Amazon and the Elastic Beanstalk: New Amazon Offering Simplifies Development and Deployment Over Amazon’s AWS Cloud Computing Services
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Amazon has just announced their “Elastic Beanstalk”, which they describe as “an even easier way for developers to quickly deploy and manage applications in the AWS cloud.” “AWS” stands for Amazon Web Services. The “Elastic”, first coined for Amazon’s “Elastic Compute Cloud” (Amazon EC2), refers to the ability to increase or decrease your viritual server capacity on the fly.

The service, which is essentially an interface for all of the underlying Amazon AWS offerings, such as Amazon S3, Amazon EC2, Amazon Simple Notification Service, and Elastic Load Balancing and Auto-Scaling, is available at no additional charge.


The new Elastic Beanstalk helps to address what was the sharpest criticism of Amazon’s otherwise popular offering: that it is too darned complicated to figure out for all but the most interepid of developers. It also helps to address burgeoning competition from Microsoft, with their Azure service, and even Amazon themselves in the form of Heroku, a cloud computing service recently acquired by Salesforce.com, which is hosted on Amazon’s AWS.

Here’s what Amazon has to say about their new Elastic Beanstalk:

Dear Amazon Web Services Customer,

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We’re excited to introduce the beta of AWS Elastic Beanstalk, an even easier way for developers to quickly deploy and manage applications in the AWS cloud. You simply upload your application to Elastic Beanstalk, and Elastic Beanstalk automatically handles the deployment details of capacity provisioning, load balancing, auto-scaling, and application health monitoring.

Elastic Beanstalk leverages AWS services such as Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, Amazon Simple Notification Service, Elastic Load Balancing, and Auto-Scaling to deliver the same highly reliable, scalable, and cost-effective infrastructure that hundreds of thousands of businesses depend on today. However, you don’t need familiarity with AWS services to begin running your applications on the AWS technology infrastructure platform. Rather, you simply upload your application to Elastic Beanstalk using the AWS Management Console, the AWS Toolkit for Eclipse, or the Elastic Beanstalk command line tools or API– and behind the scenes, Elastic Beanstalk handles the provisioning and deployment of the infrastructure needed to run the application. Once the application is deployed, Elastic Beanstalk will automatically monitor application health and Amazon EC2 instance performance. Elastic Beanstalk is easy to begin and impossible to outgrow.

Most existing application containers or platform-as-a-service solutions, while reducing the amount of programming required, significantly diminish your flexibility and control. You are forced to live with all the decisions pre-determined by the vendor – with little to no opportunity to take back control over various parts of your application’s infrastructure. However, with Elastic Beanstalk, if you decide you want to take over some (or all) of the elements of your infrastructure, you can do so seamlessly by using Elastic Beanstalk’s management capabilities. For example, you can enable login access into the application servers, browse log files, monitor application health, adjust auto-scaling rules, and setup email notifications through the Elastic Beanstalk console. You also have the flexibility to select the appropriate Amazon EC2 instance type and choose from several available database options (such as Amazon RDS, Amazon SimpleDB, Microsoft SQL Server, or Oracle).

 

Today’s release of Elastic Beanstalk is built for Java developers using the familiar Apache Tomcat software stack, which ensures easy portability if you ever want to move your applications. Elastic Beanstalk is designed so that it can be extended to support multiple development stacks and programming languages in the future. AWS is actively working with solution providers on the APIs and capabilities needed to create additional Elastic Beanstalk offerings.

There is no additional charge for Elastic Beanstalk – you pay only for the AWS resources needed to run your applications. To learn more about Elastic Beanstalk, visit the Elastic Beanstalk detail page or the Getting Started Guide, or attend the upcoming webinar (10am PST on January 24).

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