2017
12
June

Dining out with AWS and Atlassian

Have you ever spun up an AWS Quick Start?

Wait, AWS has another feature I need to know about?

Trust me, if you’ve ever set up an environment more complex than a single server in AWS, you are going to love Quick Starts.

A Quick Start contains all AWS components you need configured using network, security and scaling best practices. These solutions are created by AWS solution architects (in conjunction with third party partners where appropriate). For more detailed information, check out the AWS Quick Start FAQ.

The reason I find this so exciting dates back almost a decade. My first Atlassian install…

Hold on weren’t you just talking about AWS?

Don’t worry, I’m not going off on a random tangent here. Atlassian is important to the story.

My first Atlassian install was on a bare metal server. It was a combination Jira and Confluence setup for less than 10 users. I went through several install->test->wipe the server->reinstall cycles. This wasn’t due to any inherent difficulties with the installs (though there were some). It was more a matter of curiosity about different configurations.

At the same time, someone brought up with the suggestion of moving our website onto AWS. This was back in the days when you could easily view all the great features AWS brings on one screen with minimal scrolling. I needed to move Apache HTTPD, Tomcat and MySql into the cloud. Once I got into the guts of AWS, I got really excited.

Why was I so excited by AWS?

At my core, I’m a developer. I love working with theory, putting together the puzzle pieces of solutions. I am good at IT work as well. However I always cringed at the limitations placed on IT solutions by physical and budgetary constraints.

AWS changed all of that. Now my network solutions were no longer bound by physical hardware (sure, budget was still in play, but it was more manageable). I could quickly create theoretical networks and easily test them without worrying about the “wrong server” dilemma. As AWS has matured, it has gotten more exciting. AWS components are similar to APIs in the development world. I can use what I need, ignore what I don’t, and make modifications and enhancements as I see fit. At the end of the day, I get a solution I want, not one I’m forced into.

So why did I mention Atlassian? The logical step after moving the website into the cloud was seeing how those Jira and Confluence installs would work in AWS. This gave me an opportunity to play with Atlassian configurations more than I could on the bare metal server.

Of course I still had to do all the configuration myself. AWS was like a grocery store and the individual components were the ingredients. While I do love cooking, sometimes I like to have someone else make the meal (I bet you were wondering about the food reference in the title). If only there were a way…

Enter AWS Quick Start. If you buy into the grocery store analogy, then an AWS Quick Start is a restaurant meal. A chef, or AWS solution architect in this case, who knows the best combination of the ingredients prepares a menu. You order what you want off the menu based on your appetite and the kitchen prepares it. Of course you can change the meal up a little bit, maybe adding some salt or pepper or substituting some ingredients. But you can have confidence that the core meal will be done right.

That still doesn’t explain why you brought Atlassian into this.

Well, remember at the beginning where I said AWS solutions architects sometimes work with third party partners to create special Quick Start configurations, kind of like a guest chef adding special items to the menu? Atlassian is one of these. There are Quick Starts for Jira, Confluence and Bitbucket. If you are using AWS and have any interest in Atlassian products, you should check them out.

Bon Appétit!

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