Where can I learn more about EC2?
July 23, 2013 9:27 AM   Subscribe

I want to learn more about EC2 but am stumbling with what size instance I'll need. I also don't understand about the firewall aspect of EC2.

I have 2 applications I want to try to move to EC2 eventually, if they work.

First one is our website. Right now it's on Hostgator and the recent brouhaha about EIG & migration to new data centers has me wondering about other choices. I haven't experienced any problems with HG to date but think I should keep my eyes open about what else there is out there.

Second one is our email server. It's CommuniGate Pro and runs locally on a RedHat server. I only have about 200 accounts on the server but the number of types of access (iPhone/iPad) enough to make me think about faster services and redundancy a little more.

I'm also wondering how firewalls work on EC2 - right now I use a Cisco ASA product with our email server and can manage types of traffic pretty easily with that..is there a similar setup in EC2?

Sorry if I've missed obvious documentation (i'm still bogged down in pricing details..)
posted by dukes909 to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Fire up a tiny (micro) instance to play with it for free/cheap, depending on which services you try out (e.g. I think you'll want to play with EBS, which will cost you a few cents if I remember correctly). What EC2 calls security groups manage the firewall very easily. Basically I think this is all going to be really easy using Amazon's docs if you just step through it once at a cost of a couple of dollars, max.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 9:35 AM on July 23, 2013

If you really need more control over firewalling than EC2's security groups provide (or using iptables or what have you on the instance OS itself), you can use VPC which gives you full control over routing so you can put any software firewall you want between the Internet and your instances.
posted by Emanuel at 10:05 AM on July 23, 2013

Running permanent instances on EC2 is relatively expensive: it's generally much cheaper to buy dedicated hosts elsewhere if what you need is a couple of dedicated servers.

Where EC2 shines is it's ability to spin up new servers to cope with spikes in demand at the drop of a hat, load balancing between them automatically and handing off much of the backend processing to specific dedicated Amazon services.
posted by pharm at 1:13 PM on July 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

FYI, if you just want to play around with AWS, Amazon offers a Free Usage Tier.
posted by asterix at 3:40 PM on July 23, 2013

Response by poster: @pharm - Yow, this is the kind of information I was looking for. Any recommendation for dedicated hosting, and Redhat in particular?
posted by dukes909 at 5:02 AM on July 24, 2013

@dukes. Rackspace if you need the SLA. Linode is OK.

TBH, if this is a mission-critical server, hosting cost will probably be lost in the noise compared to the staff cost involved in setting the thing up and keeping it running though. There's no shame in going the EC2 route; no one else has the breadth of services that Amazon can offer.

Also, if your company website is a static site then look into stuffing the whole thing into S3 storage (or the Amazon cloud caching service thing) and getting rid of the webserver altogether. Much cheaper & probably far better availability than you'll ever get from a single server.
posted by pharm at 2:15 PM on July 25, 2013

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