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Shane Lee
Shane Lee

Posted on • Originally published at

A Brief 10-Point Guide to AWS Elastic Beanstalk

When I’m learning new about new technologies, one of the first things, I’ll do is write a numbered list 1-10 and then fill that numbered list in with points about that particular technology. I realised that these lists might be useful to others so I’m going to start posting them. This week I looked at AWS Elastic Beanstalk.

  1. Amazon's Elastic Beanstalk is a service which allows you to deploy applications within an AWS context that involves a number of different AWS services such as S3 and ECR. With Elastic Beanstalk you don't have to worry about the management and orchestration of these services. You can simply focus on your application.

  2. One of the main benefits of using AWS Elastic Beanstalk is that is it abstracts away the need to deal with infrastructure. You don't have to worry about configuring load-balancing or scaling your application. You can simply upload your code and go.

  3. Another benefit of using AWS Elastic Beanstalk is that assuming you were planning to host your application on AWS to begin with, there's no additional cost to using Elastic Beanstalk.

  4. While you have the ability to sit back and let Elastic Beanstalk handling everything for you, AWS does give to the option to configure and control the AWS resources you use for your application. And what's more, it's not an all or nothing deal. You could for example decide to manually manage your AWS ECR instances, but leave your S3 instances to be managed by Elastic Beanstalk.

  5. Setting up monitoring and logging tools for your application is often a full-time job in of itself. With Elastic Beanstalk, you don't have to bother because Elastic Beanstalk comes with a monitoring interface which is integrated with Amazon CloudWatch and AWS X-Ray.

  6. One of the drawbacks of a system that abstracts away the need for management is that understanding when things have gone wrong with Elastic Beanstalk can be a difficult task, because it can be difficult to see the error to diagnose the problem.

  7. An additional drawback of using Elastic Beanstalk is third-party integration. Some of the common culprits like Docker, Jenkins and Github are supported, but don't expect to find the third-party integration extensive.

  8. One of the pros of AWS Elastic Beanstalk is that you can easily integrate Code pipelines into it, which can enable you to check if your code you've just uploaded is working correctly.

  9. Another one of the benefits of the auto-management of AWS Elastic Beanstalk is that unavoidable things like updating versions and operating systems, can be done without any downtime to the application. Furthermore, should something go wrong with one of those updates, it is quite easy to rollback the application to an earlier state. Again, without any downtime to the application (Unless of course the update itself caused downtime).

  10. A final disadvantage of using AWS Elastic Beanstalk is that if you require technical support from Amazon, there is a charge for that. While this is something which is normally to be expected from modern SaaS and PaaS apps. In this case it is something to consider carefully, because of the challenges of not being easily able to diagnose problems with the system as mentioned above.

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