Amazon cloud apps LIVE! Bezos' boys spin up 'lifecycle management' services

Integration, deployment tools to speed AWS development

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Amazon thinks it knows a thing or two about deploying applications in the cloud, and to prove it, it's rolling out a collection of new tools to help developers improve the build and deployment lifecycles of their cloudy apps.

The first of the three tools unveiled on Wednesday at the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas is CodeDeploy, which aims to make it fast and easy for developers to deploy and update applications on Amazon EC2.

CodeDeploy is based on an internal Amazon cloud deployment tool called Apollo, which Amazon Web Services senior veep Andy Jassy said is consistently rated by Amazon's own programmers as one of the best things about working at the company.

"To give you an idea of how much use it's getting," Jassy said during his opening keynote, "in the last 12 months we've pushed 50 million deployments through Apollo. That's roughly 95 per minute. So this is a service that's acquired a lot of battle testing and usage."

The tool allows developers to roll out code updates to thousands of EC2 instances all at once, or they can deploy to smaller subgroups of instances, to make sure the new code doesn't break anything. If it does, the deployment process can be halted and the affected instances can be easily rolled back to their prior state.

Jassy said CodeDeploy will work with code written in virtually any language and will integrate with existing tools - including Atlassian, CloudBees, and GitHub, among others - so programmers shouldn't need to learn anything new to use it.

What's more, Amazon is offering the service to all of its AWS customers at no charge. That's partly because it doesn't cost Amazon much to operate, Jassy said, but also because it helps fulfil the cloud giant's goal of bringing more users to its platform.

"What we get is we get happier, more productive customers that are deploying more safely and more flawlessly on our platform, and that frees them up to invent on behalf of their customers," Jassy said during a press Q&A following the keynote. "At the end of the day, our business grows as fast as our customers' businesses grow, so we're very aligned with our customers."

CodeDeploy is available to the public immediately, but in 2015 it will be joined by two other tools that are also designed to let cloudy app admins manage and maintain their code.

CodeCommit to CodePipeline

One is CodePipeline, a continuous build, test, and integration service for the AWS cloud that was also based on internal Amazon tools. Jassy said CodePipeline is powerful and flexible enough that 80 per cent of Amazon's development teams are now using the tech.

"You can take code from any repository and spin up any kind of integration policies that you want or tasks that you want," Jassy said. "It's got workflow model visualization so that you can see what you're integrating and what's working and what's not working. It integrates with all the existing tools that you use."

Completing the trio of tools will be CodeCommit, a managed source code control service that hosts private Git repositories on the AWS cloud.

Like the other two services, CodeCommit will integrate with existing tools, including Git, and Visual Studio. But Jassy said the real value of CodeCommit to AWS customers versus competing source code management services, such as GitHub, is that they can host their code very close to the instances where it's actually going to run, for low deployment latency.

What's more, he said, because CodeCommit will live on Amazon's near-infinite storage cloud, customers won't need to worry about the kinds of restrictions on files and repositories that other services impose.

"The reality is that when teams find that they're able to deploy code in a repository that’s low latency and very reliable and it's managed for them, and then built and tested on a consistent basis and deployed in a highly flex way, they have much better success with deployments," Jassy explained.

"And when companies have better success at deployments, they deploy more frequently, which means more features and capabilities for their customers," he added.

Amazon has not shared any information about pricing or release dates for CodePipeline or CodeCommit, other than to say we should expect them in "early 2015". It has set up a website offering more information about all three of its application lifecycle management tools, however, which you can see here. ®


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