Definition

AWS OpsWorks (Amazon Web Services OpsWorks)

Contributor(s): David Carty

AWS OpsWorks (Amazon Web Services OpsWorks) is a cloud computing service from Amazon Web Services (AWS) that manages infrastructure deployment for cloud administrators. The service automates deployment, configurations and operational tasks for distributed applications. With OpsWorks, cloud administrators and developers can define the infrastructure and resource configurations, such as storage and database options, and then select the operating system (OS) and instance type on which to deploy the application.

OpsWorks organizes applications into layers to provision Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances and resources for an application. Using the open source configuration tool Chef, developers can customize stacks or use pre-built layer templates on Chef scripts called cookbooks. These layers operate common components in Ruby, PHP, Node.js, Java, Amazon RDS, HA Proxy, MySQL and Memcached.

Stacks define system configurations, including server, database and load-balancing options. Layers configure subsystems -- such as Web or database servers -- and manage sets of resources including instances, Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes and elastic IP addresses. The default computing limit is 20 stacks running 20 layers each.

Once the stack is set up, OpsWorks pulls in application code from the user-defined location and runs it on the instances. Applications can run inside an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC); OpsWorks also supports AWS Identity and Access Management (AWS IAM) and provides a set of built-in security groups for each layer.

OpsWorks can scale instances by time of day or average CPU load and handle software updates as needed. Load balancers can also be deployed to route traffic between instances. OpsWorks also monitors the health of an application throughout its lifecycle, detecting and replacing failed instances. When particular events surpass resources thresholds, OpsWorks generates alarms to trigger notifications or take action.

The OpsWorks service is free of charge; customers who subscribe to it pay for compute power, storage and other billable resources used. OpsWorks supports on-premises servers, which are charged hourly, but there is no additional charge for computing power beyond the requisite instances, EBS volumes, Elastic IP addresses and other AWS resources.

This was last updated in August 2015

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What, in your opinion, is the most useful feature of AWS OpsWorks?
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I just noticed that AWS has started charging for OpsWorks even on AWS EC2 instances. Do you know when did that happen?
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