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AWS DevOps for Cloud Infrastructure

Explore AWS DevOps for cloud infrastructure, learn about key benefits, tools, practices, and certification path. Enhance your skills in AWS DevOps with this comprehensive guide.

Zan Faruqui
May 16, 2023

Most cloud infrastructure teams would agree that managing dynamic cloud environments can be incredibly challenging.

Leveraging AWS DevOps tools and best practices offers a streamlined approach to cloud management, enabling teams to efficiently build, deploy, and monitor infrastructure at scale.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore key topics like:

  • An introduction to AWS DevOps and how it benefits platform teams
  • A breakdown of essential AWS DevOps services and tools
  • Steps to achieve continuous integration/delivery on AWS
  • Advanced practices like serverless computing and infrastructure monitoring
  • Details on the AWS DevOps certification path

Introduction to AWS DevOps for Cloud Infrastructure

AWS DevOps refers to the combination of development (Dev) and operations (Ops) practices and tools to increase velocity, reliability, and efficiency in building, deploying, and managing applications on AWS cloud infrastructure.

For platform teams responsible for managing cloud environments, AWS DevOps delivers key benefits:

Defining AWS DevOps

  • AWS DevOps brings together continuous integration, continuous delivery, infrastructure as code, monitoring, and other capabilities to automate manual processes.
  • It implements practices like version control, automated testing, one-click deployments, and infrastructure provisioning through code.
  • Central components include AWS developer tools for CI/CD, AWS CloudFormation for infrastructure as code, and services like AWS CodePipeline, AWS CodeBuild, and AWS CodeDeploy for end-to-end automation.

Key Benefits for Platform Teams

  • Accelerated velocity: Automated pipelines and infrastructure provisioning through code allows platform teams to deploy updates faster and more frequently.
  • Improved reliability: With automated testing, rollbacks, and monitoring, changes can be made without downtime or errors.
  • Enhanced productivity: By reducing manual work, teams can focus on innovation vs infrastructure management.
  • Infrastructure as code: CloudFormation templates codify and manage the full cloud environment.
  • Consistency: Standardized pipelines, environments, and deployments powered by code.

In summary, AWS DevOps empowers platform teams to efficiently build, deploy, and manage cloud infrastructure at scale. Automating manual tasks allows them to focus on innovation while ensuring reliability, security, and compliance.

What is AWS with DevOps?

AWS provides a robust set of services and tools to enable DevOps workflows for managing cloud infrastructure efficiently. Specifically, AWS offers capabilities to automate manual tasks, scale complex environments, and empower developer productivity through integrated DevOps.

Some key ways AWS enables DevOps include:

  • Automation of manual tasks - Services like AWS CodePipeline, CodeBuild, CodeDeploy, and CodeStar provide continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines to automate build, test, and deployment processes. This eliminates manual overhead.
  • Managing large-scale environments - Tools like AWS CloudFormation, Elastic Beanstalk, ECS, EKS, and OpsWorks help define, provision, and manage infrastructure as code. This enables easy scaling while maintaining consistency.
  • Developer productivity - Services like AWS Cloud9, CloudShell, and CLI give developers flexible interfaces to access AWS resources. X-Ray, Config, CloudTrail, and CloudWatch provide observability into apps and system health.
  • Security and compliance - AWS Trusted Advisor and Well-Architected Tool help teams build and operate secure, resilient cloud solutions that adhere to industry best practices.

In summary, AWS offers many native services and capabilities purpose-built to enable streamlined DevOps workflows for infrastructure teams operating in the AWS cloud. This empowers rapid delivery of applications with security, scalability, and reliability.

Does AWS DevOps require coding?

AWS DevOps does not strictly require coding skills, but having some programming capability can be beneficial for fully leveraging AWS DevOps tools and processes.

Key points on coding for AWS DevOps:

  • Coding not mandatory, but useful - You can utilize AWS DevOps services without writing any code. GUI consoles, configuration files, CLI, and automation tools allow non-coders to practice infrastructure as code and implement CI/CD pipelines. However, scripting skills help customize workflows.
  • Pick up essential coding concepts - While extensive programming is unnecessary, gaining familiarity with core concepts like variables, loops, conditionals etc. enables better use of configuration-as-code tools like AWS CloudFormation, AWS CDK etc.
  • Start small, learn on the job - Focus first on infrastructure provisioning via AWS CloudFormation. Then gradually add scripting to AWS CodeBuild, CodeDeploy, CodePipeline activities using YAML, JSON, Bash etc. This incremental approach is effective.
  • Expand capabilities with DevOps coding skills - Coding helps build robust CI/CD pipelines, create custom AWS Lambda functions, optimize infrastructure costs via auto scaling, and add monitoring/observability. Hence useful for specialized DevOps roles.
  • Certifications test some coding - While AWS certifications like Solutions Architect Associate don't need programming, Developer Associate and DevOps Engineer Professional do test basic coding skills. Keep this in mind for career advancement.

In summary, coding skills are not mandatory but definitely useful for unlocking the full potential of AWS DevOps services. Start small without coding, then progressively develop scripting capabilities to customize and enhance DevOps workflows on AWS cloud.

Is AWS DevOps certification worth IT?

AWS DevOps certification demonstrates expertise in leveraging AWS services to enable continuous integration and delivery workflows. For platform teams managing cloud infrastructure, certification validates critical skills to efficiently operate DevOps pipelines.

As more organizations adopt cloud-native development practices, AWS DevOps skills are highly sought after. Key benefits of certification include:

  • Proving cloud DevOps competency - Certification verifies your ability to implement infrastructure as code, CI/CD pipelines, monitoring, and other key DevOps methodologies on AWS.
  • Standing out in the job market - 89% of IT leaders prioritize certified professionals in hiring. Certification makes your resume stand out.
  • Higher salaries - On average, certified AWS professionals earn $129,868 annually compared to those without certification.
  • Advancing your career - Demonstrate you have the latest DevOps skills on AWS to take on leadership roles.

There are training options available to prepare including self-paced courses, instructor-led classes, and hands-on labs. Overall, investing in an AWS DevOps certification signals you have the technical expertise to streamline cloud workflows. For platform teams, certified professionals directly impact efficiency gains when adopting modern infrastructure practices.

Is AWS DevOps in demand?

AWS DevOps is highly in demand as more companies adopt cloud infrastructure and seek to streamline their development workflows. Here's a quick look at why AWS DevOps skills are so valued:

  • Cloud adoption driving demand - As of 2023, over 90% of enterprises use cloud infrastructure, with AWS being the dominant provider. Companies need DevOps engineers to help build and manage complex cloud architectures.
  • Critical skillset - AWS DevOps engineers possess a rare mix of cloud architecture, infrastructure as code (IaC), CI/CD pipelines, containerization, and automation skills that are critical for cloud success.
  • Higher efficiency - Studies show DevOps teams deploy code up to 30x more frequently than traditional teams. AWS DevOps skills directly enable faster release cycles.
  • Career advancement - AWS DevOps skills provide a clear path to high-paying roles like Cloud Architect, Site Reliability Engineer, and VP of Engineering. Average AWS DevOps salaries exceed $130,000.

In summary, AWS DevOps skills lead to higher efficiency, innovation velocity, and career growth. As more mission-critical apps run on AWS, demand for expert AWS DevOps engineers will continue rising dramatically. Companies urgently need AWS DevOps talent to build robust and scalable cloud solutions.


Exploring AWS DevOps Tools and Services for 2023

AWS offers a comprehensive suite of DevOps tools and services for efficiently managing cloud infrastructure and streamlining development workflows. As we move into 2023, AWS continues expanding its DevOps capabilities with new additions that integrate seamlessly into the toolchain.

AWS DevOps Tools List: A Comprehensive Overview

The key AWS DevOps tools and services include:

  • AWS CloudFormation: Provides infrastructure as code capabilities to provision AWS resources using templates. This enables consistent and automated environment building.
  • AWS CodeBuild: A fully managed build service that compiles source code, runs tests, and produces software packages ready for deployment.
  • AWS CodeDeploy: Automates application deployments to various compute services like Amazon EC2, AWS Fargate, AWS Lambda, and on-premises servers.
  • AWS CodePipeline: A continuous integration and continuous delivery service for fast-tracking release of updates.
  • AWS CodeStar: Unifies project management, source control, builds, deployments, and resources into one service.
  • AWS Systems Manager: Provides operational insights and automation for AWS resources.
  • AWS Cloud9: Cloud-based integrated development environment for writing, running, and debugging code.
  • AWS CloudShell: Browser-based shell for managing AWS resources without local setup.
  • AWS X-Ray: Analyzes and debugs distributed applications.
  • AWS Config: Tracks resource configuration changes.
  • AWS CloudTrail: Logs user activity and API calls.

And more...

Infrastructure as Code with AWS CloudFormation

AWS CloudFormation allows you to describe and provision your entire infrastructure in a text file template. This is known as infrastructure as code.

Benefits include:

  • Consistency: Templates ensure environments are configured correctly and consistently.
  • Automation: Entire stacks can be created, updated, or deleted with a single command.
  • Version Control: Templates can be version controlled for easy rollback.
  • Cost Savings: Avoid resource wastage by only launching what you need.

With AWS CloudFormation, you can rapidly build out complex, multi-tier environments for development, testing, staging, and production. Changes to the infrastructure can be implemented in a controlled and predictable way.

Building and Testing with AWS CodeBuild

AWS CodeBuild is a fully managed continuous integration service that compiles source code, runs unit tests, produces software packages, and more. The output artifacts from CodeBuild can be seamlessly delivered to AWS CodeDeploy for release management.

Key features include:

  • Supports popular languages like Java, Python, Node.js, Ruby, C#, Go, and more.
  • Integrates with GitHub, GitHub Enterprise, Bitbucket, AWS CodeCommit, etc.
  • Provides prepackaged build environments for Android, Java, Docker, Python, Node.js, Go, Ruby, etc.
  • Build specs can be customized to run commands, install dependencies, run tests with frameworks like Mocha or JUnit, build containers, and more.
  • Detailed logs allow tracking builds.
  • Secure: Build environments are disposable and destroyed after use.

By offloading build orchestration and testing to AWS CodeBuild, developers can focus on coding rather than infrastructure management.

Automated Deployments with AWS CodeDeploy

AWS CodeDeploy enables automated application deployments to EC2, AWS Fargate, AWS Lambda, and on-premises servers. This allows implementing rapid, reliable delivery of features and updates.

It provides:

  • Automated deployments triggered by a GitHub commit, new Docker container, etc
  • Traffic shifting for rolling out releases via load balancers
  • Customizable deployment configurations
  • Integration with AWS CodePipeline for end-to-end automation
  • Monitoring and troubleshooting with AWS CloudTrail and CloudWatch
  • Blue/green deployments to reduce downtimes

With CodeDeploy, you can easily automate application deployments across development, test, staging, and production environments.

Continuous Delivery with AWS CodePipeline

AWS CodePipeline streamlines software release workflows with continuous delivery. It provides an end-to-end pipeline for building, testing, and deploying applications.


  • Automates steps from code commit to production deployment
  • Supports integration with GitHub, CodeCommit, etc.
  • Stages can include builds, tests, approvals, deployments, and more
  • Easy monitoring through CloudWatch
  • Works seamlessly with CodeBuild, CodeDeploy and other AWS DevOps services

With CodePipeline, you can implement rapid iterations and updates to delight customers with continuous delivery of new features. By connecting all the pieces - source code, build, test, release - it enables automated workflows.

Achieving Continuous Integration and Delivery on AWS

Setting Up Continuous Integration with AWS Tools

Continuous integration (CI) is a key DevOps practice that allows teams to frequently merge code changes into a shared repository, automatically build and test each change to catch issues early. AWS provides several tools to set up a robust CI workflow:

  • AWS CodeCommit: A fully-managed source control service that hosts secure Git-based repositories for your codebase. Integrates seamlessly into CI/CD pipelines.
  • AWS CodeBuild: Build and test code automatically whenever changes are pushed to your repository. Supports multiple languages and test frameworks.
  • AWS CodePipeline: Orchestrate your entire CI/CD workflow connecting CodeCommit, CodeBuild, deployments, and more. Provides visual dashboard to track progress.

Follow these steps to configure continuous integration with AWS:

  • Create a CodeCommit repository to store your application source code
  • Set up a CodeBuild project to build, run unit tests, and produce deployment artifacts
  • Establish a CodePipeline to detect repository changes, trigger CodeBuild, and transition artifacts between pipeline stages

Setting up CI automation ensures rapid feedback so teams can identify and address issues early in the development cycle.

Designing Continuous Delivery Workflows

Continuous delivery expands on CI by automating releases into production. With AWS CodePipeline, you can model release workflows to coordinate builds, testing, approvals, and deployments.

Other AWS services that facilitate continuous delivery include:

  • AWS CodeDeploy: Automate application deployments to EC2, Lambda, ECS, and other services. Supports blue/green, rolling, and custom strategies.
  • AWS Elastic Beanstalk: Quickly deploy and scale web applications while handling capacity provisioning, load balancing, scaling, and application health monitoring.
  • AWS Fargate: Serverless compute engine for containers. Simplifies infrastructure management so you can focus on deployments.

When designing continuous delivery, model your workflow stages and approvals. Leverage integrations between CodePipeline, CodeDeploy, Elastic Beanstalk and Fargate to standardize and automate deployments.

Implementing Blue/Green Deployments with AWS

The blue/green deployment strategy reduces risk by running two identical production environments called "blue" and "green". New versions are installed on the inactive environment, tested, and then traffic is switched over atomically.

AWS services that facilitate blue/green deployments:

  • AWS CodeDeploy: Orchestrate shifting production traffic between blue and green environments.
  • Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling: Programmatically scale up the green environment to match capacity of the blue.
  • AWS CodePipeline: Model blue/green workflows with manual approval gates before go-live.

Follow these steps to implement blue/green deployments on AWS:

  • Create two Auto Scaling groups for blue and green environments
  • Install latest version on inactive green servers
  • Configure CodeDeploy to shift traffic from blue to green
  • Retire the previous blue servers

This process minimizes downtime and allows for quick rollbacks if issues emerge.

Leveraging Microservices with Amazon ECS and EKS

Microservices architecture decomposes applications into independently deployable services. This aligns with DevOps practices through decoupled teams and systems.

AWS offers two managed container services to run microservices:

  • Amazon ECS: Highly scalable container orchestration service that supports Docker containers. Simplifies management, networking, security, and operations.
  • Amazon EKS: Fully-managed Kubernetes service for deploying and scaling containerized applications using Kubernetes. Eliminates cluster provisioning and management overhead.

Follow these steps when leveraging microservices on AWS:

  • Decompose application into discrete, independently scalable services
  • Containerize each microservice and manage with ECS or EKS
  • Establish CI/CD pipelines for each service for rapid, frequent deployments
  • Monitor, trace, and set autoscaling policies at the service level

Microservices align to DevOps culture through empowered teams, rapid iteration, and scalability.

Advanced AWS DevOps Practices for Platform Teams

Managing cloud infrastructure at scale can be complex for platform teams without the right set of DevOps practices and tools. AWS offers a robust suite of services that enables teams to implement advanced DevOps workflows to effectively scale their cloud environment.

Serverless Computing with AWS Lambda

Serverless computing has transformed how developers build and run applications in the cloud. With AWS Lambda, code can be run without having to provision or manage servers. This is ideal for platform teams looking to optimize and scale their cloud infrastructure.

Some key benefits of using AWS Lambda include:

  • Reduced operational overhead: No need to manage servers or runtimes, AWS handles this automatically
  • Cost savings: Only pay for compute time used - no charges when code isn't running
  • Auto-scaling: Lambda functions scale automatically based on demand, seamlessly handling spikes in traffic
  • Faster time to market: Decreased time spent on infrastructure management lets teams focus on core product

Lambda functions can be triggered by various AWS services and events, making it easy to integrate serverless computing across cloud architecture.

Infrastructure Monitoring with AWS CloudWatch

Comprehensive monitoring is critical for gaining visibility into infrastructure health and application performance. AWS CloudWatch provides a managed monitoring service that can collect metrics, set alarms, generate logs, and enable real-time observability across AWS resources.

Key features of CloudWatch:

  • Custom metrics and dashboards: Build visualizations of infrastructure and app metrics for easy monitoring
  • Alarm triggers: Set threshold-based alarms to notify teams of critical events
  • Log analysis: Search, filter, and analyze log data to identify issues and usage patterns
  • Integration with AWS services: Seamlessly monitor metrics for EC2, Lambda, EKS, and more

For platform teams running mission-critical systems on AWS, CloudWatch is an invaluable tool for staying on top of overall infrastructure status.

Proactive Resource Management with AWS OpsWorks and Systems Manager

Automating routine management tasks is key for efficiently operating cloud infrastructure at scale. AWS offers two services that help streamline this process:

AWS OpsWorks provides managed instances of Chef and Puppet to automate configuration management using code. Benefits include:

  • Simple setup and management of deployment environments
  • Model infrastructure as code for version control
  • Easily replicate configurations across resource stacks

AWS Systems Manager gives admins the ability to define runbooks and maintenance workflows while offering insights into resource utilization and performance. This helps ensure:

  • Consistent configurations and security patches across fleets of instances
  • Preventative actions to avoid performance issues or outages
  • Optimization of resource usage based on analytics

Together, OpsWorks and Systems Manager enable proactive management of infrastructure health.

Enhancing Observability with AWS X-Ray and CloudTrail

Understanding application performance and user activity is vital for monitoring infrastructure at scale. Two services that enhance cloud observability are:

AWS X-Ray provides application tracing and mapping to identify bottlenecks and errors in code. It allows developers to:

  • Visualize request flows through microservices
  • Pinpoint slowdowns and failures in distributed systems
  • Optimize performance by isolating faulty areas

AWS CloudTrail logs user activity and API calls to monitor for anomalous account usage. This enables teams to:

  • Detect unauthorized or atypical resource access
  • Conduct security analysis and incident response
  • Meet audit requirements for compliance standards

X-Ray and CloudTrail work together to give platform teams greater visibility for making data-driven decisions.

By leveraging these advanced AWS services, platform teams can implement robust DevOps practices to efficiently operate, monitor, and scale cloud infrastructure. Automation, observability, and proactive management are key for supporting development velocity and innovation.

Understanding the AWS DevOps Certification

The AWS Certified DevOps Engineer - Professional certification validates technical expertise in provisioning, operating, and managing distributed application systems on the AWS platform.

It covers a broad range of topics including:

  • Deploying, managing, and operating scalable and highly available systems on AWS
  • Implementing and automating security controls, compliance validation, and governance
  • Using AWS services to automate manual processes
  • Monitoring, logging, and reporting
  • Designing and maintaining tools to automate operational processes

Earning this certification demonstrates the ability to:

  • Implement and manage continuous delivery systems and methodologies on AWS
  • Understand, implement and automate security controls, governance, and compliance validation
  • Define and deploy monitoring, metrics, and logging systems on AWS
  • Implement systems that are highly available, scalable, and self healing on the AWS platform
  • Design, manage, and maintain tools to automate operational processes

This certification is intended for individuals who perform a DevOps role. It validates a deep understanding of both development and operations processes and tools.

Preparing for AWS DevOps Certification Exams

Preparation is key for passing the AWS DevOps certification exams. Here are some recommendations:

  • Use AWS Training Courses: AWS offers classroom training, digital courses, and self-paced labs to help prepare for the exams. The AWS Certified DevOps Engineer - Professional course is a great option.
  • Get Hands-On Experience: There is no substitute for direct, practical experience using AWS services. Using the AWS Free Tier and creating sample DevOps pipelines is invaluable.
  • Take Practice Exams: Testing knowledge with practice questions is important preparation. Consider paid practice exams from reputable providers.
  • Read AWS Whitepapers: AWS publishes technical whitepapers that dive deep into services and use cases. Review relevant papers to strengthen knowledge.
  • Study Documentation and FAQs: Reading documentation for key services tested on the exam is highly recommended.

Giving one's self ample time to prepare using multiple study resources is the best way to pass the AWS DevOps certification exams.

Leveraging AWS DevOps Tutorials and Documentation

When preparing for AWS DevOps certification, make use of all available learning resources:

  • Follow AWS DevOps Tutorials: AWS provides step-by-step tutorials for deploying sample DevOps solutions like CI/CD pipelines. These are a great learning tool.
  • Leverage AWS Documentation: Documentation provides technical overviews and guidelines for implementing AWS services in DevOps workflows. Study it thoroughly.
  • Use AWS Cloud9: This cloud IDE simplifies hands-on learning by providing instant access to a cloud dev environment with tools pre-installed.
  • Experiment with AWS Services: Create AWS accounts and try deploying elements of a DevOps toolchain like CodeCommit, CodeBuild, CodeDeploy.
  • Take Notes: As you work through tutorials and documentation, take notes on key concepts and gotchas. This will help reinforce knowledge.

Immersing oneself in practical learning resources like tutorials, documentation, and hands-on experimentation with AWS services is crucial for exam preparation. Reinforcing knowledge gained through taking studious notes is also very helpful.

Exploring AWS DevOps Course Offerings

Many providers offer DevOps and AWS training courses that align with the AWS Certified DevOps Engineer certification:

  • A Cloud Guru: Comprehensive AWS certification prep courses including labs, exams, and study guides.
  • Linux Academy: Now part of A Cloud Guru. Offers learning paths for various AWS certifications.
  • Udemy: A marketplace for online courses. Filters available for AWS DevOps offerings.
  • Coursera: Partners with AWS to offer a DevOps Engineering on AWS Specialization course.
  • edX: Nonprofit offering various AWS and DevOps microcourse certificates.
  • AWS Training Portal: Centralized listing of AWS's official digital and classroom training options.

These platforms offer affordable and flexible ways to gain AWS DevOps skills needed to prepare for certification. Their hands-on nature helps learners connect concepts to practical implementation.

Conclusion and Key Takeaways

In closing, AWS DevOps delivers automation, speed, and reliability benefits for teams managing cloud infrastructure by combining developer and ops concepts. Key highlights covered include:

Summarizing the AWS DevOps Tools and Services

AWS offers a robust set of services for enabling continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines. These core AWS DevOps tools include:

  • AWS CloudFormation: Provisions infrastructure as code and manages related resources
  • AWS CodeBuild: Builds and tests code
  • AWS CodeDeploy: Automates application deployments
  • AWS CodePipeline: Orchestrates CI/CD workflows
  • AWS CodeStar: Quickly develops, builds, and deploys applications

Together, these services provide a streamlined way for teams to automate testing, integrate code changes, and rapidly deploy updates. AWS DevOps services integrate with code repositories, build tools, artifacts, and more.

Reflecting on Infrastructure as Code Advantages

Infrastructure as code (IaC) is a key DevOps concept for managing cloud environments. With AWS CloudFormation and other IaC services:

  • Teams work faster: IaC templates automate provisioning of resources rather than manual setup
  • Fewer errors: IaC reduces mistakes that happen with manual processes
  • Consistency: IaC ensures development, test, and production environments match

For platform teams overseeing cloud infrastructure, IaC improves efficiency, accuracy, and cross-environment consistency.

Reiterating Monitoring and Operational Best Practices

Robust monitoring, security, cost management, and compliance practices are critical for successfully operating cloud infrastructure at scale. Key operational considerations include:

  • Monitoring with AWS CloudWatch: Gain visibility into resource utilization, application performance, operational health, and more
  • Auditing with AWS CloudTrail: Track user activity and API calls to ensure security and compliance
  • Managing Costs: Analyze spend, implement savings plans, and optimize resource usage

Proactively monitoring infrastructure and maintaining cloud best practices reduces outages, improves efficiency, and ensures organizational standards are met.

Emphasizing the Value of AWS DevOps Certification

Earning AWS DevOps certifications demonstrates professionals have the expertise to oversee CI/CD pipelines, deploy scalable architectures, and manage operational best practices on AWS. Key benefits include:

  • Validating cloud infrastructure skills to employers
  • Enhancing understanding of AWS DevOps tools and concepts
  • Advancing cloud careers, opening new job opportunities

AWS DevOps certifications help teams better build, scale, and operate infrastructure to meet demands.

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