Introduction to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) with Windows Server

Introduction and Aim
The purpose of this QwikLabs session is to run a Windows server through an Amazon EC2 instance.
For more information on EC2, check out my blog ‘Introduction to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)‘.

Goals

  • Logging into the Amazon Management Console
  • Creating a Windows Server instance from an Amazon Machine Image (AMI)
  • Finding the instance in the Amazon Management Console
  • Logging into the instance

 

Logging into the Amazon Management Console
When logging into the Amazon services, I ensure that I am logging in through the https://console.aws.amazon.com website as this provides the access to my administration account but not my root account. This is healthy practice as a security measure and as a business technique. The next step is to check my region as not all AWS services are available in every zone. My zone is set to Sydney which is an optimal region for what this lab involves. As Sydney is the closest region to where I live, the latency is reduced, while still providing the resources that I require.

 

Create an Amazon EC2 instance running Windows server
The Windows server that will be run on the instance is Windows Server 2012 R2 Base, which is available on the free tier so I have no qualms about choosing it.

The next move is to run through the configuration steps:
>Configure Instance Details: Everything is kept as default.
>Add Storage: Everything is kept as default
>Tag Instance: A name is created for the tag to assist in easy identification
>Configure Security Group: Leave setting as ‘Create a new security group’ that has a rule for port 3389 open, which is RDP, remote desktop protocol.
>Review Instance Launch: This is a summary of the configuration choices
Review Instance Launch

The final step is choose or create a key pair, in which I choose my existing key pair. Once the instance has been launched, it is a matter of waiting until the instance state shows ‘running’.

 

Connect to your Amazon EC2 instance
In order to connect to the instance, I need an RDP client. I am able to obtain an RDP when I connect to the instance as I’m using a Windows computer already.
Connect to Instance Popup Window Ws

Once the RDP is downloaded, I can get a password which will be used for the Windows instance. The password is first acquired by me providing my private key, which grants me access to the encrypted password. The decrypted form of the password is used in the Windows instance.
InkedCon2Inst Get Password Ws_LI
(The above screenshot has the encrypted password and Key Name whited-out for security reasons).
Now that an RDP program is available and the password has been determined, I can complete the Windows server launch. The RDP is automatically connected to the server so all that is required is the password input. The result is as expected, a Windows 2012 instance is launched, and appears as follows in the slideshow below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Conclusion
The Amazon EC2 is proficient at both Windows servers and Linux servers (which were used in the previous lab). It is interesting to me, that the Windows layout is far more application oriented compared to the command line that was the Linux server. This may be due to the different setups of the operating systems, and is something that I could potentially look into further.

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