My colleague Chris Barclay sent along a blog post with great news for users of AWS OpsWorks!
We are happy to introduce two new features for AWS OpsWorks that make it easier for you to manage applications: support for custom Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) and Chef 11. You can use these new features with a few clicks of the AWS Management Console.
We have also added documentation that gives step-by-step instructions on how to use an Amazon RDS database with an OpsWorks stack.
Now you have two ways to manage the software that your application uses. Custom AMIs let you save the state of an Amazon EC2 instance including any software packages that you require in your desired configuration. Custom AMIs can give you faster boot times since the software is already installed. They can also provide greater control over installed packages and versions to simplify your development and QA process. OpsWorks continues to support Chef recipes that make it easy to dynamically install, configure, and update any software with a scripted installation. You can use both methods together to reduce boot times for components that change less frequently and make it easy to update dynamic components.
To get started, first create an AMI. The easiest way to create an AMI is from an existing Amazon EBS-Backed Amazon Linux or Ubuntu 12.04 LTS AMI. You can see how to do this in step 10 of the Getting Started documentation. For other AMI creation options, see the EC2 documentation. Your AMI should appear in the EC2 console as "Owned By Me:"
You can then choose one of your AMIs when you create an OpsWorks instance. Select "+ Instance" and open the "Advanced" options. Pull down the Operating System to select "Use Custom AMI:"
You can then select from a list of your custom AMIs:
That’s all it takes to add an AMI that you’ve created. You can customize your instance further by using the layer settings, and start the instance and deploy your software at any time.
With this update, you can use Chef 11 features in your recipes and a broader set of community cookbooks. New stacks will support Chef 11.4 by default and existing stacks can upgrade to Chef 11 with the click of a button.
You may also want to sign up for our upcoming AWS OpsWorks Webinar on August 8, 2013 at 10:00 AM PDT. The webinar will highlight OpsWorks operational features and best practices including configuration options using custom AMIs and Chef 11 recipes.
-- Chris Barclay, Senior Product Manager