AWS Explained: What is EC2?

Web servers, application servers, file servers, and more!

These are the types of infrastructure that EC2 offers.  If you currently have a physical server it can be made virtual and housed in Amazon’s cloud via EC2.  If you are looking for an off the shelf solutions Amazon offers plenty of those via EC2 as well.

One of the simplest exercises you can do to get familiar with AWS is to launch an EC2 instance that matches up with a server configuration you are already familiar with.  From the AWS EC2 console simply select the “Launch Instance” button.  From there you will be presented with a catalog of server images that Amazon makes available for use with EC2.

Select the AMI that most closely resembles the configuration you are familiar with, configure its resources (CPU, Memory, Storage) and launch it.  You’re then free to log in, explore, configure and use the server as you see fit.

If the options are overwhelming to you I recommend starting with Bitnami’s WordPress AMI.  It will launch a Linux server instance with WordPress installed so you can experiment with a fully functional web server in the AWS EC2 environment.

Once you’ve configured the server the way you would like it to be you can create your own AMI via EC2’s snapshot feature.  This way, you can avoid any common setup steps that you apply to an out of the box AMI each time you want to launch a new instance of it.  Once you’ve created a snapshot it will be available to you whenever you choose the “Launch Instance” option from the EC2 console.

Just look in the “My Images” section to find the snapshots you’ve created.

If you would like a step by step walk through and deeper understanding of EC2 and what it has to offer, please sign up for my free AWS Essentials Email Course.  It covers EC2 and many other AWS services to get you started with launching AWS for you and your organization.

What will you be using EC2 for?  Leave a comment below to let us know what you’re building with AWS.

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