Amazon EC2

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Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is a service that allows you to replace locally owned and managed servers and clusters with virtual machines in the Amazon cloud.



  • Virtual machines from 1.7GB with one core 32bit to 68GB with 8 cores 64bit, Linux Fedora 8 or Windows
  • Cluter GPU virtual machines with 22GB memory, 2 Intel Xeon X5570 CPUs (8 cores total) and 2 NVIDIA Tesla Fermi M2950 GPUs, Linux
  • Pricing: Virtual machines 8.5c/hour to $2.40/hour, persistent storage 15c/month/GB
  • See Amazon EC2 pricing and VM instance types for up-to-date details.

Getting started on Amazon EC2 with linux

  • Go to Amazon web services and make an account. You'll need to give them a credit card and verify a phone number.
  • Sign in to the AWS Management Console
  • Select the Amazon EC2 tab, click Launch instance, select Basic Fedora Core 8, scroll to the bottom, click Continue
  • Make sure the Number of Instances is 1 and Instance Type box is Small to avoid surprise charges
  • Keep pressing Continue leaving all on defaults. Create and download key pair when prompted to do so.
  • Keep pressing Continue until you get to launch the virtual machine (called instance)
  • Move the downloaded key to ~/.ssh/id_rsa. This will change your ssh identity so save the old file first!
  • Back in the AWS Management Console, double click on the instance and scroll down to look up the Public DNS, something like
  • ssh and you are in.
  • After you are done, do not forget to terminate or stop your instance from the Instance Actions tab in the AWS Management Console, or your credit card will be charged the hourly rate for the instance forever!
  • NOTE: when you terminate the instance, the virtual machine including the virtual disk is destroyed.
  • When you stop the instance, the disk is stored and you can start the instance later with all your changes preserved, but you are charged for storing the disk.

How to customize your VM instance

The VM comes very bare (unlike when you install from a CD) and you need to install all you need manually.

  • Install compilers, or anything else you need: yum search gfortran, install the desired package, e.g. yum install gcc-gfortran.i386
  • Make yourself an account: useradd yourname; passwd yourname
  • Set up passwordless ssh...

How to store your virtual machine and data

See also

Personal tools