If you’re working with Amazon Web Services (AWS), you should take note of the BitNami Cloud Tools site launched this week by BitNami. The Cloud Tools Installer packages a bundle of AWS support programs in one virtual machine for admins of AWS instances, and the soon-to-be launched Cloud Agent will let admins monitor servers and applications via AWS CloudWatch.
Amazon’s cloud infrastructure can be controlled via a Web-based UI like Amazon’s or BitNami Cloud Hosting, but the command line tools provide much more flexibility. They also, as you’re probably guessing already, tend to be a bit more of a pain to set up. The Cloud Tools Installer bundles a set of tools for managing EC2, Beanstalk, Auto Scaling, CloudFormation and so on. You also get the Ruby and Java SDKs for AWS.
So why is the company releasing tools that they’re not likely to make any money on? Erica Brescia, CEO of BitRock, says that the company wants to make the cloud easier to use. “There are a lot of people that could benefit from the flexibility and features of AWS that are still ‘trapped’ in the world of shared hosting or dedicated servers, but that cannot make that leap because they lack the technical expertise. They are good web developers in many cases, but lack sysadmin skills. We started focusing on application deployment, but as we work our way down the stack, we are encountering many more areas where our deployment technology can be of help.”
Naturally, the tools installer fits with the larger picture of what BitNami is trying to do and the tools and services that the company does make money on. You might notice that there’s a lot of emphasis on Amazon at the moment from BitNami. That’s no accident. Brescia says that it’s a combination of user demand and the technical sophistication of Amazon’s Web Services. “Many ‘cloud’ providers provide little more than a simple API to start/stop servers.”
The company may, at some point, expand to OpenStack or VMware clouds. Brescia says that they see “a lot of demand” for private cloud deployments using BitNami’s Cloud Hosting tools for self-service publishing.
But you don’t have to use BitNami’s services at all to take advantage of the Cloud Tools Installer. All you need to do is grab the installer for the right platform (Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows are supported), install and set up your AWS credentials for the tools to use.