Amazon Elastic Beanstalk Enters PAAS Market

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January 24, 2011
Written by Ameed Taylor

Amazon Web Services (AWS) last week released its Elastic Beanstalk Service to beta.  Elastic Beanstalk is AWS’s new Platform as a Service (PAAS) solution that helps developers deploy and manage applications in the AWS cloud.

Elastic Beanstalk runs with Amazon EC2, S3, Elastic Load Balancing, Auto-Scaling and Simple Notification Service on the Amazon Linux AMI.Elastic Beanstalk allows a developer to upload an application to Elastic Beanstalk using the AWS Management Console, API’s or the AWS toolkit for Eclipse and automatically deploys and provisions the necessary services required to run the application.

Developers upload their applications via a standard war file and after deployment the application can be accessed via an auto generated or custom url.

Management features that are standard in Beanstalk once an application is deployed include CloudWatch monitoring metrics, email notifications, runtime deployment of applications and the ability to restart Amazon EC2 application servers with one command.

After deployment, developers can adjust default application settings such as database options, storage services and load balancing with Elastic Beanstalk. One of the key features that will appeal to developers is the ability to pass environment variables through the Elastic Beanstalk console.

The beta iteration of Beanstalk is ready for Java Developers running Apache Tomcat and has initially been launched only in the AWS United States East Region. Once out of beta Amazon expects to release Beanstalk to multiple regions and for additional development stacks such as PHP.

The release of Beanstalk might affect the fortunes of PAAS providers like Rightscale, Elastra and Cloudkick (Although Cloudkick  was recently acquired by Rackspace) who have created Cloud Management solutions specifically for Amazon AWS. Pricing for Elastic Beanstalk service is free and users only pay for the managed resources such as EC2 and S3 that their deployed application use on AWS.

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