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What is AWS Elastic Beanstalk?

applicationsWhat is AWS Elastic Beanstalk?
(Image credit: Image Credit: Pixelkult / Pixabay)

Programming an application for cloud computing services is already difficult enough. There are business requirements to think about, usability and design issues to meet user needs and security concerns that are ever-more-troubling. The programming language you use provides a wealth of features and functions, but when you deploy the app you suddenly realize there are so many system administration tasks to worry about to make sure the app or website is stable and secure, you can’t even focus on what the application does or why it exists.

Fortunately, the AWS Elastic Beanstalk solves this issue. Intended as a way to deploy applications, websites, mobile apps, and other services in a way that takes the legwork out of the system management functions, Elastic Beanstalk handles the scaling, management, and security concerns that might otherwise occupy most of your time.

AWS Elastic Beanstalk handles the server autoscaling, networking infrastructure, load balancers for cloud databases, and all of the architecture needed to run your app or service. Elastic Beanstalk also handles all of the provisioning, scaling, and implementation of the application stack. Once deployed, you can rely on Elastic Beanstalk to maintain the app infrastructure for you so that you and your team can focus more on the app or service itself.

As the name implies, AWS Elastic Beanstalk is like a “magical” beanstalk that grows and adapts to your business needs. Named after the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk, it’s meant to provide an adaptable infrastructure in the same way that transported that mythical character. Your team doesn’t have to learn the “transport” part of application deployments, only the actual hard work of app development. You reach new heights by relying on the infrastructure to meet all of the expected user growth you have, whether that’s for a new web application, a new service, a mobile app, an internal software-as-a-service deployment, or a customer-facing app. 

Fortunately, those “new heights” are achieved without having to learn about the infrastructure or how autoscaling and deployment even keeps pace. It’s all handled through a web console so that your team can focus on what they do best -- building an exemplar app.

Benefits of AWS Elastic Beanstalk

One interesting benefit to use Elastic Beanstalk is that it can scale not only in terms of user growth but also in which services you want to use and which ones you want to manage. It is flexible in that you can decide to adjust some features yourself or rely on automation that detects user growth and changes in how the app or service is used.

That flexibility extends to the types of applications, websites, and services you can deploy. Elastic Beanstalk supports a wide variety of programming languages including Java, PHP, Ruby Python, and many others. You don’t need to adjust your web or mobile app strategy to fit within the confines of Elastic Beanstalk but can continue using the platforms you already know.

This also applies to how you deploy in the serverless environment, using Apache servers in many different configurations or other virtual servers as needed. Elastic Beanstalk also works with additional Amazon Web Services including Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) and Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) for your infrastructure and storage needs.

Elastic Beanstalk is flexible in terms of how you manage your deployments. You can rely on the web console as though you are managing a business dashboard, use the command-line interface for more direct control over changes and configs, or use the API. You can use relational databases as a service through Amazon Web Services as well.

More than anything, what this rely provides is a way for companies to extend beyond their current capabilities. Imagine a new startup that develops an app to compete with Instagram or Snapchat. It has all of the bells and whistles you can imagine and has a trendy interface. There are so many ingenious features that it is sure to attract a worldwide audience as a new consume app when it debuts on the Apple and Android stores. Then reality hits. To manage the deployment, there are countless issues related to database management, security, user accounts, performance, cloud storage management, and syncing to other services.

A team of smart programmers who know how to build user-friendly apps that are powerful and provide an entirely new feature set must suddenly become infrastructure experts who are constantly provisioning new services and application stack. The “gotcha” is that the programmers also have to worry about storage issues, scaling up the servers to match the incredible new user demand and the complex endpoint security issues that always tend to arise.

AWS Elastic Beanstalk has the primary benefit of removing all of those concerns and handling all of those compelxitir4ies for you. Your team manages the deployment but the service is designed for auto-scaling the app, website, or service to meet all of the new demands.