Simple improvements that have been made to EC2 over time that make managing instances much simpler.

For anyone who is used to managing VMs with a traditional hypervisor like VMWare, the first encounters with the EC2 console seem limiting.  However, new features are making management via the EC2 console a lot more like vSphere client.

Changing instance types used to involve taking a snapshot, convert the snapshot to a volume, then recreating the instance and attaching the existing as /dev/sda1.

Now you can simply shutdown your EC2 instance, and select a different, compatible instance size from the list.

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One of the main comments I’d get from traditional sysadmins about what they didn’t like about EC2 was the absence of console access. While, full console access isn’t currently available, we do have a screenshot which I find enormously helpful with a system is unusually slow to come back up after a reboot.

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Also, the Get System Log option is pretty useful when you’re waiting on a system to boot as well.

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Another handy feature is the Change Security Groups which has recently been added. There are limits to the number of rules you can have in a security group.  I’ve seen companies run production workloads on poorly planned security groups. Having this feature now is a handy way of cleaning these types of problems up.

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Now, these are all very simple tasks, but they haven’t always been in this simple in the EC2 console.

I look forward to seeing how the platform continues to develop.

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