Good for simple stacks and getting going with AWS + Chef
March 22, 2018

Good for simple stacks and getting going with AWS + Chef

Andrew Raines | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version

AWS OpsWorks Stacks

Overall Satisfaction with AWS OpsWorks

We currently use Opsworks to help orchestrate parts of our infrastructure and manage instances via Chef recipes. It is used for the majority of the backend services we produce. It gives us a framework around which to hang our applications and an easy way to rebuild servers, auto-scale services and do basic monitoring.
  • The interface is quite intuitive and allows you to discover and easily find what you want to do and what other features are within OpsWorks.
  • Chef integration is pretty seamless and there are a good set of options and operating systems to choose from
  • It makes things like auto scaling set up, either via load or time, more straight forward and intuitive than what you'd typically see via the EC2 console
  • There are no true deployment options, so you cannot specify rolling-deploys for example. It is possible to emulate some of these things, but it really is an exercise for the reader.
  • Generally pushes you down the road of mutable infrastructure (as opposed to immutable infrastructure). It would be nice if there were better options around this.
  • OpsWorks has allowed some of our more simple application stacks to be implemented quickly and effectively. Whilst it is difficult to put actual numbers on it, it meant we could hit the ground running before tackling the more complex world of Cloudformation/Terraform to manage parts of our infrastructure.
OpsWorks isn't really a direct competitor to Terraform/Cloudformation, but it does allow you to do some of the more simple things on offer quite quickly and effectively. Opsworks was used for this reason, along with existing internal knowledge of Chef. Along with some of the other services on offer from AWS, it is good to use as a stepping stone along the way when building your systems - or perhaps it would be entirely suitable for a fairly simple project.
Where you already have some Chef recipes to build your application boxes and are happy to run directly on VMs, OpsWorks really shines. It won't do anything too complex for you, so it only really works well for simple stacks (load balancers, application layers, database layers). If you want to do more complex infrastructure, Cloudformation or Terraform are probably worth looking at.