Working with Amazon’s EBS, ELB and Route 53


Here are some key learning’s  to get going on Amazon’s Elastic Block Storage (EBS), Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) and Route 53 which Amazon’s DNS  service

Amazon’s EBS: Amazon’s Elastic Block Storage provided persistent storage for your applications. It is extremely useful when migrating from a small/medium instance to a large/extra large instance. The EBS is akin to a hard disk. The steps that are needed to migrate are

– Create an EBS volume from your snapshot of your small/medium instance

– Launch a large instance

– Attach your EBS volume to your large instance (for e.g. /dev/sda2)

– Open a ssh window to your large instance

– Create a test directory (/home/ec2-user/test)

– Mount your volume (mount /dev/sda2 /home/ec2-user/test)

– Copy all your files and directories to their appropriate location

– Unmount the mounted volume (umount /dev/sda2)

– Now you have all the files from your medium instance

– Detach the volume

Amazon’s ELB: The key thing about the Amazon’s ELB is the fact that the ELB created (my-load-balancer-nnnn-abc.amazon.com) actually maps to a set of IP addresses internally. Amazon suggests CNAMEing a subdomain to point to the ELB for better performance. Also an important thing to understand about Amazon’s ELB is that it performs significantly better if user requests come from different IPs rather from a single machine. So a performance tool that simulates users from multiple IPs will give a better throughput. The alternative is run the performance tool from multiple machines

Amazon’s Route 53: Route 53 is Amazon’s DNS service.  Route 53 distributes your domains to multiple geographical zones enabling quicker DNS lookup. To use Route 53 you need to

– create a hosted zone for your domain (for e.g http://www.mydomain.com) in Route 53

– migrate all your A, MX, CNAME resource records from your current registered domain to Route 53.

Since Route 53 is distributed it will speed name lookups. Currently updates to Route 53 are through dnscurl.pl a Perl script. However there are good GUI tools that make the job very simple.

This should get you started on the EBS, ELB and Route 53. Do also take a look at my post “Managing multi-region deployments“.

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