Saturday, May 21, 2011

AWS and Elastic Beanstalk

I decided to play around with AWS and in particular, their Elastic Beanstalk product. It is designed to make it very simple and easy to deploy a war file to AWS and have the system take care of the deployment. You still have a console to be able to control the app, or just let AWS take care of it for you.

This is a link to a small deployment I just completed http://awshelloworldeb.elasticbeanstalk.com/. It was generated from NetBeans 7.0 and is based on JSF2, CDI, and Primefaces 2.2.1. It is running on Tomcat 7 on AWS. Everything worked first deploy, very cool!

To quote from http://aws.amazon.com/elasticbeanstalk/ and it really works about that easy.

To deploy Java applications using Elastic Beanstalk, you simply:
  • Create your application as you normally would using any editor or IDE (e.g. Eclipse).
  • Package your deployable code into a standard Java Web Application Archive (WAR file).
  • Upload your WAR file to Elastic Beanstalk using the AWS Management Console, the AWS Toolkit for Eclipse, the web service APIs, or the Command Line Tools.
  • Deploy your application. Behind the scenes, Elastic Beanstalk handles the provisioning of a load balancer and the deployment of your WAR file to one or more EC2 instances running the Apache Tomcat application server.
  • Within a few minutes you will be able to access your application at a customized URL (e.g. http://myapp.elasticbeanstalk.com/).

You can sign up for an account for free, http://aws.amazon.com/free/ has the details. Basically you get an EC2 Linux micro instance to play with play EBS, S3, and SimpleDB to play with at no cost. This makes it super easy to play with and get some experience on probably the best cloud out there right now. I was really surprised with how simple it was to get started and deploy a war file.

There is a very nice JDK to help you out and there is a plugin for Eclipse to help you out. I prefer NetBeans for my own stuff however. It looks like the Eclipse integration allows you to deploy directly from the IDE. I used the web console since NetBeans does not have this integration. You basically give your app a name which becomes the 3rd level domain, a description, and then locate the war file on your file system. AWS takes care of the rest.

It took maybe 5 minutes from the time I uploaded the war file until the app was completely active. You can also provide a health check url for AWS so it can check to see if your app is active. Presumably it can notify you if the health check fails. Very nice.

Amazon has an excellent and easy to use product here. I'd advise you to check it out, especially since you can use it for free!

  - Craig

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