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Herman: AWS ECS Runtime and Deployment (Docker-on-AWS)

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Herman was created due to a need to deploy Docker containers to ECS for a team within Liberty Mutual group. Herman is a Bamboo plugin that provides a standard way for teams to deploy containers to ECS and provision AWS resources (such as RDS instances, S3 buckets, etc) using a deployment task in Bamboo. Herman will read a deployment configuration YML file and handle making calls to AWS APIs to create or modify resources as needed. For example:

cluster: ${ecs.cluster}
appName: ${bamboo.maven.artifactId}-${bamboo.deploy.environment}
  instanceCount: ${instance.count}
  urlPrefixOverride: ${bamboo.deploy.environment}-${aws.region}-${bamboo.maven.artifactId}
  urlSuffix: ${url.suffix}
    target: "/health"
- memory: 512
  - hostPort: 0
    containerPort: 8443
  - name:
    value: ${bamboo.deploy.environment}


Plugin Setup

Teams must add organization-specific configuration files to an S3 bucket before using Herman in each unique AWS account. See: Plugin configuration

Broker Setup

There are four broker services that need to be deployed before Herman is operational:

Supported Workload Types

ECS supports three basic styles of container workloads:

  • web (keep my app running, and give it a URL)
  • daemon (keep my app running, but no url required)
  • batch (run this task, shut down when done)

See: Task Definition Conventions

Cluster Deployment

Herman supports deploying and managing ECS clusters. See: Cluster Deployment

Application Identity (AWS "IAM")

As part of deployment, your application will get provisioned an identity to be used when accessing other AWS resources such as RDS, SQS, and S3.  By convention, this IAM Role will match the appName field in your deployment manifest YML/JSON.

Permissions are limited to start with to follow the "least privilege" model.  More details found on the IAM page, as well as specific examples for brokered services on their pages.

see: IAM Roles

Operational Services

  • Application logs are centrally collected into Splunk per region - no application changes are required
  • NewRelic is available for performance monitoring.   Some app config required, but labels and naming is injected automatically.

Provisioned Resources ("Brokered Services")

Commonly used application resources are able to be provisioned via your deployment YML. For more information, see the page on brokered services.

Standalone Brokered Services

Some AWS services can be used outside of the ECS context, and Herman provides a way to leverage its brokering capabilities without requiring an ECS deployment. These brokers include:

New Relic Monitoring and Alerting

New Relic is commonly used for application monitoring and alerting. Herman will inform New Relic of a new deployment and your application will be able to send metrics assuming the New Relic agent is configured in your app code. To go along with this, Herman will register alert conditions and notification channels for your application as well. For more information, see New Relic.




Herman was created through the hard work of a small, dynamic community within Liberty Mutual. Original authors:


Herman is a tool to simplify deployment of AWS Services using ECS and Lambda, and the provisioning of various AWS services.





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