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What Should you know About AWS EC2

June 12, 2019

9 Min Read
What You Should Know About AWS EC2
Reading Time: 9 minutes

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of the most popular cloud infrastructure service providers. The AWS EC2 cloud server is absolutely unique and has helped many resource-intensive business websites scale seamlessly across the globe.

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What is AWS?

(Amazon Web Services) AWS is a comprehensive cloud computing platform that allows entrepreneurs to power their business’ infrastructure and become more agile. It is an off-shoot of Amazon’s internal infrastructure, launched in 2006 to enhance their management of online retail businesses.

Cloudways takes great pride in offering managed AWS cloud hosting services. When it comes to server management and overcoming technical complexities of cloud hosting, things may become frustrating for newbies. We ease their pain by providing simplified solutions.

Why go for AWS Hosting?

AWS is a suite of various cloud hosting products, that are far more comprehensive than traditional web hosting solutions. Today, many known websites like Dropbox, Reddit etc. use Amazon Web Services to scale themselves.

Amazon’s pay-as-you-go business model allows customers to pay only for the resources and services they consume, nothing more nothing less! Unlike other cloud hosting providers. They offer seamless connectivity with exponential speed, which makes them more reliable than many private data centers around the world.

Even on a day when you’re facing trouble with speed, it won’t let your website go down. It will keep you online, but with reduced capacity. Traditional hosting environments give 404 error under extremely low speed, but Amazon’s AWS EC2 hosting server keeps on generating revenue for you.

Where traditional hosting services take 48 to 96 hours in deploying a cloud server, AWS offers server deployment within a matter of minutes. The credit goes to Amazon Machine Images (AMI) – a machine that is ready to deploy and accept connections in a short span of time.

Another reason to opt for AWS hosting is its security. They meet compliance requirements and keep your data safe. Their proactive support detects and responds to security issues ensuring the server’s safety at all times.

Graph of AWS growth with popular brands

By the end of 2018, the growth graph of AWS has shown an exponential increase. AWS revenue increased by 45%, which further strengthened its lead over Microsoft and Google. AWS revenue represents around 10% of total quarterly sales at Amazon. AWS beat Google and Microsoft in marketing its cloud infrastructure. Some of the big companies which use AWS include:

  • Netflix, which has recently shifted entirely on the AWS public cloud. Netflix has its own resilience strategy, due to which it kept on working during major AWS outage.  
  • NASA streams the images received by NASA Curiosity Rover through AWS products.
  • Expedia uses AWS to support its customers, especially the Asia Pacific customers.
  • Slack shifted to AWS back in 2009 for its messaging services.  
  • Samsung Printing Apps was originally deployed on AWS
  • Nokia shifted to AWS to enhance scaling
  • Adobe uses AWS products for offering its different enterprises apps.
  • Comcast uses AWS products to expand its data centers.
  • Airbnb entire database uses AWS and is on Amazon Relational Database Service.
  • Time Inc. is shifting five of its databases on AWS.
  • Lionsgate started using AWS products like Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3 in 2010.
  • Yelp uses AWS to enhance time efficiency.
  • Dow Jones uses Amazon EC2 for flexibility.
  • Pfizer uses two products of AWS, which are Amazon VPC and Amazon EC2.
  • Novartis use AWS for the screening of anti-carcinogens.

How Unilever benefits from AWS Hosting?

Who doesn’t know about Unilever? Since 1930, this retail giant is selling everything from food, home care items, personal care products, and refreshments in more than 190 countries.

Unilever used AWS services to improve their online retail management time in order to enhance their business potential. Redesigning an entire infrastructure to support digital marketing approach at such a large scale was not an easy task. Thence, after reviewing 16 different cloud hosting solutions, they put their faith in Amazon Web Services.

They chose AWS mainly because of its flexibility, global infrastructure, technology, and rich ecosystem of members. To establish the platform, Unilever participated in AWS workshops to redesign the architecture.

Unilever developed a pilot platform for stakeholder reviews. After approval of the project, Unilever chose CSS Corporation which is an Advanced Consulting partner member of Amazon Partner Network (APN) for integration of the system and development of applications. CSS Corporation came up with a global content management system (CMS). The CMS platform lets agencies build brand websites around the world and publish them across several AWS regions.

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Unilever stores backups, snapshots, products, and recipe media files on AWS servers. In case of a disaster, they can recover their data conveniently. It uses EBS Snapshot copy to copy Amazon Elastic Book store (Amazon EBS) snapshots from the United States East region (Northern Virginia) to the United States West region (Northern California). Unilever and CSS also created Amazon Machine Images (AMI) running Windows and Linux for usage on more than 400 Amazon Elastic Compound Cloud (Amazon EC2).

With the assistance of AWS web hosting solutions, Unilever became more agile as their operational efficiency improved over time. With an advantage of enhanced responsiveness, the time to launch a digital marketing campaign reduced from two weeks to two days and things got approximately 7X faster than their previous architecture.

What is AWS EC2?

Elastic Compute Cloud or EC2 is a virtual server that assists users to run numerous applications on the AWS cloud infrastructure.

With Amazon AWS EC2, you get instances with different resource configurations of CPU, memory, storage, and networking. Each type is available in different sizes so that it can cater to the workload as required.

Instances come from Amazon Machine Images (AMI). These machine images act as a template that configures an operating system and determines the operating environment of the user. The users can also configure their own AMIs.

You can start deploying your cluster of servers as soon as you have selected your instance, along with the operating system of your choice. When it comes to creating an Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2 instance, there are three popular ways you can use for this purpose.

  • Compute Optimized – These are suitable for instances that require high request rates and leverage industry-leading processors.
  • Memory Optimized – These instances offer the most efficient memory cost.
  • Storage optimized – These instances are able to access SSD storage extremely fast to serve data retrieval requests.

Amazon’s EC2 service offers flexibility and a variety of instance types for you to choose from. You can customize operating systems, network and security settings with ease. However, you will be responsible for monitoring the health and performance of your virtual servers.

Benefits of AWS EC2

  1. Long term commitment – You’re paying by the hour. You pay for whatever you use, instead of paying for the whole computing cloud.
  2. Playspace – You can create additional instances for load testing (client and/or server), testing new architectures, rewrites, versions, etc.
  3. Scaling.  You can easily scale vertically (upgrade to a larger, two or four CPU instance) or horizontally using Amazon AWS EC2 servers.
  4. Backup – You can also leverage it for backups, storage, and serving of large files, and even Simple DB for persistent storage.
  5. Amazon EC2 offers excellent bandwidth which increases the time efficiency.
  6. Less worry about hardware failure – Failures do occur, however, with AWS EC2 hosting server, failures occur less often than a traditional dedicated hosting server. Also, the recovery is much quicker and easier.
  7. No CPU suffocation or other usage limitations –  It is a common observation that many hosting providers kill long running script of users when they realize their servers are getting exhausted and might crash. With AWS EC2 hosting, it ain’t a problem anymore.
  8. Dedicated IP address –  It’s yours and yours alone. As long as you keep your instance running, you can enhance security and increase privacy of your internal network.

How to get AWS EC2 up and running?

AWS EC2 server is easy to launch, and doesn’t take long to deploy. It gives flexibility to your computing and can help to manage business data and infrastructure efficiently.

  • Account Creation & Access to AWS Console

To use AWS EC2 machine you must first create an account on the AWS Console. The AWS console is also known as IAM – Identity and Access Management.

  • AWS EC2 Dashboard

Navigate to AWS EC2 console to set up your dedicated cloud machine. This dashboard will provide all the information within AWS EC2 running resources.

You must select a region where you want the EC2 hosting server to be set up. Normally people select the region closest to their home country to improvise the web application speed.

To select the AWS region, navigate to the top right corner of the dashboard and select the desired region where you would like to set up your EC2 hosting server.

Now, navigate back to the EC2 Dashboard and click on ‘Launch Instance’ button in the section of Create Instance (as shown below).

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  • Choose Amazon Machine Image (AMI)

In order to set up your machine, there must be an operating system embedded, which serves as a base for the EC2 instances. Therefore, the first step will be to select the appropriate AMI. Here you can select your operating system to be Windows or Linux driven.

  • Choose the type for the AWS EC2 Instance

Once you’ve selected your AMI, you must select hardware for your machine. AWS terms it as EC2 instance type. Therefore, you will have to select the type of instance that best suits your business needs. Choose the amount of RAM memory and processor power for your machine.

  • Configure Instance

Now, it’s time to configure your instance in terms of:

  • How many instances you will create (you can create 20 instances at a time)
  • Configure basic networking details such as if you would like to create a new Virtual Private Cloud, set up IP and subnet it; or you can go for the default existing VPC.  
  • You can choose if you want AWS to assign an IP automatically, or you want to do it manually. You can also enable/disable ‘Auto Assign Public IP’ feature here.
  • You also have an option for shutdown behavior. AWS has a layer of security mechanism that will prevent your instance to be deleted if you have enabled accidental termination protection.
  • You can enable Detailed Monitoring to get the detailed report for your instance. Normally the user enables it if the instance is a business critical instance.
  • Add Storage to Your AWS EC2 Machine

Once you’ve made all the necessary configurations to the instance, now you must add storage to your machine. You can add new volumes, change their type and size amongst other features.

  • Tag Instance of your machine

Suppose, you have created a number of instances. Now, keeping a track of them can be a challenge. Therefore, in order to keep track of your current machine, you must tag each one of them with a key-value pair.

  • Configure Security Groups for your machine

In order to restrict traffic on your instance ports, you must configure security groups for your instance. Consider it as an added firewall mechanism provided by AWS apart from your instance’s OS firewall.

  • Review Instances

As soon as you complete the required configuration for the instance, you must review everything once again to ensure everything is on track. Next, you must create a key pair to log in to your instance.

Finally, click on launch state to get your instance up and running. You can also see the launch log. Keeping in consideration that the instance has received a private IP from the pool of AWS ips which can get lost in case of restart or shutdown of machine, you need to attach a static IP.

  • Create an Elastic IP and connect to your instance

AWS provides an Elastic IP which is a static public IP. As mentioned above, by default, your instance will receive a private IP from the pool which you might lose when and if the instance restarts, is suspended or shut down. Therefore to create an elastic IP, navigate to elastic IP from EC2 dashboard. Create a new EIP and assign it to your current instance.

  • Access Amazon EC2 Instance

In order to access your machine, install putty, A free and open-source terminal console and network file transfer application if its a Linux-powered machine. Enter your EIP and attach your private key. You will access the terminal of Linux based EC2 instance. If your instance is a Windows based machine, then remote desktop can get your instance connected.

aws ec2 cloudways

AWS Reliability Coupled with Cloudways’ Innovation

By now, you have spent ample time trying to set up the AWS architecture. But ask yourself, is your time worth spending just to set up an AWS instance? You will also have to learn how to deploy your desired application.

For this, you must manage your server with latest patches, update your applications and make sure that your application is in sync with your AWS machine architecture.

Now that’s a tough job. How about you let a dedicated team like Cloudways who’s aware of all the technical ins and outs of cloud infrastructures take care of your server management while you invest your precious time in the growth of your business?

Instead of going through all the hassle of setting up the server and managing security, performance, and reliability yourself, you can opt for Cloudways Managed AWS Hosting that will ensure, you never have to face server management hassles or technical barriers to grow your business ever again.

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Salman Saleem

Salman is a software engineering graduate and digital marketer by profession. He works as a Digital Marketer Strategist at Cloudways. He loves to create value for the Startup community & help entrepreneur reach their goal. He is a big fan of cricket and does play AAA games in his free time.

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