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I've got a low number of EC2 instances managed, but an even lower time-budget to spend keeping them updated and being able to roll out new instances for tests and application upgrades. I need to be able to easily automate the AMI building, so that from a defined list of dependancies I can build new systems knowing they have only what we require and thus that the requirements are known.

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linux or windows images? –  Jeremy French Apr 30 '09 at 12:54
    
Linux images in my case, but I wouldn't mind suggestions for cross platform tools if they are available. –  ironfroggy Apr 30 '09 at 19:56
    
WTF is this community wiki? –  womble May 3 '09 at 2:08
    
community wiki = subjective/controvesial posts that you don't get any rep for :) –  saschabeaumont May 3 '09 at 10:24
    
This doesn't seem subjective or controversial, at least any more than any other sysadmin topic. –  womble May 3 '09 at 22:48

3 Answers 3

Create a single AMI image per distro, then use something like Puppet or Chef to do the package installation and system configuration you need to make the machine run however you need it to. This allows you to keep running machines updated automatically as you update your configurations, as well as ensure that every new machine you boot has a known good config state.

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Have you looked at Ubuntu on EC2? There's a rather growing community on google groups that can probably give you some pointers on automated builds, etc.

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Use the VMware -> AMI conversion trick. Just run the VMware image, update it, convert it to an AMI image using QEMU tools (qemu-img convert) and presto.

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