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AWS OpsWorks
User Guide (API Version 2013-02-18)

What Is AWS OpsWorks?

AWS OpsWorks is a configuration management service that helps you configure and operate applications in a cloud enterprise by using Chef. AWS OpsWorks Stacks and AWS OpsWorks for Chef Automate let you use Chef cookbooks and solutions for configuration management.

AWS OpsWorks Services

AWS OpsWorks for Chef Automate

AWS OpsWorks for Chef Automate lets you create AWS-managed Chef servers that include Chef Automate premium features, and use the Chef DK and other Chef tooling to manage them. A Chef server manages nodes in your environment, stores information about those nodes, and serves as a central repository for your Chef cookbooks. The cookbooks contain recipes that are run by the chef-client agent on each node that you manage by using Chef. You can use Chef tools like knife and Test Kitchen to manage nodes and cookbooks on a Chef server in the AWS OpsWorks for Chef Automate service.

Chef Automate is an included server software package that provides automated workflow for continuous deployment and compliance checks. AWS OpsWorks for Chef Automate installs and manages the both the Chef server and Chef Automate by using a single Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud instance. With AWS OpsWorks for Chef Automate, you can use community-authored or custom Chef cookbooks without making AWS OpsWorks-specific changes.

Because AWS OpsWorks for Chef Automate manages both Chef Automate Server and Chef Server software on a single instance, your server can be backed up automatically at a time that you choose, is always running the most current minor version of Chef, and always has the most current security updates applied. You can use Auto Scaling groups to associate new Amazon EC2 nodes with your server automatically.

AWS OpsWorks Stacks

Cloud-based computing usually involves groups of AWS resources, such as EC2 instances and Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) instances. For example, a web application typically requires application servers, database servers, load balancers, and other resources. This group of instances is typically called a stack.

AWS OpsWorks Stacks, the original service, provides a simple and flexible way to create and manage stacks and applications. AWS OpsWorks Stacks lets you deploy and monitor applications in your stacks. You can 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, such as serving applications or hosting a database server. Layers depend on Chef recipes to handle tasks such as installing packages on instances, deploying apps, and running scripts.

Unlike AWS OpsWorks for Chef Automate, AWS OpsWorks Stacks does not require or create Chef servers; AWS OpsWorks Stacks performs some of the work of a Chef server for you. AWS OpsWorks Stacks monitors instance health, and provisions new instances for you, when necessary, by using Auto Healing and Auto Scaling. A simple application server stack might look something like the following diagram.