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Discussing Amazon's AWS, including costs and "how to" best advice. We also talk about related technologies. The Objective Podcast is available on iTunes.
The simple steps you'll need to take to get up an running on AWS with an EC2 instance.
Alex: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Objective Podcast with myself Alex Ogilvie and CTO at Objective Associates, Fraser Ingram.
Fraser: Hi there.
Alex: Today we are
going to be talking about how to get
started with Amazon Web Services. How to
actually get yourself up and running if
it's the first time that you've actually
logged on to the Amazon services. So
Fraser willll take us through some of
that. So I guess the first thing is you
have to land on a website and do
Fraser: Yeah, yeah, so the first thing
you do is go to aws.amazon.com forward slash
free and get yourself signed up for a
free tier account for Amazon web
services and... and kick off from there.
Alex: Alright well we always like free although
I guess it doesn't remain free for very
long: so then what? What are you gonna be faced
with, once I guess you've created
and account and you've logged in, so what's
the first thing you typically going to see?
Fraser: Yeah, I mean once you, once you, create your
account and login, what you get is effectively the list of services that
AWS offers, or Amazon offer through
AWS program. Simply - you know, if you
want to start simply, you want to get a
server up and running; the first thing to
choose is choose EC2 as your
service that you want to kick off. EC2 is
effectively their cloud compute, so that's
a server you can get up and running
Alex: Okay, and if you if you stay
within certain boundaries you can play around
with that free.
Fraser: Yeah, yeah, so you
can get a Windows Server up and running
for free. It's not the most powerful
server but you know, you can get up and
running, get get connected to it, and do
Alex: So that would be useful if you're just
experimenting. Wanting to see if this
environment can he work for you and
give you the comfort that you're not gonna
make a mess of things I guess.
Fraser: Yeah, absolutely.
Alex: everytime I look at the list of
services it seems to be getting longer
and longer, but we're going to stick with
EC2. Is there any other ones in there
that people are worth looking at?
Fraser: Yeah, I mean, I guess the ones that typically
have been seen there's things like S3.
Which is Amazon's
simple storage services. So that's
effectively where you can store files, store
images and documents and things like
that. So, yeah, that's there as well.
You've got Lambda, you've got
artifical intelligence services, you've
got a whole range of services in there.
EC2 - good place to start. Familiar - you know -
get a server up and running and remote
desktop to it.
Alex: Alright so if you go down that EC2 route and you choose a server
that'll give you all the
memory configuration and the disk space
that you can set up, you don't have to go
anywhere near S3 or any other services
you can concentrate on EC2 and get a server up and running.
Fraser: Yeah, yeah, yeah - just start
in there and get your server up and running. So yeah, choose EC2 from your
list of services. And choose
instances; you'll come up with a menu on the
left hand side, choose instances and just
press the big blue, launch instance
button and that will take you through
how do you launch an instance on EC2.
Alex: I guess though, you obviously have to think about security when you're logging
into servers. So what comes first... I mean
have you got to set up some
kind of authority or keys or something?
Fraser: Yeah, yeah, I mean the bit that I missed out there, is what you
want to do is set up, get Putty
downloaded onto your PC - I'm assuming that
you've got, you know, Windows PCs here so download Putty onto your PC and when
you're in your EC2 console - what you do in there is, underneath their network
services, theres generate key pair, and get
yourself a key pair generated and get it
saved onto your PC. That's the first
thing you really need to do. There's
plenty of videos in YouTube on how to do that it's far to complicated to
try and explain in a podcast. But, yeah,
get a key pair generated and get get it
saved onto your PC.
Alex: But I guess if your in
an IT admin role you're gonna be
familiar with generating key pairs and
in using things like Putty. This
shouldn't be, it shouldn't be a big
challenge for most folks out there.
Fraser: No, I
mean it's not, it's not particularly complicated. It's just a set of steps that you need to
run through and keep those, keep those
key pairs safe.
Alex: Download this thing called Putty,
you do stuff with it, and you get your key
pair, so that you can securely log in and
out of of your instance once you've
got it up and running. So alright, so you're going to
go into this EC2 section, you're gonna
launch an instance. How are you going to
configure that though, how you are you
going to choose the instance that you
Fraser: So Amazon have got a bunch of what they call AMIs, that's the Amazon
machine image, that's effectively the, you
know, what operating system's running on
this machine and, you know, maybe, maybe
even what kind of database is running on it as
well. So the first thing you do is when
you're launching that instance, is you choose
what do you want to run on that machine: you know, are you looking for a Linux or are you
looking for Windows to run on that. You know, maybe, you know, Windows 2016.
So, in our case you know we'll choose a Windows Server 2016 base AMI. It's just in the
list, just do a search for it and pick
Alex: So this AMI, this image is
just basically so that Amazon can
effectively shift that onto the instance,
the actual machine, if you like, that you
choose ultimately. This is just you saying
this is the type of operating
system I want.
Fraser: Yeah, I mean it', it is the
operating system, it's that image of the
operating system - so that's it getting up
and running effectively. So that's the
base install really.
Alex: Right and I guess
makes getting up running pretty quick then?
Fraser: It does, yeah, yeah.
Alex: Alright, so you've elected for, let's say, Windows Server 2016.
You now, I guess, need to decide what
type of kit you want to run that on.
So is that complicated in Amazon's world? How do you actually choose what it is you want to run
this stuff on?
Fraser: No, I mean if you
want to get started quickly choose
something like a T2 micro. T2 micro is their smallest, or one of
the smallest instance sizes. And it's
within their free tier. So you can play around
with that until your heart's content under the free tier.
Alex: Alright so
they've got these different instant
names that don't seem to make much sense to
me - so what would be a typical instance
type. Once you're getting serious.
Fraser: Yeah, I mean it you're looking at, you know, a general purpose instance - you're
probably looking at something like an M5
extra-large. So you're talking 4
virtual CPU cores, 16 Gig of memory in
there. Yeah, so that's your kind of
typical, reasonably powerful, server.
Alex: Right, so you run down the list and you
choose something that you think's gonna
have enough, I guess, grunt on it, capability to
do what you want, if you're breaking out from the free tier.
Fraser: Yeah, the next thing you
need to think about is what kind of
storage you want to be attached to that
server. As you're going through, down the list, there's a strange column, that's
called instance storage - and it either says
EBS or it gives you a drive size - an SSD
drive size. If you're choosing, so that is
either instance storage, or its EBS
Alex: Alright so if you choose
instance storage, this is storage that is
connected to that server environment -
that physical machine, if you like,
that you want to connect that storage to -
so that's the instance; you're connecting that storage to the instance. And there's
various machine instances
that let you do that.
Fraser: Yeah, and the
thing that you've got to remember with that
instance storage is that it is connected
locally to that machine and is temporary.
Okay - so, if you, if you shut down that
machine and then bring it back up two
days later, then whatever data you
had on that instance storage is gone.
Alex: Alright, so you're going to pick
something that's got SSD storage,
local to that machine, which will give
you great throughput, I guess, but it's
effectively volatile. So you need
to be careful that you're picking the
right thing for your environment and
don't assume that's going to be there as
your hard disk regardless of the state of the machine.
Fraser: No, definitely don't assume that
that's always going to be there
or what data's going to be on there. You'll
always have that if you've got an
instance type that's got instance
storage on it you'll always have it
connected but it'll not always have your data on it from the last time you ran it up.
Alex: Right so if you're using SSD drives
connected to your instance you're always
going to be wanting, I guess, some other
type of storage as well.
Fraser: Yes - so I mean
you use that instance storage
exactly for that, for temporary data.
You know if you're taking data from
somewhere, processing it and then you don't
need that anymore, that's ideal.
data you can use it for things like -
SQL server - use it for temp DB. Things
like that, so it's temporary - but: if you want
to then, if you want storage that's
that's always - you can save files on - and
keep them there between shutdowns and
startups - then you're looking at the EBS
storage. EBS storage is effectively
connected storage that you've got, that
you can store your files on.
Alex: Right - but
it's not local; but it's storage
that's dedicated to your machine.
Fraser: Yeah and it's connected in the same
way, so it just looks like an E
drive or an F Drive on that machine.
Okay so your instance - you choose whether you
want SSD local storage and you probably
want to top that up with
EBS as well. Otherwise you're gonna lose
your data. And this is got nothing
to do with S3. The S3 storage stuff is totally different?
service - that's if you want you chuck
stuff onto Amazon's storage facility.
Fraser: Yes, that's access
through web services so you
don't access it through, it's not like an
attached drive to your machine.
Alex: Right, okay so we pick an M5
extra-large and we choose SSD perhaps
and EBS. Then what, what happens, you hit the do it button? What
Fraser: Yeah, so the next thing you need to get
the instance will get launched and then
it'll appear in your dashboard - on your
EC2 Dashboard. So first thing you need to do is figure out how to login to it.
So you need to get your password for it, and this is where the keys come in handy from
a few minutes ago.
Alex: Oh it's this Putty thing.
Fraser: Yes, yeah, yeah so you need to
get... so effectively you'll see your
instance on your EC2 dashboard.
If you right-click on it there's a get
password option in there and it takes
three or four minutes. You give it your
public key from your key pair that you
generated earlier. And you'll get your
Alex: Alright so you use
that and you're in. You've now got
access to your server.
Fraser: Yeah, you can
now remotely connect to that server.
Play around with it.
Install some software on it.
Alex: And it just
looks like a conventional server.
You've not get anything in there that
makes it look like it's an Amazon world,
it's just, just like what you've always
Fraser: Just like what you've always used,
the only thing - top right hand corner
they tell you what kind of instance type you've
got and yeah that's it.
Alex: Right okay.
Fraser: You're now
getting charged by the hour.
Fraser: Certainly in the windows instances your now getting charged by the hour for that
instance up and running.
Alex: Alright so yo're into the server
and it might be free of you might
be paying for it but, well that's you up and running. I guess the next thing you
have to do is probably lock it down a bit at they so that bad people can't get
access to it.
Fraser: Yeah so the next thing you
need to look up beyond that, is things
like, your security groups, setting up
your security groups, again that's done
within the EC2 console. You know, if you
want to set up public IPs, set set them up.
Or if you want to go a wee bit further than
that, look at elastic load balancers
and things like that. Elastic load
balancers let you do things like, make
sure that they're always a machine up or
make sure there's always two machines up.
Alex: Right okay I get that. And I guess, I
guess as well there must be ways in
which if you haven't quite got that
configuration right, you've not got enough
storage or you want different types of storage you can do that same thing, You
can configure that, I should say
through that EC2 console then?
so say your wanting an extra 500 gig
drive attached to that, you want some EBS
storage attached to it. You go into the
volumes section within your EC2 console
create a new volume and theres some
steps you need go through to attach that
to your instance. But effectively, yeah,
go in there say, right ok I want a 500
gig volume. Get it up and running and then
when you're finished with it - get rid
of it because, you know, your paying for it when you use it so, you know.
Add it then remove it when you're finished
with it. There's no need it's not like a
traditional data centre when you tell
them you want a 500 gig drive and guess
what you've now got that for the next
Alex: It does seem incredible that the
flexibility that Amazon's built into configuring
these instances and being able to drop
things like storage when you don't need
it. It just strikes me as fantastic.
Fraser: It's phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal.
You know, attach storage, attach large
amounts of storage for short amounts of
time. Use it just for what you want
to use it for and then get rid of it.
Alex: Okay so well I guess that
sort of covers it. I mean in summary if I
can try and summarize that: I guess once
you've logged in, if you're setting up an
EC2 instance you go in there you choose
the image that you're looking for. So
typically that might be, certainly for us
a Microsoft server. A Windows server
rather. And then you choose the instance
whether that's a free one or something
like an m5 extra-large and you choose,
subsequent to that, whether you want to
use EBS as well in addition to any kind
of local storage that you've
actually selected. So yeah, sounds
pretty straightforward and in amongst all that
of course you have to
use something like Putty for generating
keys. But yeah so it's pretty
straightforward doesn't seem like
something that should stop any IT admin
guy having a bash.
Fraser: No, and if your stuck
fire onto YouTube -
plenty of instructional videos on there.
Alex: Alright, okay folks thanks again for your time we'll be doing a few of these as
I've said before, so please check in
regularly. And if you want to know more
about what we do www.objectiveassociates.co.uk
to you again soon - bye just know.
The Objective Podcast is available on iTunes
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