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Let's say I have a simple requirement, a web server and a database server. How simple can it be with EC2?

There are images available for the machine types I need already, so do I really need to worry about imaging my servers down so I can re-use them, or is it safe enough to use the pre-built images all the time?

What are the issues that prevent a nice simple easy to manage deployment?

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5 Answers 5

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For the setup that you are describing RightScale is an overkill. I will recommend such Mgmt in case you are planning to grow your web power given a demand. But for a Web connecting to a database, I will suggest the keep it simple approach.

Just pick a good AMI (there are lots of them), probably something in the line of CENTOS with apache pre-install. And create a few scripts yourself, to adjust to your database and application requirements.

If you are following good standards at this moment on your SysAdmin, going to the cloud should not be painful. There are some good tutorials in this blog as well. I hope this helps.

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Unless you need to self scale/heal/do CDN type stuff, then EC2 is absolute overkill. It's also costly in comparison to less hardy alternatives.

My advice would be to get a virtual server from someone like Slicehost or Linode. And install apache and mysql on it.

There are 11 Million howtos out there on setting up a lamp server.

Unless of course you really do need the ability to scale up replicated servers to churn data, but that is not evident from your post.

edit typo

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For the setup you describe, your best bet would be to use rightscale. They provide a lot of scripts that allow to tailor images to your needs, dynamic dns updates, backup scripts, etc ...

The main thing you would have to watch for is that local disks attached to images aren't resilient. If it's stopped, the data is gone, so for databases (and static website data), you'd need to add EBS to the loop, or replicate the data from S3 at boot time ...

AWS deployement usually involves writing scripts that are run at boot time on your image. I think AWS should provide a nice framework for attaching EBS, mounting FS from them, etc ... Currently the (almost) only way i've seen to achieve that is to have your private key stored on your image, which is really far from being safe and sound.

puppet and chef could be of some help, but that's very involved for deploying a simple LAMP application ...

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Rightscale as in the $2.5K-to-get started rightscale? We can't afford that on a per site basis –  Neil Middleton Jun 26 '09 at 10:29
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no ! for such a simple setup, rightscale is free ... –  zuzur Jun 26 '09 at 11:16

Neil,

Have a look at CohesiveFT's Elastic Server offering.

"The Elastic Server® platform is a web-based 'factory' for assembling, testing, and deploying custom stacks and servers to virtual machines or clouds."

Ian.

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From the previous answers, I have read some people recommend using a cloud management platform and some other disagreeing with it. I work at Scalr, an open-source cloud management software competing with RightScale and I would like to share my experience.

I do believe cloud management softwares will help you setting up your infrastructure. RightScale provides ServerTemplates while at Scalr we handle things a bit differently. Basically we provides "roles", which are AMIs with a specific behaviour. For example, we provide MySQL+Centos, or MongoDB+ubuntu or whatever you want. If you want to launch a LAMP server for example, there is a role for this as well. Anyway, no matter the cloud management tool you'll use, it will solve the AMIs problem easily.

In addition to that, cloud management softwares provides automations tools like automated backups, auto-scaling, server configuration software support (like Chef or Puppet). If you are interested to know what Cloud Management is more precisely, there is a very interesting question on Quora dealing with this: http://www.quora.com/Cloud-Management/What-is-Cloud-Management-and-what-areas-does-it-cover

If you cannot afford a cloud management software, RightScale does provide a free account and Scalr is released under the Apache 2 License. You just have to download and install it yourself.

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