A Quick Guide to Designing Application Architecture on AWS
An architecture design is a blueprint for your application and an essential component of the design process. It outlines the infrastructure, components and services required to build and operate the application. When you create a robust architecture design, you know whether the app is scalable, secure and cost-effective.
In this article, we’ll discuss the steps to follow when designing your application architecture on Amazon Web Services (AWS), how to deploy and test applications, and how to monitor applications. But first, let’s start with why you should build your applications on AWS.
Why You Should Build on AWS
AWS is an excellent platform for application development from an engineering perspective. With AWS, you do not have to worry about manually hosting applications. Being able to use services like ECS or EC2 to host an application helps facilitate what can sometimes be the most painful part of developing an application: putting it somewhere that’s accessible for your target audience. AWS makes it easier to get an application from development complete to deployed and usable. And to top it all off, after setting it up once, you can reuse that setup as a template for future applications.
Additionally, AWS offers a comprehensive suite of machine learning services, such as Amazon SageMaker and Amazon Rekognition, which can be used to build intelligent applications with ease. Overall, AWS provides a powerful and flexible infrastructure for application development, with a broad range of services that cater to various use cases, making it the way to go for many engineering teams.
Next, let’s look at the steps you should follow when designing your application on AWS.
Determine Your Workload Type
The first step is to determine the workload type. Ask yourself, “Will my application be CPU-intensive, memory-intensive or I/O-intensive?” Knowing the answer will help you choose the right instance types, storage solutions and other resources to support your workload.
Plan for Scaling
Scaling is crucial for making sure that your application can handle increased levels of demand. Determine how your application will scale and which services you’ll use to support that. Consider factors such as whether the app requires horizontal or vertical scaling. Look to AWS services such as Elastic Load Balancing, Auto Scaling and AWS Lambda.
Prepare for Resilience
No application is immune to failure, so look for potential failure points in your architecture design. Consider how your application will handle failures and which backup and recovery procedures you’ll put in place. Services such as AWS Backup and AWS Disaster Recovery help you prepare for potential failures.
Implement Security Measures
Security should be an ongoing priority when designing applications. What security measures will you implement? How will you protect your application and data? AWS offers a range of tools and services, such as AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), AWS Shield and AWS WAF.
Develop a Monitoring Process
Monitoring your applications is critical for identifying issues and ensuring strong performance. Plan for how you’ll monitor your application and what metrics you’ll track. Amazon CloudWatch, AWS X-Ray and AWS Config are just a few examples of the available monitoring tools.
- Yum is a package manager specific to Amazon Linux, CentOS and other Fedora-based operating systems. Regularly running the
yum updatecommand is an important step in ensuring the security and stability of your Amazon EC2 instances created with CloudFormation. This triggers an update to the RPM package and makes sure you get the latest security patches, bug fixes and features.
How to Develop and Test AWS Apps
Development and testing are essential stages if you want your application to be functioning, high-performing, scalable and reliable. AWS provides many developer tools and testing options, such as AWS CodeCommit, AWS CodeBuild, and AWS CodeDeploy, to help you develop, test and deploy your applications on AWS.
Here are the fundamental steps in developing and testing your application.
Write and Test Your Application’s Code
The first step in developing and testing your application is to write the code. You can use any programming language and development environment that’s compatible with AWS. AWS provides a range of software development kits (SDKs) and APIs that make it easy to integrate your application.
Use tools such as AWS CodeCommit, which is a fully managed source control service. This collaborative tool enables you to track changes and collaborate with other developers throughout development and debugging processes.
After writing code, test it. You can use AWS CodeBuild, a fully managed build service, to build, test and deploy your application code. You can also use AWS Lambda, a serverless compute service, to test your application code without deploying it to a server.
Resolve Errors and Debug Issues
AWS CodeBuild is where most of the work is done to resolve errors and debug issues from an automated testing perspective. CodePipeline can pick up changes pushed to the git repo, which then kicks off a CodeBuild step that runs any automated testing.
CodeBuild can run a series of predefined tests and checks, or you can define custom tests and checks to run against your code. If any errors or issues are detected during the testing phase, CodeBuild will alert you and provide detailed information about the problem.
Assuming the automated tests pass, CodeDeploy can then deploy your application code to the appropriate environment for user acceptance testing. CodeDeploy is an automated deployment service that makes it easy to deploy your code to production or staging environments. It allows you to deploy your code to multiple instances at once, rolling back the deployment if any issues arise.
Once you’ve written and smoothed out your application code, you’ll need to complete the testing phase. You can use AWS Device Farm, a service that provides real mobile devices for testing, to test your application on a range of devices and operating systems. You can also use AWS Elastic Load Balancing, a service that distributes incoming application traffic across multiple targets. This test measures whether your application can handle a high volume of traffic.
Monitor Performance and Security
Performance and security should be a priority throughout the development process to ensure that your AWS app is secure, optimized and can handle what’s thrown at it. Consider load testing to identify performance bottlenecks, along with caching and content delivery to improve application speed. Security auditing and encryption help protect sensitive data from unauthorized access.
How to Deploy and Monitor AWS Apps
After developing and testing your AWS application, it’s time to deploy it. Here are some steps to follow for a successful deployment.
Choose Your Deployment Method
Deployment of AWS applications isn’t one-size-fits-all. There are multiple deployment methods available, including AWS CodeDeploy or using a third-party deployment service. You can also select a combination of methods.
Your choice of deployment method will depend on factors including the complexity of your application, the size of your team and your level of AWS expertise.
Configure Deployment Settings
Begin by setting up source controls using AWS CodeCommit, where you can also upload your application code. This provides the added benefit of version control, making it easier to manage changes over time. Next, create a deployment pipeline that will run automated tests and deploy the code to the appropriate environment.
Upload Your Application Code
Now, it’s time to upload your application code to the repository. This can be done either manually or through an automated process such as a build script. Once your code is uploaded, the pipeline will run automated tests to ensure that the application is functioning as expected. Any issues or errors will be flagged for your review and resolution.
Test Your Deployment
There’s one more testing phase to go through before you release your application to the public. This phase of testing can involve automated or manual tests or a combination. Automated testing is ideal for catching errors and bugs early in the deployment process, while manual testing is useful later on for verifying that your application is working as intended.
Monitor Your Application
After your application is deployed, keep track of its performance. Performance monitoring metrics include request latency and error. AWS provides monitoring tools such as CloudWatch, which tracks metrics, logs and other events related to your application.
Implement Security Measures
Security measures after deployment include encryption algorithms, third-party tools and security protocols such as HTTPS or SSH. This process helps protect your application from malicious attacks, data breaches and other threats.
Set up Backups
Regular backups are critical for preventing data loss in the event of a disaster or system failure. Your backups should cover application code, databases and other related files. AWS provides backup and disaster-recovery tools such as Amazon S3 and Amazon Glacier.
- Leveraging automation tools can help save time, reduce errors and make your deployment process more reliable. CodePipeline is a fully managed continuous delivery service that can automate the entire delivery process, from picking up code changes to testing to deployment. CodePipeline allows you to define your entire software release process in one place, including building, testing and deploying your application code. You can create a pipeline that automatically deploys code changes to production, staging or test environments, with the ability to customize each stage to suit your needs.
Partnering with AWS Experts
When you partner with AWS experts like Mission Cloud,, your business gains access to experienced developers with deep knowledge of AWS services and tools. You’ll also learn about all the best practices for developing and deploying applications on AWS.
Connect with one of our cloud advisors and discuss the next steps in your application development project.