I am looking to using Amazon Web Services to host my website. I use ASP.NET and MySQL. What are the basic items that I need to have? For example; if I buy a EC2 OnDemand Small instance it costs $91, if I add 1 elastic IP (does that correspond to the static IP that I need to point my DNS record?) and 100GB transfer it becomes $100.

Now I think I can install a Windows 2008 Core server on this, and put everything inside, does that mean I will have a VPS-like server to install IIS and MySQL and configure then? Is it different from any VPS (by the means of administering) or same from that moment on? Of course my computing will be shared between OS + ASP.NET + MySQL, right?

OR in addition to above, can I buy a RDS (for 1m hits 87$ e.g.) with MySQL support so that my server will not need a MySQL installation? Am I thinking correct?

  • I'm not a Windows/ASP.net person - but for the AWS stuff: EC2 servers are essentially a VPS with some additional flexibility - you will have full root (administrator) access to your instance(s). Instances come with an operating system (based on what AMI you choose) - AWS offers Windows Server 2003 R2, 2008 and 2008 R2. You can install whatever you want on your instance (including MySQL) - administration is via a Remote Desktop Connection. Everything (including OS) running on your server is part of your computing/storage. You will want EBS volumes for persistent data. – cyberx86 Jan 25 '12 at 3:00
  • RDS is an option - some have observed that its performance is lacking - setting up your own MySQL may be preferable. Look into reserved instances if you plan to run your server continually. Your costs will include: EC2 (hourly) + EBS (storage + I/O) + Snapshots (Reqs + Storage) + Data transfer (out only). Elastic IPs are free when they are in use - yes they are the static IP to point your domain to. AWS has great documentation - start here. – cyberx86 Jan 25 '12 at 3:07
  • Finally, for there are quite a few answers here on VPS vs Cloud - take a look at: this one and this one to start. It is worth mentioning that Amazon recently made Windows servers available in their free tier (micro instances) - might be a good place to start - it is quite to change your instance type later on. – cyberx86 Jan 25 '12 at 3:16

The IP address of your EC2 Small instance would be where you need to point the A record for your domain.

I'm not sure what you mean by install, as you can't exactly install the OS on your own, you have to choose from a list of AMIs; A good choice in your case might be the Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Base which is basically a datacenter edition of Windows Server 2008, so that it comes with all the features you could want.

It will behave like a regular VPS would since your disk I/O as well as processing power will be shared in part with other customers using the same node on which your small instance is running. However, it is not identical to a typical VPS due to its architecture, which is quite different, so you might need to accustom yourself with AWS a bit before setting up everything on it.

Setting up a separate RDS instance for your MySQL will in essence set up another EC2 instance with everything set up for MySQL use. You will add some network overhead while communicating with your MySQL database with this set up, but at least your database will have all the instance resources to itself. Consider a large instance instead of a small one for EC2 if the resource on it are insufficient, it may be less of a hassle to only deal with one EC2 instance.

Cyberx86 has already provided you with quite a bit of information as well.

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