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Amazon Elastic Beanstalk blurs IaaS and PaaS lines

AWS gives IaaS users an ability to build apps in Elastic Beanstalk. This strengthens its PaaS message and puts more emphasis on the applications.

Platform as a service options such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Elastic Beanstalk often are bundled with infrastructure...

as a service features like storage and compute. And because the best way to sell IaaS is to give customers the ability to also build applications in PaaS, this trend will likely continue.

But unlike other PaaS providers, Elastic Beanstalk combines different AWS features, making it an open box that blurs the lines among all other AWS offerings. That blurry line between IaaS and PaaS gives companies the ability to focus on applications.

The ideal approach to cloud would be to have access to any number of IaaS providers from a PaaS provider. But this has been difficult because most IaaS providers that also offer PaaS are tightly coupled. It's tough to determine where the IaaS subsystem stops and the PaaS subsystem begins.

Because Elastic Beanstalk was built by combining different AWS features, customers can tune various services within the AWS ecosystem, including Virtual Private Cloud, Relational Database Service, Elastic Load Balancer and so on. Admins can log into provisioned Elastic Compute Cloud instances in the cluster and do whatever they want with the resources.

Amazon Elastic Beanstalk is also a good fit for companies standardizing on the DevOps capabilities that AWS provides. The advantage of Elastic Beanstalk is that developers have more control over AWS resources that are bound to applications. Similar to IaaS, PaaS should offer elastic scalability, meaning that resources can be provisioned or de-provisioned to support development or operations; costs go up and down depending on the resources used. This can also improve developer productivity since they no longer need to wait for resources to be ready before beginning development work. Developers also don't have to wait for the additional resources required during development or operations.

Since the release of Elastic Beanstalk, there have been thousands of implementations of applications, mostly around turning AWS infrastructure into projects. Elastic Beanstalk's ability to mesh with other AWS offerings is a clear advantage. In essence, Beanstalk is as much an orchestration layer as it is an application development layer, and that makes all the difference.

AWS Elastic Beanstalk supports Apache Tomcat for Java applications, Apache HTTP Server for PHP applications and other well-known development programs. It also supports Docker. Moreover, AWS does not shove Beanstalk at you; the company provides an option to those who need this tool to better mix and match services for their cloud environments.

Next Steps

Four ways to cut development times in Amazon Elastic Beanstalk

How companies can link Docker with Elastic Beanstalk

How well do you know AWS IaaS?

This was last published in March 2015

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How are you using Amazon Elastic Beanstalk?
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Elastic Beanstalk allows us to write code to create mobile apps for our customers without having the headaches of managing and configuring infrastructure. We also like the fact we can modify any bean stalk the way we want when we want to give us complete control.
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