Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) – Introduction

This tutorial gives an introduction to Amazon EC2 Instance.

Introduction to Amazon EC2 instance (Elastic Cloud Compute)

What is Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2)

Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) is a service from Amazon that allows you to create machines in the cloud on-demand. Traditionally, the procedure for obtaining a new machine is probably not an alien concept to anyone reading this tutorial. You need to figure out what configuration is required and then fill out the paperwork and then wait patiently for your machine to arrive. All good, but now you realize that you probably don’t need that machine for one month. Can you return it and then reorder it after a month? probably not. Amazon (and the other cloud providers) allows you to create servers on the cloud such that you only pay for the number of hours of usage.

So let’s say that you wake up on Monday morning and you realize that it’s a wonderful day and you are in the mood of creating something new. Maybe you want to quickly whip up an environment and see how that site that you have been working on for months performs on a real server. Amazon has got you covered. Go to your console and click a few buttons and in 5 minutes you have a server. ssh into it, install the web server, copy your website code and see how it looks. Now if you want to kill the server so that you can go back to coding, then just hit another button and the server is gone for good. Of course, you can create an image if required so that the next time you don’t have to install all of those servers again. Amazon just charges you for the closest hour that you use the server for.

Features of Amazon Cloud Computer (EC2)

Here are some of the features of Amazon Cloud Compute (EC2)

  • You can create servers with windows and various formats of Unix.
  • You can create servers from AWS marketplace that has around 1800 different kinds server images that you can use to create your own server. For example, there is an instance called “WordPress powered by Bitnami” that allows you to create an image that has WordPress installed and ready to use.
  • The servers are charged by the hour so if you use it for 2.5 hours you get billed for 3 hours.
  • You can select from a long list of server configurations. The configurations allow use to chose a server based on the usage. There are general purpose servers, compute optimized, GPU-optimized, memory optimized and Storage optimized servers.
  • You can attach more storage to the server, even after the server has been created and used for some time. You can similarly remove storage from it.
  • You can have firewall kind of access control over it using security groups

These are some of the key features of EC2 instances. There are many more and we will see some of them in the next tutorials. For now, the next tutorial shows you how to create your first instance.

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