Following on from our earlier blog, here’s a bit more about how we used the Amazon cloud server to host our fraud management system in the cloud. We did try a year ago to host our application on a different hosted virtual machine, however, apart from costing more for a low spec machine, we encountered a myriad of issues installing and configuring our application through an archaic control panel. Eventually something had to give.

After a few trials, we decided to give Amazon a try and we were impressed with the ease with which we were able to install, configure and get everything up and running in no time.

Here are a few high level steps that we went through. Note that Amazon provides a good list of materials to get started, so you are not too far from launching the service on your own.

But first, you need to create an account with Amazon web services. If you already have an Amazon account, you just have to sign in. Amazon does a neat thing of confirming your identity through an automated phone PIN.

Once signed in, click on the AWS Management Console. This will open up a host of Amazon services such as s3, EC2, DynamoDB etc. You gain access to the service you sign up for. In our case, we signed up for EC2 and hence we’ll discuss launching an instance through Amazon EC2.

From the EC2 console, click the ‘Launch Instance’ wizard to create a new instance. You can choose either the Classic Wizard or the Quick Launch Wizard to get started. If you are using this for the first time (like us) go for the Quick Launch.

You will also have to provide a name for your instance and choose a key pair. Note that a key pair is required to allow Amazon to securely connect to the instance from your own machine. It might all sound like science fiction but you will get the hang of it as you progress through the wizard.

The wizard will also guide you to choose the operating system (e.g. Linux flavours), databases, storage size, security groups etc. Note that Security Group name will be needed in the future (after you launch your service) to configure firewall rules for your instance. If no security group details are set, Amazon will install a default security group for your instance.

At the end of the wizard you will launch your server. That is it, you have created the Amazon EC2 instance in no time (it’s almost like your own server with full control just that it’s located somewhere in the middle of nowhere in an underground server farm). Whenever you don’t need the instance, you can just turn it off. If you are paying by the hour, it would be a good idea to turn it off when you are sure no one will access your server instance.

You can now install your own software, configure it and allow your end users to access it from anywhere in the world. It’s really neat.

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