Toward more dynAMIc deploys

The bad old days

"LaunchConfig": {
    "Type": "AWS::AutoScaling::LaunchConfiguration",
    "Properties": {
        "ImageId": "ami-f6b11181", # standard Ubuntu AMI
        "UserData": {
            # Install Java
            # Install AWS CLI
            # Download authorized_keys
            # Download and extract app artifact
            # Start the app


  • Slow

  • Unreliable

  • Duplicated effort


pre-bake dependencies into the AMI

  • Packer + a bunch of bash scripts
  • Runs as a TeamCity build
  • Installs a large number of 'features'


  • No way to select the features you need
  • Built AMIs are hard to discover and inspect
  • Quickly descended into bash hell
  • TeamCity + bunch of bash scripts is hard to grok
  • Play app wrapping Ansible and Packer
  • Installs only the features you need
  • Pointy-clicky UI
  • Scheduled bakes


Riff Raff integration

(also AMIable)

The future

  • Automated testing of AMIs using ServerSpec
  • Docker??

Get involved!

Toward more dynAMIc deploys

By Chris Birchall

Toward more dynAMIc deploys

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