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AWS CloudFormation

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Apr 17 2019

As I’m building more complex applications to be hosted on AWS, it’s becoming tedious to manually configure the same thing over and over again. This is especially the case when a project requires multiple environments such as production, staging and development.

For this Amazon provide an automation tool named CloudFormation which scripts the architecture to make orchestration easier and less repetitive. The script almost anything that can be manually done through the web console, but commonly includes things such as:

  • EC2 image settings such as type, size and startup scripts
  • Load balancer configuration
  • Security groups
  • Databases (along with users and passwords)
  • S3 buckets

Like any infrastructure as code language or configuration management tool, CloudFormation scripts are great to ensure things are built exactly as intended without forgetting anything, but can also be reused for other projects.

The learning curve is a little slow but there are a lot of examples online to learn from and knowing how to build things using the console makes the transition to CloudFormation straight forward.

I think that if you’re building systems on AWS regularly, it’s worthwhile in getting your head around CloudFormation as it will streamline your work and ensure integrity in your systems.

Value in Gaining AWS Certification

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Feb 20 2019

I’ve been building systems with Linux for 20 years now but things have really changed since the cloud has evolved. Most of my experience with creating hosting solutions was to host web applications that I was working on, either personal or commercial.

Over this time I have moved away from requesting that a data centre provision a new server for me, and then waiting days, to opening up a web console to create new servers on the fly just by clicking a mouse – which creates them immediately. Technology has advanced so much that now Amazon, Google and Microsoft all provide cutting-edge cloud environments to host software applications.

I have been using Amazon’s AWS for over 4 years but had failed to learn a lot of what it offered. This is due to web applications only requiring a small subset of services but also because Amazon keeps adding new services. In order to stay current and to show my skill at developing environments on AWS I thought it was a good idea to get certified. By studying for the exam, what I already knew was reinforced but I also learnt about the things I hadn’t had the time or need to learn.

It was a worthwhile experience and can give potential employers and clients the comfort that I know what I’m doing.

Easily Generating New Ansible Playbooks with a Python Script.

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Nov 16 2017


Due to the team continually starting new projects that have different stack requirements, we decided we decided to build a Python script that would read a configuration file that contained which OS (CentOS, Debian, Ubuntu), webserver (Apache or Nginx), database (MySQL, MariaDB) and PHP version (set to latest 7.x). The file also contains project hostname (local dev name only), IP address and local output path.

When the configuration file is run, it will create a full Ansible script in the output path will the correct playbooks for the chosen stack. The same scripts can be used to provision remote servers such as AWS EC2 instances. It really helps in getting the project started quickly.

The project can be found here: https://github.com/doublehops/ansible-builder