EBS Volumes. Volumes are snapshots or backups of volumes you have mounted on your server instances. In other words, EBS volumes persist independently of the instances themselves.
Security Groups. Amazon doesn't go with traditional perimeter security unless you're using the Virtual Private Cloud services. That means each server is its own universe, governed by security roles enforced by the hypervisor layer. This is real security, though the new paradigm may take some getting used to. Think of putting servers in groups by role, such as a database tier group, a Web server tier group, and so forth. You might even spin up a t1.micro instance and use it as a jump box. Make this instance the only machine in your environment with SSH access allowed, then grant access to all your servers' port 22 (for SSH) only from this jump box.
Load balancers. A load balancer in AWS becomes another facility that you can configure in a completely virtual way. Here's where you start to see the real power of the AWS environment. You can associate your instances to the load balancer by instance ID even if they are in different availability zones. You can configure the listener and cookie stickiness policies as well.
Availability Zones. Availability Zones are distinct data centers in the Amazon environment, but deployment is nevertheless transparent. All resources can be deployed easily whether on the East Coast, the West Coast, or the other side of the world.
Install the Amazon EC2 API ToolsNow that you're familiar with the core offerings and vocabulary, let's try out some of the services. You'll need to create an AWS account before we can go any further. Note that a free usage tier is available for new users.
First, we'll want to install the API tools. These Java-based tools allow you to issue Amazon commands from any terminal window, whether it be your local laptop, another server, or even an instance hosted in Amazon itself. Bootstrapping indeed!
The first step is to download the tools from Amazon. Next you'll set up a couple of environment variables:
export JAVA_HOME=/usrexport EC2_HOME=/home/sean/api-tools
These are examples of the commands for Linux and Unix. For more detail on these and for the corresponding commands on Windows, follow this link to Amazon's documentation.
Create your access keys The Amazon dashboard provides an easy way to set up your keys.