I have been playing with Amazon Web Services since few months ago. AWS is for a SysAdmin like Disneyland is for a 8 years old child, I enjoy so much doing this kind of stuff.
If you are not familiar with AWS products/services, let me describe with Amazon words and in my own words what are the most important services and concepts we have been using for deploying an Alfresco on-premise installation in AWS:
- EC2: virtual servers in the cloud.
- VPC: isolated cloud resources. Yes, a real isolated cloud architecture and resources.
- S3: Scalable storage, like a CAS (Content Addressable Storage) for your local or cloud servers.
- RDS: Managed Relational Database Service (MySQL, Oracle or MS SQL Server).
- ELB: Elastic Load Balancer, as part of EC2 allows you to create load balancers easily.
- CloudFormation: Templated AWS resource creation. *This is why I’m writing this article. A CloudFormation template is a json file which creates a wizard and options based in our needs.
- AWS Region: a location with multiples AZ .
- AZ: Availability Zone (data centers connected through low-latency links in the same region).
Once said so, my colleague Luis Sala has been working together with the Amazon AWS crew and they have made a CloudFormation template to deploy an Alfresco cluster in just minutes. This template is available here: https://github.com/AlfrescoLabs/alfresco-cloudformation.
This CloudFormation template will create a 2 nodes Alfresco cluster inside a virtual private cloud (VPC), a Load Balancer (ELB) with sticky sessions bases on the Tomcat JSESSIONID, a shared ContentStore based on S3, a shared MySQL DB based on a RDS instance. Each Alfresco node will be in a separate Availability Zone and finally the template includes auto-scaling roles for add extra Alfresco nodes when some thresholds are reached.
We will have something like the diagram below, I say “like this” because we will have only 2 Alfresco nodes in the cluster and the auto-scaling will add more nodes in case of thresholds are reached (clic to see it bigger).
Finally in the video below you can see step by step a real CloudFormation deployment, I think the video screencast is self-explanatory, it does not have audio. As you can see, the video is 6 minutes length after cropping some dead times but it was around 15 minutes total.
I thought it is a very interesting approach about Alfresco clustering and it worth it to share with you all. Any question or feedback is welcome, even in spanish or english 😉