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Using the Server

Whether I use Connect Method 1 or Connect Method 2, I can log into my own real computer running in the cloud and have complete root level control over the machine!  The machine is a full working (virtual) server with a CPU, Hard Drive, Memory, and a Network Interface.

Using some basic Linux commands, I was able to determine my cloud computer is running on an Intel Zeon 2.66GHz CPU with 1.7GB or RAM and 10GB or hard drive space, shown in Figure 8.

cpuinfo command result for the cloud server

Figure 8: cpuinfo command result for the cloud server

In addition to the above hardware specs, my machine has full network access.  From the command line of my cloud computer, I can ping other devices and network addresses, verifying I have Internet access.  The IP on my cloud computer is 10.202.254.48 /23, which is a private IP address.  For an additional fee, though, I can assign a public IP address to my cloud computer.

One of the main functions of a LAMP server is to host web pages.  The AWS LAMP cloud computer is pre-configured with Apache, MySQL, and Perl running.  I don't claim to be an expert on Apache, MySQL, and Perl, but a simple test is to browse to my cloud computer's DNS and see if I get a web page. 

Indeed, browsing to http:// ec2-184-72-207-244.compute-1.amazonaws.com gave me the web page shown in Figure 9, which displayed the various status and version information about the software and configurations running on my cloud computer.

default AWS cloud server web page

Figure 9: default AWS cloud server web page

If I were a web designer, I would now be able to start customizing my cloud web server.  I could add or modify web pages as desired.  Using scp  (secure copy protocol), I could upload web pages to run on my cloud computer.

Conclusion

There you have it, I set up a cloud computer on Amazon's network.  I used the basic options, which are best for development and test purposes.  As such, I only scratched the surface of the products available on AWS, which include Computing Services (EC2), Content Delivery, Databases, E-Commerce (FWS), Messaging (SQS), Monitoring, Private Cloud, Payment Services (FPS), Storage (S3), Support, Web Servers, and Workforce solutions.

All told, running this machine for a little less than 24 hours cost $1.49.  Note, however, that I used very little bandwidth, which is charged on an as-used basis. Since I didn't need to continue to run the machine, I selected terminate from the AWS console.  This deleted my cloud computer to stop all future charges.  Since I'm not really using the machine, I had no need to keep it running.

Had I done any work or configuration on my cloud computer, I could have copied and saved my configurations for future use.  When the time comes for future use, I simply need to fire up another instance and reload my configurations.

My goal was to document the steps to get started with cloud computing.  I have to admit, I was a bit intimidated by the whole concept of cloud computing.  In the end, though, it really was quite simple.

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