a single unit when AWS CloudFormation instantiates a template.

  • CloudFormation also supports a rollback feature through template version controls. When you try to update your stack but the deployment fails midway, CloudFormation will automatically revert the changes back to their previous working states.
  • CloudFormation supports Elastic Beanstalk application environments. This allows you, for example, to create and manage an AWS Elastic Beanstalk–hosted application along with an RDS database to store the application data.
  • AWS CloudFormation can be used to bootstrap both Chef (Server and Client) and Puppet (Master and Client) softwares on your EC2 instances.

  • CloudFormation also supports OpsWorks. You can model OpsWorks components (stacks, layers, instances, and applications) inside CloudFormation templates, and provision them as CloudFormation stacks. This enables you to document, version control, and share your OpsWorks configuration.

  • AWS CodeDeploy is a recommended adjunct to CloudFormation for managing the application deployments and updates.

AWS OpsWorks

AWS CodeDeploy

  • AWS OpsWorks is a configuration management service that provides managed instances of Chef and Puppet. OpsWorks lets you use Chef and Puppet to automate how servers are configured, deployed, and managed across your EC2 instances or on-premises compute environments.

  • OpsWorks offers three services:

    • Chef Automate

    • Puppet Enterprise

    • OpsWorks Stacks
  • OpsWorks for Puppet Enterprise lets you use Puppet to automate how nodes are configured, deployed, and managed, whether they are EC2 instances or on-premises devices.

  • OpsWorks for Chef Automate lets you create AWS-managed Chef servers, and use the Chef DK and other Chef tooling to manage them.

  • OpsWorks Stacks lets you create stacks that help you manage cloud resources in specialized groups called layers. A layer represents a set of EC2 instances that serve a particular purpose. Layers depend on Chef recipes to handle tasks such as installing packages on instances, deploying apps, and running scripts.

  • Compared to CloudFormation, OpsWorks focuses more on orchestration and software configuration, and less on what and how AWS resources are procured.
  • AWS CodeDeploy is a service that coordinates application deployments across EC2 instances and instances running on-premises. It makes it easier for you to rapidly release new features, helps you avoid downtime during deployment, and handles the complexity of updating your applications.

  • Unlike Elastic Beanstalk, CodeDeploy does not automatically handle capacity provisioning, scaling, and monitoring.

  • Unlike CloudFormation and OpsWorks, CodeDeploy does not deal with infrastructure configuration and orchestration.

  • AWS CodeDeploy is a building block service focused on helping developers deploy and update software on any instance, including EC2 instances and instances running on-premises. AWS Elastic Beanstalk and AWS OpsWorks are end-to-end application management solutions.

  • You create a deployment configuration file to specify how deployments proceed.
  • CodeDeploy complements CloudFormation well when deploying code to infrastructure that is provisioned and managed with CloudFormation.

Additional Notes:

  • Elastic Beanstalk, CloudFormation, or OpsWorks are particularly useful for blue-green deployment method as they provide a simple way to clone your running application stack.
  • CloudFormation and OpsWorks are best suited for the prebaking AMIs.
  • CodeDeploy and OpsWorks are best suited for performing in-place application upgrades. For disposable upgrades, you can set up a cloned environment with Elastic Beanstalk, CloudFormation, and OpsWorks.
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