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Build better apps with these AWS hybrid cloud development tools

Hybrid cloud often is a goal for many enterprises, but getting there is a challenge. AWS has a host of hybrid cloud tools to build applications on and off premises.

Hybrid cloud popularity is on the rise as businesses address increasing demands for flexibility, scalability and...

resiliency. AWS has a range of services to support on-premises and public cloud-based workloads.

IT teams must develop and deploy hybrid workloads, often using DevOps methods, such as continuous deployment and continuous integration. Developers need tools and services to configure and deploy a regularly changing codebase, while minimizing application downtime and maintaining control of the hybrid environment.

AWS hybrid cloud development tools and services

There are several hybrid cloud development tools and services within the AWS ecosystem, including AWS CodeDeploy and AWS OpsWorks. Additionally, numerous AWS partnerships improve application development and hybrid projects.

Test your knowledge of hybrid cloud computing trends

Do developers and IT decision-makers cite different factors for moving to -- and staying away from -- a hybrid cloud architecture? See where your opinions line up with this quiz.

Some services cater to specific platforms, such as supporting Red Hat Linux, VMware instances or managing virtual instances on premises or in the cloud. And others improve hybrid cloud security, ensuring that users are properly authorized to use resources. Here's a look at nine ways AWS tools and partnerships support the hybrid cloud.

AWS CodeDeploy: Enterprise IT must deploy new code quickly. AWS CodeDeploy provides a platform- and language-agnostic service to automate code deployments to both Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and on-premises instances. The service deploys to individual instances or scales to thousands of instances, and teams can generate detailed reports to track when and where each application launches. Automation speeds up routine or repetitive tasks and, at the same time, reduces application downtime and eliminates errors. Developers can also roll back installs to address application troubleshooting. Use AWS CodeDeploy through the AWS Management Console, AWS Command Line Interface, as well as software development kits or APIs for third-party tool integration.

AWS OpsWorks: Enterprise-class applications typically require considerable configuration, which places burdens on developers and IT operations staff who must build and manage new local and cloud application releases. AWS OpsWorks is a configuration management service designed to configure and run applications. Developers define installation and configuration information for each application component, including the resources provided to each component. AWS OpsWorks supports templates and scripting with high levels of app-dev automation; the service can even orchestrate changes to the operation as it scales.

There are two basic variations of AWS OpsWorks:

  • AWS OpsWorks for Chef Automate provides a fully managed Chef server and tools for developers to manage continuous app testing and deployment. The service manages additional software installations, such as OSes and database provisioning. As a Chef platform, the service is compatible with cookbooks from the public Chef community.
  • AWS OpsWorks Stacks manages applications and servers located on premises and in the cloud. The service manages applications as a stack, including related features, such as load balancing, back-end databases and application servers. AWS OpsWorks Stacks can scale automatically based on traffic levels or predetermined schedules. The service also supports Chef, and it uses Chef Solo to run recipes for automated package installations, software configuration and other common tasks.

Developer partnerships: AWS tools cannot replace established utilities that are engrained in the developer community. Instead, tools like AWS CodeDeploy integrate with a wide range of third-party hybrid cloud development tools, including Codeship, Jenkins and GitHub. AWS CodeDeploy also supports major configuration management templates from Ansible, Puppet Labs, Chef and SaltStack.

RHEL on Amazon EC2: Linux instances require additional support in a hybrid cloud. AWS supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Amazon EC2 instances, which enables users to build and run Linux enterprise applications on premises and then move those workloads to RHEL instances in EC2. AWS' version of RHEL is identical to the version installed on premises; Red Hat maintains and supplies the base Amazon Machine Image files for Amazon EC2.

VMware Cloud on AWS: Virtualization is a foundation of cloud computing, and VMware develops software-defined technologies that add flexibility and scalability to virtualized environments. VMware Cloud on AWS promises a complete, managed VMware build on AWS bare metal. VMware Cloud on AWS includes established VMware technologies, such as the vSphere ESXi hypervisor, vSAN and NSX network virtualization platform. The partnership enables organizations to build a virtualized environment into the AWS public cloud and interface directly with other AWS compute, storage, database, analytic, mobile, internet of things and other services directly from your applications running on EC2 instances.

AWS Identity and Access Management: All clouds -- public, private and hybrid -- require high levels of security to prevent improper access to sensitive resources. And AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) is the cornerstone of cloud access.

IAM granularly controls user, group and application access to the AWS Management Console and AWS APIs. The free service also supports federated identity management with major identity platforms, such as Microsoft Active Directory (AD), Google and Facebook.

AWS Directory Service: Microsoft AD establishes a centralized repository and management engine for users, security and enterprise resources. As enterprises migrate to cloud resources, the same kind of directory-based management must carry over to the cloud. AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory enables AWS workloads and resources to use managed AD in the cloud without having to synchronize or replicate data from an on-premises AD.

The service extends an existing AD to the cloud using AWS Microsoft AD as a resource domain. Administrators then migrate AD-dependent workloads between local data centers and AWS deployments. IT teams can use existing AD administrative tools and features, such as Kerberos single sign-on, domain trusts and Group Policy Objects. Teams can also use the cloud service to manage administration of computers, mobile devices and other devices.

Amazon EC2 Run Command: The myriad of cloud and local tools complicates hybrid cloud development. The Amazon EC2 Run Command supports server and VM management locally and in the cloud, making it well-suited for hybrid configurations.

The free tool enables basic automation that runs scripts or commands for Linux systems, PowerShell or other Windows commands, installs software updates and patches, joins instances to a domain and tackles tasks across multiple instances. Teams can run these commands with EC2 instances, as well as VMware ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V and other platforms. AWS CloudTrail logs all EC2 Run Command actions and results, so administrators can track changes and audit the environment.

Service partnerships: In addition to major partnerships with Red Hat and VMware, AWS maintains a wide range of relationships with security providers. Trend Micro's Hybrid Cloud Security service offers visibility and workload discovery across VMware, AWS and Azure. Alert Logic touts lateral packet inspection within AWS and Azure with a distributed intrusion detection system for cloud. Splunk App for AWS enables centralized visibility across cloud, hybrid and on-premises workloads. Okta provides adaptive multifactor authentication tools that support thousands of platforms, including cloud services like AWS.

Next Steps

AWS hybrid cloud tools break through setup barriers

How the enterprise shapes AWS' hybrid cloud strategy

New tech pushes AWS ahead in hybrid cloud

This was last published in August 2017

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