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


The stack is the top-level AWS OpsWorks Stacks entity. It represents a set of instances that you want to manage collectively, typically because they have a common purpose such as serving PHP applications. In addition to serving as a container, a stack handles tasks that apply to the group of instances as a whole, such as managing applications and cookbooks.

For example, a stack whose purpose is to serve web applications might look something like the following:

  • A set of application server instances, each of which handles a portion of the incoming traffic.

  • A load balancer instance, which takes incoming traffic and distributes it across the application servers.

  • A database instance, which serves as a back-end data store for the application servers.

A common practice is to have multiple stacks that represent different environments. A typical set of stacks consists of:

  • A development stack to be used by developers to add features, fix bugs, and perform other development and maintenance tasks.

  • A staging stack to verify updates or fixes before exposing them publicly.

  • A production stack, which is the public-facing version that handles incoming requests from users.

This section describes the basics of working with stacks.