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Does anyone know if there are any solid opensource alternatives to RightScale for EC2 deployment+maintenance management?

Basically what I'm looking for is:

  1. Script based AMI deployment and configuration. In my case nginx + Jetty.
  2. Network health check. Basically the EC2 instances routinely firing back to a manager their current state.



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closed as off topic by sysadmin1138 Jan 14 '12 at 3:32

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I've been toying with starting one as this seems to be a space with a lot of users who need it, but no solution. Probably do Ruby w/ Puppet for management using the Amazon Ruby SDK. – Flashman Jan 20 '11 at 17:31
Product recommendations, including alternatives recon, are off topic per the FAQ. – sysadmin1138 Jan 14 '12 at 3:32

You should absolutely look at Scalr. It's very Rightscale-alike, just a) open source, b) much more startup-friendly pricing for the managed service (free test instance, production instance 99 USD/mo AFAIK).

Scalr is available as fully managed service, or as install-yourself open source. The highlights for the managed service are IMHO:

  • Fairly intuitive web GUI, quick to get started with.

  • Friendly support, at least in my 2 support requests to them.

  • Scalr-supported and maintained EC2 AMI's for some common tasks (like nginx AMI for HTTP load balancing, MySQL AMI).

  • Built in uptime monitoring and metrics for supported AMI's.

  • Auto-scaling provisioning and fault recovery for some AMI's I.e. Scalr can spool up additional EC2 instances of "stateless" machine images based on measured demand. (Scalr can't magically handle fx MySQL data sharding for you.)

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Great, I'll check it out :) – Shane Nov 3 '11 at 10:03

You should also check out Scalr ( It's open source, they also have a paid version that is hosted (

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I've had good luck rolling my own management scripts with python and boto. The nice thing about python is that it's reasonably portable to windows as well.

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Thanks for the heads-up on boto. I hadn't heard of it before, so I'll take a good look. – Shane Jan 15 '11 at 3:56

There are several choices.

For deployments, you could use either chef or puppet. Neither one is clearly better than the other. I have found that chef-solo serves my needs

For network health, amazon offers cloudwatch (expensive and not that powerful and not open source, imho). You could set up a zenoss box and use the ec2 "egg" to automatically monitor you servers over snmp, but its a pain to configure and is another server you need to maintain,

My favorite offering dejour is scoutapp. It is not open source and it will cost money, but it lets you monitor all of your servers, will page you if things go down and will allow you to post arbitrary key/value pairs to track anything in your system (including business metrics).

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I don't mind paying, but RightScale can become VERY expensive. Thanks for the scoutapp reference, I'll definitely take a look. I was disappointed to hear Amazon's cloudwatch wasn't any good. I would have thought it would be a perfect solution. – Shane Jan 15 '11 at 3:57

For deployments I prefer the straight forward approach adopted at They can load different "profiles" at EC2 startup that load software and configure it according to arguments you enter in user-data and files stored in S3. There doesn't look like there's very many profiles yet, but there are some useful ones. It's written in shell script so should be fairly easy to create more.

For monitoring, I've been happy with the AWS Console so far but I'd probably play with something like Nagios if I need more detail.

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Thanks for the link, very interesting :) – Shane Nov 3 '11 at 10:04

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