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How to Set Up Continuous Deployment to Amazon OpsWorks

Learn how to continuously deploy code to Amazon Opsworks

Deploying code to Amazon OpsWorks using Codeship
Here, at Novo IT, we love using Amazon OpsWorks for deploying our internal projects. With OpsWorks, we can easily segregate our development environments in Stacks and control how each project gets built via Chef recipes. OpsWorks binds directly with your code repository of choice. When you initiate a new build, it will pull in the latest changes and build them for you.

One task, that is not immediately obvious how to solve, is triggering an OpsWorks build remotely from the command line, or from a build server. This article will explain how we do exactly this, using the excellent Codeship Continuous Integration and Deployment service.

Setting up a new IAM user on AWS
We will make use of the AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) feature to create a new user for our deployments. This is preferable to using, say your root account, as the new account will only have just enough permissions to carry out OpsWorks deployments.

First, we go to IAM, click on Groups and then Create New Group. This brings up the following screen:

AWS Identity and Access Management: Create a new group

Creating a new AWS IAM group

This group will provide all its members with access to OpsWorks. A name similar to "opsworks-users" makes sense. Once you've picked a name, click on Continue and we are presented with a Policy selection screen. At this point, we can select from the list of available policies or create a fully custom policy. In our case, the existing "AWS OpsWorks Full Access" policy is just what we need, so let's select it:

AWS Identity and Access Management: Select your Group Policy

Select the AWS OpsWorks Full Access Policy

Now that we have an IAM group in place, let's create a user we will use for deployment. On the main IAM screen, click on Users and Create New Users, this brings up the following screen:

AWS Identity and Access Management: Create a user

Create a new AWS IAM user

Choose a sensible name and generate your new user. It is very important to download the security credentials for your new user. We will need these for deployment, namely theAccess Key ID and the Secret Access Key.

Finally, add the new user to our opsworks-users group, which will give the account access to our OpsWorks deployments. This can be done by first clicking on the user, then going to the Groups tab and clicking on the Add User to Groups button.

Gather information from your AWS account
There are some additional details we will need before we can get to deployment.

First we need to record the Stack ID for the OpsWorks Stack we will be deploying to. We need to go to our Stack and click on the Stack Settings button:

Stack Settings

Stack Settings

On the next screen, the Stack ID will be shown under the label OpsWorks ID, let's record it:

Stack ID

Stack ID

After that we need the Application ID for the application we will be deploying. This can be found on the OpsWorks Application page:

Application ID

Application ID

Finally, we go to the OpsWorks Instance that we will be deploying to and record it's OpsWorks ID:

Instance ID

Instance ID

At this point we should have our:

  • AWS Access Key
  • Secret Access Key
  • OpsWorks Stack ID
  • OpsWorks Application ID
  • OpsWorks Instance ID

More Stories By Manuel Weiss

I am the cofounder of Codeship – a hosted Continuous Integration and Deployment platform for web applications. On the Codeship blog we love to write about Software Testing, Continuos Integration and Deployment. Also check out our weekly screencast series 'Testing Tuesday'!

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