Configuring an Amazon EC2 Cloud Machine Instance for LiveCycle

One of the major annoyances with Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) has been its behavior when you shut down one of the instances. All changes you made were immediately and irretrievably lost. You had to be a programmer to backup your changes to Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3). If you decided to keep your instance running overnight so that you could continue working the next day, you incurred hefty charges for the 8-12 hours of night time during which you do not even use it.

Amazon then introduced the Elastic Block Store (EBS) service which essentially is your own hard disk where you could save things that would survive a machine shutdown. However, up until a week ago, you could not boot from your EBS volume. Now you can.

The major pieces are now fully in place for anyone to now run LiveCycle or any other enterprise application in the cloud using Amazon’s Web Services.

Please note the following caveats:
1) Amazon EC2 with Windows is not currently on the support matrix for either LiveCycle ES Update 1 or ES2. So this is an evaluation, development and test option only.
2) Many corporations and Government agencies block your ability to Remote Desktop into an Amazon instance running in the cloud by blocking the port used by Remote Desktop’s RDP Protocol (3389). This problem disappears if you are working from your home, hotel or a public wireless access point.

Here are instructions to get going with your very own Amazon EC2 instance for LiveCycle:

ACCOUNT SETUP ETC
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1) Sign up for EC2 and S3 using your existing Amazon account
2) Login to AWS Console
3) In the navigation pane on the left, choose your region. Choices are US West (Northern California), US East (Northern Virginia) and EU West (Ireland). For obvious reasons, you should choose ‘EU West’ if you are in Europe.

CREATE KEYPAIR
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4) In the navigation pane on the left. choose ‘Key Pairs’
5) In the top left, click ‘Create Key Pair’
6) Provide a name (yours or your company’s)
7) Download and save the .pem file

CREATE SECURITY GROUP
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A “Security Group” is a set of firewall policies for your machine instance.
8) In the navigation pane on the left, click on ‘Security Groups’
9) In the top left, click ‘Create Security Group’
10) Provide a name and description
11) Once created, click on it and then edit the settings at the bottom
12) Under ‘Connection Method’, choose ‘HTTP’, choose the Protocol as ‘TCP’, ‘From Port’ as 8080 (Tomcat/JBoss), ‘To Port’ as 8080 and then Save.
13) Repeat for HTTPS (default port is 8443 for Tomcat/JBoss)

CREATE EBS VOLUME
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14) Size = 30 GiB (or more depending on your plans)
Make sure you create the volume in the same ‘Availability Zone’ as your EC2 instance. This is CRITICAL. No snapshots

LAUNCH MACHINE INSTANCE
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15) In the ‘QuickStart’ tab, choose “Basic 64-bit Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (AMI Id: ami-be22c0d7) Microsoft Windows 2003 R2 Datacenter edition and 64-bit architecture.”
16) Number of instances = 1
17) Instance Type = m1.large (2 CPU cores, 7.5 GB RAM, 4 ECUs)
18) Choose your keypair (previously created in step 4)
19) Choose your security groups (default as well as yours – created in step 8)
20) Click on advanced options
21) Choose the ‘Availability Zone’. Example: for US East, choose from among us-east-1a, us-east-1b, us-east-1c, and us-east-1d. If you are on the east coast of North America, network latency to any of them should be comparable, according to Amazon.
22) Click Launch
The instances will launch in 5-10 minutes.

23) Once it is started, click on the instance and look at the bottom pane for the ‘Public DNS’ name. It will look something like this : ec2-174-129-47-45.compute-1.amazonaws.com
24) Choose ‘Instance Actions’ dropdownlist, and click on ‘Get System Log’. If one of the entries says “Windows is ready to use”, the machine instance is ready for you to log in.
25) Choose ‘Instance Actions’ dropdownlist, and click on ‘Get Windows Admin Password’
26) Open the previously downloaded .pem file in a text editor and copy-paste its entire contents into the ‘Private Key’ field including the first and last lines and then click ‘Decrypt Password’
first line : —–BEGIN RSA PRIVATE KEY—–
last line : —–END RSA PRIVATE KEY—–

You now have the decrypted password for the Windows Local Administrator with which you can log in to the Windows instance using Windows Remote Desktop.

LOGIN TO MACHINE INSTANCE USING REMOTE DESKTOP
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27) Since the automatically generated password is hard to remember (eg: X2@8IFusEP), change it by going to All Programs->Administrative Tools->Computer Management->Locals Users and Groups->Users. Highlight the ‘Administrator’ user and choose ‘Change Password’.
28) Choose Disk Management. Make sure that there is a 30 GB disk which hosts the Primary Partition with status “Online” and “Healthy”. This is your C:\ drive
29) Download and install Mozilla Firefox since it behaves better in a Windows server environment.
30) Download and install Adobe Reader and Flash Player.

GET INSTALL BITS ON TO THE MACHINE INSTANCE
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Since Amazon S3 only speaks HTTP with REST (no FTP), you need tools to get large files into your instance. You can use S3 Organizer for Firefox (a Firefox Plugin) or the CloudBerry S3 Explorer (stand alone application). Install one of these onto your Amazon EC2 instance.

Both require you to have an Amazon S3 account. You will need the public and private keys of the S3 acccount to set up these tools. Choose the menu Your Account->Security Credentials at http://aws.amazon.com

Once set up, these tools will enable you to upload the licensed install bits for LiveCycle, Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat etc from your local machine to S3 and then pull them down using the same tools installed on your Amazon EC2 instance. You can even install IBM WebSphere or Oracle WebLogic, if you are licensed.

At this point, you would have everything you need to install LiveCycle ES U1 or ES2. It will be like a regular install on a virtual machine. I was able to build a vertical (2-node) WebSphere ND cluster with Oracle 10g, all on the same Amazon instance.

If your application is I/O intensive, it will benefit from multiple EBS volumes. Many LiveCycle orchestrations are disk I/O intensive. So LiveCycle runtime folders should be hosted on a separate EBS volume for better performance.

STOPPING and RE-STARTING
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– Stop ther machine instance when you have finished working with it.
– Start it when you’re ready again. Startup of an existing instance is quick. However, the public DNS name will change from reboot to reboot. The user passwords will stay the same.

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One Response to Configuring an Amazon EC2 Cloud Machine Instance for LiveCycle

  1. Amazon then introduced the Elastic Block Store service which one essentially is your own hard disk where you could save things that would survive a machine shutdown. yes this problem will happen when i was upload the software.