AWS Elastic Beanstalk vs OpsWorks vs CloudFormation – Certification

AWS Elastic Beanstalk vs OpsWorks vs CloudFormation

AWS offers multiple options for provisioning IT infrastructure and application deployment and management varying from convenience & easy of setup with low level granular control
Deployment and Management - Elastic Beanstalk vs OpsWorks vs CloudFormation

AWS Elastic Beanstalk

  • AWS Elastic Beanstalk is a higher level service which allows you to quickly deploy out with minimum management effort a web or worker based environments using EC2, Docker using ECS, Elastic Load Balancing, Auto Scaling, RDS, CloudWatch etc.
  • Elastic Beanstalk is the fastest and simplest way to get an application up and running on AWS and perfect for developers who want to deploy code and not worry about underlying infrastructure
  • Elastic Beanstalk provides an environment to easily deploy and run applications in the cloud. It is integrated with developer tools and provides a one-stop experience for application lifecycle management
  • Elastic Beanstalk requires minimal configuration points and will help deploy, monitor and handle the elasticity/scalability of the application
  • A user does’t need to do much more than write application code and configure and define some configuration on Elastic Beanstalk

AWS OpsWorks

  • AWS OpsWorks is an application management service that simplifies software configuration, application deployment, scaling, and monitoring
  • OpsWorks is recommended if you want to manage your infrastructure with a configuration management system such as Chef.
  • Opsworks enables writing custom chef recipes, utilizes self healing, and works with layers
  • Although, Opsworks is deployment management service that helps you deploy applications with Chef recipes, but it is not primally meant to manage the scaling of the application out of the box, and needs to be handled explicitly

AWS CloudFormation

  • AWS CloudFormation enables modeling, provisioning and version-controlling of a wide range of AWS resources ranging from a single EC2 instance to a complex multi-tier, multi-region application
  • CloudFormation is a low level service and provides granular control to provision and manage stacks of AWS resources based on templates
  • CloudFormation templates enables version control of the infrastructure and makes deployment of environments easy and repeatable
  • CloudFormation supports infrastructure needs of many different types of applications such as existing enterprise applications, legacy applications, applications built using a variety of AWS resources and container-based solutions (including those built using AWS Elastic Beanstalk).
  • CloudFormation is not just an application deployment tool but can provision any kind of AWS resource
  • CloudFormation is designed to complement both Elastic Beanstalk and OpsWorks
  • CloudFormation with Elastic Beanstalk
    • CloudFormation supports Elastic Beanstalk application environments as one of the AWS resource types.
    • This allows you, for example, to create and manage an AWS Elastic Beanstalk–hosted application along with an RDS database to store the application data. In addition to RDS instances, any other supported AWS resource can be added to the group as well.
  • CloudFormation with OpsWorks
    • CloudFormation also supports OpsWorks and OpsWorks components (stacks, layers, instances, and applications) can be modeled inside CloudFormation templates, and provisioned as CloudFormation stacks.
    • This enables you to document, version control, and share your OpsWorks configuration.
    • Unified CloudFormation template or separate CloudFormation templates can be created to provision OpsWorks components and other related AWS resources such as VPC and Elastic Load Balancer

AWS Certification Exam Practice Questions

  • Questions are collected from Internet and the answers are marked as per my knowledge and understanding (which might differ with yours).
  • AWS services are updated everyday and both the answers and questions might be outdated soon, so research accordingly.
  • AWS exam questions are not updated to keep up the pace with AWS updates, so even if the underlying feature has changed the question might not be updated
  • Open to further feedback, discussion and correction.
  1. Your team is excited about the use of AWS because now they have access to programmable infrastructure. You have been asked to manage your AWS infrastructure in a manner similar to the way you might manage application code. You want to be able to deploy exact copies of different versions of your infrastructure, stage changes into different environments, revert back to previous versions, and identify what versions are running at any particular time (development test QA. production). Which approach addresses this requirement?
    1. Use cost allocation reports and AWS Opsworks to deploy and manage your infrastructure.
    2. Use AWS CloudWatch metrics and alerts along with resource tagging to deploy and manage your infrastructure.
    3. Use AWS Elastic Beanstalk and a version control system like GIT to deploy and manage your infrastructure.
    4. Use AWS CloudFormation and a version control system like GIT to deploy and manage your infrastructure.
  2. An organization is planning to use AWS for their production roll out. The organization wants to implement automation for deployment such that it will automatically create a LAMP stack, download the latest PHP installable from S3 and setup the ELB. Which of the below mentioned AWS services meets the requirement for making an orderly deployment of the software?
    1. AWS Elastic Beanstalk
    2. AWS CloudFront
    3. AWS CloudFormation
    4. AWS DevOps
  3. You are working with a customer who is using Chef configuration management in their data center. Which service is designed to let the customer leverage existing Chef recipes in AWS?
    1. Amazon Simple Workflow Service
    2. AWS Elastic Beanstalk
    3. AWS CloudFormation
    4. AWS OpsWorks


14 thoughts on “AWS Elastic Beanstalk vs OpsWorks vs CloudFormation – Certification

  1. for Q1 Should it be option b???
    Use AWS CloudWatch metrics and alerts along with resource tagging to deploy and manage your infrastructure.

    1. CloudFormation provides the ability to create infrastructure in a consistent and repeatable way. With Git you have the ability to maintain the CloudFormation template versioning in case you want to revert. CloudWatch metrics is just for monitoring while resource tagging will help tag the resource but will not create it.

  2. For Question 2, to automate deployment with various steps, CloudFormation can be used. Option c is the best.
    Using ElasticBeanstalk, you will not be able to automate the entire process, since it can just create LAMP environment and ELB, to pull the new build from S3, you will need to either go Command Line or specify that option and other options via CloudFormation.
    what are your thoughts Jayendra?

    1. Elastic Beanstalk is more suited and can be created with a minimal configuration and be automated as well. Also it provides Out of Box creation of web environments with ELB and ability to pull the build from S3.
      As the question is limited to application rather then infrastructure, Beanstalk is more suited then CloudFormation.

  3. Remember, AWS CONSOLE doesn’t gives the option to use your deployable module from S3Bucket in case of EB. Hence you would go for using its CLI to achieve this functionality AWS::ElasticBeanstalk::ApplicationVersion.
    You only have the ability to create ELB and LAMP configuration from AWS Console.
    So to club these 2 sets of operations, you will have to use CLI.
    And then entire process can’t be automated unless you use some script which is CFM.
    What are your thoughts?

    1. For automated and repeatable deployments CLI is the only available option as it can be triggered from any CI tool. Console is hardly used.

        1. 1. build the code with any CI tool
          2. Copy the bundled code to the S3 bucket
          3. Create a new Elastic Beanstalk application version
          4. Update the Elastic Beanstalk environment to use the new application version

          1. Just try point no 4 at your end practically. You will not be able to pull the installable module from S3 bucket.
            If you think that is possible,then put the screen shot here.

          2. Elastic Beanstalk automatically downloads it for you when you link it to an application version and PHP is supported Out Of the Box by EB
            For example steps through command line refer link

  4. I think there are many open questions in this area – when to use CF, Opsworks and EBS, There are more questions in pro exam. Are there any resources which explain when to use what ? It’s difficult to understand for people with infra background

  5. In Q1) why can’t we use elastic beanstalk instead of using cloud formation ?

    1. Elastic Beanstalk is more for Application and does not cover infrastructure.

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