Amazon made a quiet announcement on Wednesday in their forums about a release of a new prototype tool called AWS CloudFormer. This is a deviation from the usual practice where they announce newer features to their cloud offerings, however tiny the feature is, through a midnight blog post. The new tool allows users to create AWS CloudFormation templates for their existing AWS resources for any future deployment. Once the AWS resources are setup, this tool allows users to take a snapshot of the configuration just created as a template. These templates can then be used to launch copies of the existing applications with just few clicks through the AWS Management Console. This is yet another instance of Amazon announcing a feature which is a suitable candidate for ecosystem partners.
The CloudFormer tool also has some interesting customization features such as
- Add Parameters to enable stacks to be configured at launch time
- Add Mappings to allow the template to be customized to the specific environment
- Replace static values with “Ref” and “Fn::GetAtt” functions to flow property data between resources where the value of one property is dependent on the value of a property from a different resource
- Fill in your Amazon EC2 instance userdata to pass parameters to your EC2 instances at launch time
- Customize your Amazon RDS DB instance database names and master passwords
Well, this tool is nothing pathbreaking. Usually, users with an ops mindset use tools like Chef, Puppet, etc. to set up a template for the configuration they use either inside the datacenters or in the cloud. In that sense, this is more of a meh than anything else. However, the fact that it is packaged as a standalone app which can be launched inside the AWS environment and used to deploy applications with few clicks from the AWS Management Console, makes it an attractive candidate for the developers. They are going to like any feature that they can manage from within the AWS environment without going to third parties. Anyhow, this is a nifty tool that will definitely come handy for the AWS users.