Exploring the Cloud. Part Two.

Continuing my previous post here, we start by selecting a Windows AMI to run our instance. Second page of the wizard is an overview of instance settings and you don't really need to change anything here, just check out the information and proceed to the next step.

Next step is creating a so called Key Pair. Amazon uses its own security features and a Key Pair is a security credential similar to a password, which you use to securely connect to your instance after it's running. Because we are doing it for the first time, we will need to create a new Key Pair. To do so enter a name for it which will stand for a private key filename associated with the pair on Amazon side, the .pem extension file. Now simply click the "Create & Download your Key Pair" button and save the file on your computer. Note the location because you'll need to use the key soon to connect to the instance.

Following page is Firewall Configuration. Here you can create a security group that defines firewall rules for your instances. These rules specify which incoming network traffic should be delivered to your instance (e.g., accept web traffic on port 80), while all other traffic is ignored. I have to say here that Amazon is great and easy to use, because you basically don't have to do anything here, a new group with appropriate setting and the quick-start-1 default name is already created for the type of instance you selected in step one. Image shows the rules for Windows AMI that I'm using.

Next step is to review the settings and finally launch our newly created instance by clicking the Launch button.

Easily click the Close button which will return you to the home section of your Management Console EC2 tab. Hooray, your instance is running! You can see it under the My Resources section of your Management Console.

To advance, click the instance and you will be taken to its settings page. Information that you need here is Public DNS because you'll need it for the next task. Copy and paste it somewhere or just record it.

Now we will try to connect to our instance for the first time. Remember that Key Pair file you've downloaded earlier? Well, its time has come. Navigate to the folder where you downloaded it and open the file with any text editor on your computer, e.g. Notepad. Copy the entire content of the file to the clipboard.

Open your AWS Management Console and navigate to the Instances page. Right-click on your instance and select the Get Windows Password option.

A new dialog will open, asking you to provide your private key in order to receive your default Windows Administrator password. Paste the contents of the Security file you've copied earlier into the given field and click the Decrypt Password button. Same window will reveal you the password. Save the password because as you might have understood you will need it to connect to the instance.

What you will need to do next is to start the Remote Desktop application that is most easily accessed from Start menu > All Programs > Accessories > Remote Desktop Connection. Enter the Public DNS name of the instance that you've saved earlier and try connecting to it.

If everything is fine, and I'm sure it is provide the Administrator as username and password that you've decrypted earlier to connect to the instance.

And look, here we are, a login screen followed by a desktop of our Amazon EC2 instance! Isn't that truly awesome and easy?

You can now start working with instance as you would with any Windows Server. However I would recommend you to change the Administrator password first for security purposes. I will sure do that because of the images in this post that reveal my password to you. And remember to keep your personal information like passwords safe. Enjoy the full possibilities of Clouds and thank you for reading!