Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Launching a Linux (Ubuntu) Instance on Amazon Web Services EC2 - A Beginner's Guide

By Semir H.

To create an AWS account please see How To Sign Up.

Log into your AWS account and go to the AWS Management Console.
Go to the Amazon EC2 tab. Make sure you’ve picked the desired Region (see this article for more detail).

Click on the ‘Launch Instance” button to start the process.

I’ll be creating a micro Instance of Ubuntu 11.04 64-bit server from one of the Community Amazon Machine Images (AMI). Community AMIs are pre-configured operating systems available for anyone to create Instances from.

Choose an AMI:

Click on Community AMIs and find your desired AMI. In my case it will be Ubuntu Natty Daily with AMI ID = ami-48aad21a. Click on “Select” next to it to continue.

Instance Details:

You can leave Instance Details at defaults. I am choosing a Micro Instance and I do not care about the Availability Zone for now. Click on “Continue”.

Leave the Advanced Instance Options at defaults an click on “Continue”.

Leave the Tags part empty for now. We’ll cover this in another tutorial. Click on “Continue”.

Create a Key Pair:

We will  need to create public/private key pairs to later access our Linux (Ubuntu) Instance.
You can create these per Instance or you can create them beforehand and use for future Instances. We’ll create one now for testing purposes. I’ll cover creating some for re-use later.

Enter a name for your key pair and click on the “Create and Download you Key Pair” link. Example:

 You will get prompted to open/save the resulting .pem file. Please do so.

Configure Firewall:

The next part configuring a security group which is basically a firewall.
Since I want to open ports for SSH (TCP 22) and HTTP (TCP 80) I will choose to create a new group and add those rules in at this stage. You can come back to this later to open more ports or close some.
So pick “Create a new Security Group”, give it a name and a description and add the desired rules. Some are pre-defined (e.g. SSH and HTTP) so you need to just pick them from the “Create a new rule” drop-down and add them. I’m leaving the source at default. Once done click on “Continue”.
See here for an example:


This is the final stage before launching. It gives you the opportunity to review your choices and edit them if you wish to. If you’re happy with them then click on “Launch”.
You will get a message that the Instance is being launched.

To view the progress of the launch you go back to the AWS Management Console and go to the Amazon EC2 tab. Click on Instances in the menu on the left. You should see your instance and the various properties it has as well as the Status. In no time it will turn to “running”. Here’s an example of this view:

That’s it. You can now connect to your running Instance. I’ll cover how to do that in my next tutorial.

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