Migrating to EC2


When I first started this blog I didn’t know what to expect, would people care to read it or not. Turns out that at least some people out there found what I wrote interesting so I decided to move the blog to a better hosting platform.

Being that we are in the middle of a big automation / orchestration project at work I had been looking at what Amazon does to get ideas as to what to do at work. Looking at the webpage it looked like a nice setup so I thought that I’d try it out when setting up my new blog. My previous websites that I’ve done have been mainly hosted on a VPS at GoDaddy, but performance never seemed to quite where I wanted it.

After doing some research I decided to go with a EC2 micro instance (613 MB RAM) with WordPress, nginx and varnish.

WordPress is obviously the blogging engine, even if you don’t know what it is you have most certainly visited a site using it before. I decided to go with that because there are tons of plug-ins and resources on-line that will help you tweak your setup.

NGINX is the webserver, I had read that it did a better job than apache2 when running on small hosts like this one. Whether that is true or not I don’t know, but it also gave me a chance to learn how to set up another tool since I’ve mainly used apache in the past.

Varnish is a reverse proxy / caching engine, it caches the parts of the site that doesn’t change and it is what makes the website fly. I saw a 90% decrease in page load times when I started using it.

So how did I like the process of using Amazon EC2?

I really enjoyed it, it was quick and easy to get a server deployed and online. The only thing I stumbled on was the keypair, I did not realize that you could only download it once… but luckily I saved it on one machine and now I have a backup of it in a secure place.

One part in particular that I really like in the way they have things set up is that your virtual machine has an internal IP address that is then NATed to your public IP (at least I’m assuming that is what they are doing). The end result is that your virtual machine can be moved between datacenters without having to be reconfigured, all that needs to change is the NATing (or it could be a reverse proxy I guess)… very cool.


Update your bookmarks to http://ullberg.us/orchestrate/

This is exactly what we need at work, time to go recreate the wheel…

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