[AWS] Opsworks

OpsWorks is an implementation of the Chef configuration management.

AWS OpsWorks

OpsWorks creates a stack of resources with layers, and it requires IAM permissions to interact with other AWS resources.

  • CloudFormation (low-level) << OpsWorks << Elastic Beanstalk (high-level)

Supported Platforms

  • Chef 12 Stack: Linux and Windows
  • Chef 11 Stack: Linux only

OpsWorks Components


  • A unit of managed infrastructure – a container for AWS resources


  • Layers define tiers within a stack; e.g. application layer, database layer.
  • A layer is a blueprint for a set of EC2 instances. It specifies the instance’s settings, associated resources, installed packages, profiles, and security groups.
  • Layers depend on Chef recipes to handle tasks.


  • EC2 instances are associated with a layer.
  • 24/7 instances are started manually and run until stopped.
  • Time-based instances are based on a specified schedule.
  • Load-based instances are based on specified load metrics.


  • Applications are deployed to layers from the source code repository or S3.
  • The deployment happens on a layer using recipes.

Recipes (Cookbooks)

  • Actual deployment instructions and come from a repository.
  • Setup -> Configure -> Deploy/Undeploy -> Shutdown

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