alanwilliamson

Elastic Bamboo 2.2 utilising Amazon EC2 for faster builds

Atlassian has just released their new version of their continuous build integration suite, called Elastic Bamboo. This is a way for you to automatically and scale out your build and testing requirements by using Amazon's EC2 platform.

Elastic Bamboo won't be for everyone, as not every one requires this level of management around their projects. For most, running their "ant" script for 10 or 20 minutes is a welcome break to get away from the keyboard for a short time.

For those that need a little more control than that, they you have probably already migrated to something like Hudson that runs on a server coordinating your teams build and testing requirements. We use Hudson here at AW2.0 to great success.

Elastic Bamboo goes further by offering a commercially supported product (albeit at a price, cheapest license starts at $2,200 for remote agent support) with lots of features that Hudson has yet to envelop into their open source offering. Naturally, you still manage your own Amazon bill for the usage of EC2.

One of the downsides of Elastic Bamboo which may not suite many enterprise shops is that your SVN repository has to be publicly accessible otherwise it won't be able to build out your environment from Amazon. They recommend customizing their Amazon instance to securely tunnel back to base, but in reality, I wonder how many people will actually mess around with that. I suspect this issue will be resolved in an upcoming release, because the easier Atlassian can make this the more attractive it will look.

Another problem I see here is the management of the Amazon instances. I believe they missed a trick here.

Power plant control panel, pt. 1

The vast majority of shops are not running their build/test machines really 24x7 (if you are, then Amazon EC2 is not the cheapest option!). It will come in bursts of CPU activity that will quickly die off again. Elastic Bamboo is unable to manage this scale up and scale down automatically. It should be watching the build queue and spinning up the necessary number of Amazon instances required to get the job down quicker and then scaling down again once the build queue is empty.

After all, is that not the power of cloud computing, resources on demand, use what you need, not what you think you want.

Elastic Bamboo is a well packaged and feature rich product, and while it will not be for mass appeal, it will certainly find its place in the software world from some of the more control orientated software shops that have out grown the features Hudson can deliver.

More information @ Atlassian


 

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