My dive into the world of Amazon EC2 and the new crazy cheap Micro instance

September 22, 2010 | By

I heard about Amazon EC2 when it launched in 2006 but had never really checked it out until about four weeks ago when I was looking for at my options for hosting some demos that require more control over the machine than what a typical hosting company provides.  One of my fellow evangelists, James Ward, gave me a one hour tour of EC2 and educated me on the sometimes confusing terminology that EC2 experts take for granted.  Things like “elastic IP”, “AMIs”, “instances”, “spot instances”, “reserved instances”, “CPU units”, etc.  It’s a bit intimidating and confusing at first glance, but it quickly comes into focus. I then talked to another co-worker Marcel Boucher who is deeply involved in LiveCycle Express, our EC2-based cloud offering of LiveCycle ES2 and got some more real-world knowledge on EC2.

I don’t think the 4 or 5 hours I’ve invested in learning EC2 qualifies me as an expert, so I’m not proposing that this video is a “tutorial”.  There are plenty of good tutorials that I’ll point you to below.  However, I am excited about what I’ve learned and thought that readers would enjoy a 10 minute briefing that will give you a good sampling of what EC2 is all about.  Not everyone has EC2 experts on speed dial so here’s the next best thing.  The gadget guy in me loved this experience.  It’s like going to the computer store, buying a bunch of hardware to play with and returning it at the end of the day.  You can literally spend an entire day playing with EC2 for less than $1!

Below is a video I recorded that walks through a brief explanation of EC2 and walks through a live demo of creating a new instance from scratch, setting up security, starting the instance, logging in and installing Apache.  I go from nothing to a public facing ready to go server in the cloud in 6 minutes.

The links in the video can be found at

UPDATE 09/29/2010:

I’ve had my instance up and running for 11 days. Below is my bill so far for 11 days:

ec2 price micro


Filed in: Amazon EC2, Cool Technology, Ramblings | Tags: , , ,

About the Author (Author Profile)

Greg is a developer advocate for the Google Cloud Platform based in San Francisco, California