Trying out EC2

About half-way through a Monday I decided to stretch my legs a bit and see how long it would take to get EC2 up and running (I got into the beta). Pete Beckman and I sat down in a cafe and found a very nice Exploring Amazon EC2 primer by Jesse Andrews which made it quite easy. The Amazon docs are also pretty good.

Once you sign up for the service (you have to already be an S3 customer, which I am) you generate your X.509 keypair and download it to your linux system (which in my case is a Mac). Amazon provides a set of command line API's that you download and unzip. You set up some environment variables and voila, you can use the command line utilities. The first thing we did was to query to find pre-made system images (rather than trying to build our own, which would take longer). You generate a keypair to control your "instance" (virtual machine), select one of these pre-made system images, and fire it up.

We found that within 3-4 minutes the instance was up and running, and we could SSH into it and begin to play. This is not particularly impressive as hacking code goes, but it seems to me that being able to sign up for a web services based computation service and get something up and running within an hour is quite nice!

So I just fired up an instance and I'm running a web server on it. It's costing me $2.40 a day so I'm not gonna leave it up for long, but if you are reading this post within a few days of the timestamp try out my Amazon EC2 virtual webserver! (too late- I left it up for about a month but it's gone now!)


Blogger Portal Dude said...

Here's a screencast of Jon Udell (of InfoWorld fame) taking one of his homegrow Python apps and deploying it on his own EC2 with apparently zero reconfiguration.

9/05/2006 11:12:00 PM  

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