The power of using Amazon AWS for your IT needs is incredible.  There are dozens of services that are within reach of those that have even the smallest budget.  Of course, all this power requires responsibility in the form of administration and monitoring.  The good news is that Amazon has once again thought of that and provided us with a compelling service.  The Elastic BeanStalk service is a management tool that adds ease-of-use to the most commonly used AWS options.

Cloud Deployments

The heart of Elastic BeanStalk is the ability to use CodeDeploy to put your application on any VM quickly and consistently.  All of those cloud resources need to be updated when you make changes to your application.  CodeDeploy makes that a task you can automate through placing files on S3 and configuring the deployment process.  Once you have this setup, you can update a machine at a time or several at once.  This process can be done for a variety of development environments including, Java, PHP, Node, and more.

Just In Time

The real power of Elastic BeanStalk is in the ability to scale your applications up and down dynamically.  This feature takes away the headache of monitoring your systems closely.  Instead, the service has a set of rules that can be configured to trigger changes in processing, storage, database resources, etc.  When you hit a peak, then the systems will be reinforced to handle the traffic.  The rules can also be configured to reduce resources when they are not needed.

Now you can create a rule that says add more processing power when you hit a 75% utilization for more than a few minutes or reduce when you are below 25%.  This is a simple example.  The ability to configure your rules is impressive and should meet your needs to model utilization.

Learning Elastic BeanStalk

There is a video on the home page for EBS.  However, I recommend you take a few minutes and walk through the tutorial.  It only scratches the surface but is at least an introduction to the main features of the service.  Give it a whirl.  You might find that your system admin days are coming to an end.

Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a longtime student of technology as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is a founder and principle of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences. In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although a few have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax.

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