Recently, I posted a tutorial on how to create a database using Amazon Web Services. To create a simple MySQL Database, you can view the tutorial here, it is a pretty straight forward process. Now we are going to look at creating a virtual server instance. This process is a bit more involved, but still pretty straight forward.
You may ask, why would I want to do this? There are a few reason, one is to run tests on configurations, development, or anything else that could break a production server. Second, you need to have a server instance, but do not have the resources. AWS allows you to create, from many OS distributions, instances and have them live in a matter of minutes. You have the flexibility to configure the instance to your requirements of a project. For example, if you need a server with 16 processors and 128 GB of memory, AWS can configure one for you. Operating systems that you can configure range from Windows Server 2008 to 2012, Linux, Ubuntu, and many others.
Go to your AWS Dashboard pictured below and go to the Compute section and click on EC2. You will see a resources page where it will summarize all of you configured resources. This includes running instances, load balancers, security groups, and volumes configured.
From this page you will have a Create Instance section with a big blue “Launch Instance” button, similar to one found in the database tutorial. Go ahead a click on the big blue button to begin the setup process.
Choosing the Operating System
Next, you will be given options for the OS you want to create. There is a number of available OS’s to choose from, I recommend choosing an OS that you will be using in production so that configuration is very similar. For this tutorial, let’s choose a Windows Server 2012 R2 Base 64-bit, click the Select button.
Configuring the Operating System
This will take you to the next page, which is where you will select the resources that you will use in this instance. For this tutorial, let’s choose t2.micro. Keep in mind that you will be charged per hour when the instance is running. At this point we can choose to Review and Launch the instance and call it a day. This basically tells AWS to use the default configuration and launch the instance now. The default configuration is as follows:
- Subnet: No preference
- EBS-optimized: No
- Monitoring: No
- Termination protection: No
- Shutdown behavior: Stop
- IAM Role: None
- Domain join directory: None
- Tenancy: Share tenancy (multi-tenant hardware)
- Storage: 3 GB Delete on Termination Not Encrypted
For this tutorial, we will choose Review and Launch, review the configuration and click the blue Launch button. You will be prompted to create a key pair, the key pair is what you will use to log into the instance after it is created, DO NOT LOOSE THIS FILE! Alternatively you can choose not to use a key pair, but this is less secure and not recommended. If you do not have a key pair already, choose create a new key pair and type a name for it. Click Download Key Pair and save the file some place where you can find it. Then click Launch Instances. You will be brought to a page telling you that the instance has been initiated, click on View Instances.
Here you will see your newly created instance and the status of it. Instances take up to 30 mins to initialize and be available, sit back and grab a cup of coffee! You can view the details of your instance by clicking on the instance and scrolling to the bottom, where you will see the details filling in.
A later tutorial will walk you through the various options and how they affect the instance. There are some configurations that need to be configured in order to use it with your existing network as well, which we will go over on a later tutorial as well.
Connecting to Your Instance
Once you instance state is set to running, you can connect to it. The nice thing about this is that you connect to a Windows instance using the built in Windows Remote Desktop tools. At the top of the page click Connect. You will be prompted to Download Remote Desktop File, which you will need to connect to the instance, or you can use the Public IP, User name, and password to log in manually using RDP. In order to get the Administrator password, you need to click on the button Get Password. This next screen asks you for that Key Pair file that you downloaded earlier, hope you didn’t loose it. You have two options, paste the contents of that file into the box or choose file from a directory. Click the Decrypt Password button and the Administrator password is displayed, write this down so you can log in later. Once you connect to the instance, it is just like any other Windows Server OS. You are able to install and configure the OS the way you want it. Although, right now you are limited to what you can really do, this instance is not connected to a domain and only has local security roles.
Please check back regularly for additional AWS tutorial and walkthroughs.