October 31, 2011

Dear Friends,

Many thanks to Francisco Zapata for clarifying how to use the
Amazon cloud. This is a supplement to the Amazon Getting
Started Guide

Here are the instructions on how you can start working with the
cloud. First, go to http://aws.amazon.com/free (AWS stands for
Amazon Web Services). You will then need to sign up for this
service. This will enable you to use up to 750 hours of Amazon
EC2 service, which should be more than enough for all our
assignments. A minor point is that to start using this free
service, Amazon needs to know your credit card number, so that
if you go beyond what we plan to do in class and exceed this
limit, they will start charging you for this extra time. Please
make sure that you do not exceed this limit.

It is my understanding that most students have credit cards
these days. If you do not have a credit card, let me know, I
will let you sign from my own individual account (which is
secured by my personal credit card). In this case, please also
make sure that you do not exceed the limit, because then I will
have to pay for it :-)

Here is what the corresponding webpage says:

"AWS Free Usage Tier (Per Month):

* 750 hours of Amazon EC2 Linux Micro Instance usage (613 MB of
memory and 32-bit and 64-bit platform support)  enough hours
to run continuously each month*

* 750 hours of an Elastic Load Balancer plus 15 GB data

* 10 GB of Amazon Elastic Block Storage, plus 1 million I/Os
and 1 GB of snapshot storage*

* 5 GB of Amazon S3 standard storage, 20,000 Get Requests, and
2,000 Put Requests*

* 15 GB of bandwidth out aggregated across all AWS services*

* 25 Amazon SimpleDB Machine Hours and 1 GB of Storage**

* 100,000 Requests of Amazon Simple Queue Service**

* 100,000 Requests, 100,000 HTTP notifications and 1,000 email
notifications for Amazon Simple Notification Service**

* 10 Amazon Cloudwatch metrics, 10 alarms, and 1,000,000 API

In addition to these services, the AWS Management Console is
available at no charge to help you build and manage your
application on AWS

* These free tiers are only available to new AWS customers and
are available for 12 months following your AWS sign-up date.
When your free usage expires or if your application use exceeds
the free usage tiers, you simply pay standard, pay-as-you-go
service rates (see each service page for full pricing details).
Restrictions apply; see offer terms for more details.

** These free tiers do not expire after 12 months and are
available to both existing and new AWS customers indefinitely.

The AWS free usage tier applies to participating services
across all AWS regions: US East (Northern Virginia), US West
(Northern California), EU (Ireland), Asia Pacific (Singapore),
and Asia Pacific (Tokyo). Your free usage is calculated each
month across all regions and automatically applied to your bill
 free usage does not accumulate."

Clarification: the geographic region is NOT the region where we
reside, it is the region where we place our info on the cloud.
The last phrase means that you can only use 750 hours per
month, if you did not use all of that (and we won't), you do
not get any extra cloud time next month.

The Amazon EC2 Linux Micro Instance usage means using one of
the following two options:

* Basic 32-bit Amazon Linux AMI 2011.09 or

* Basic 64-bit Amazon Linux AMI 2011.09

This image feature a server with 1 core, 613Mb of Ram and up to
10Gb of persistent storage.

Once you sign for the amazon cloud services, log in, and then,
in the main screen, select EC2.

We had some problems with Internet Explorer, so it probably
better to use Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

Once you are in the EC2 tab, click on the button that says
"Launch Instance". When presented with a choice between Launch
Classic Wizard and Quicklaunch, choose Launch Classic Wizard
because this is what the video recommends. This gives you a
choice of different AMI (Amazon Machine Images, pre-configured
servers that we can run). Select the first one, Basic 32-Bit
Amazon Linux AMI

The selection of the AMI will then bring you to the window
where the system asks you to select the number of instances and
the availability zone.

For the number of instances, the default value is one instance.
Only one instance is free, for more than one instance, you have
to pay.

The availability zone means that the system wants you to select
a geographic zone where you want your server to run. It does
not matter to us, we should therefore let the cloud itself
decide, so we keep the default selection "No preference".
(Selecting a geographic zone only makes sense for users who
already have their data stored in a specific zone and/or for
those who need to take into account different business and
privacy regulations in different geographic zones.) Then press

The new window starts with Placement group, just give it any
name, please use your UTEP login (whatever is in front of
miners.utep.edu in your UTEP email). Be careful not to click on
Monitoring, because otherwise, additional charges will apply
:-( Do not change anything else, just click Continue.

On the next window, do not worry about tags, just click

On the next window, when you first use it, you must click on
Create a new keypair. A keypair is a private code that enables
you to access your cloud server without your username and
passwords, directly via ssh (in the case of Linux servers like
the one we are using). As a name for your keypair, please also
use your UTEP login. The system gives you an option of saving
this key in a file. Depending on what browser you use, this
file .pem will be placed in different locations. For example,
Firefox and Chrome place it directly into the Downloads folder
of your MyComputer directory (or home directory, for Linux

On the next screen, the system asks whether you want to use one
of the existing security groups or create a new one. A security
group is a list of firewall rules. We are doing simple
applications, so it is easier not to worry about firewalls too
much, so it is better to create a new security group, with only
one rule. Create a new group, call it HPC; group description is
"Security settings for HPC applications". In the "Create a new
rule" square, instead of the original "Custom TCP rule", select
ssh. Keep 0s in the source, these 0s mean that you are allowing
anyone from the internet to connect to your server (once they
know the key, of course), then click Add Rule and Continue.