Test Drive Amazon Web Service

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I recently purchased a new car and like all car buyers, you preface the purchase with research and test driving the different types of vehicles. Getting a feel of the car. In the world of cloud computing, you have that same opportunity of testing driving the product you potentially want to purchase. The leading provider of web services is Amazon and they offer a free 1 year trial basis of their products in the form of data storage and data movement. I was intrigued and thought of test driving the AWS suite of products. Not that I was looking to purchase or required data storage, but getting the opportunity to check what’s under the hood.

Surprisingly, the sign up process was rather easy especially if you already have an Amazon account. You go straight to http://aws.amazon.com/ and follow the prompts to sign up. Of course, a credit card will be required at sign up. You will see the following:

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Once in, you will be taken to the AWS Management Console which provides you a plethora of AWS product offerings. I narrowed my test drive to relational databases such as MS SQL Server so I went ahead and clicked on RDS.

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Clicking RDS takes you to the RDS Dashboard where you can maintain various db instances that you have created or the ability to create a DB instance. You can create one just by clicking the “Launch a DB Instance” button as see below.

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The first step will be selecting the database engine. You have a choice of either MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle or SQL Server. For my purposes, I clicked on their free offering of SQL Server Express.

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You will then be taken to another screen to define the database details. In the DB Engine Version field, you will be prompted to define a DB Instance Class. Go ahead and choose db.t2.micro – 1vCPU, 1GiB RAM. This is minimal product at no cost.

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Enter the DB Instance identifier, Master Username and Password. Your password should be a t least 8 characters long. Then click Next Step.

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You will then be taken to the third step of the process and that is to configure your advanced settings. At this point, I just took in the default values and clicked on Launch DB Instance.

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At this point, magic happens and then you get the following screen advising of the creation of your new DB instance. Click on View Your DB Instances to check it out.

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It will take a few minutes for AWS to actually complete the creation of your database instance as you can see in the status field of the new testdrive instance. Once complete, the endpoints will be defined and that is what you use to connect to your newly created database. The port number will be 1433.

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So basically, that is it. You can create new databases by simply making a few clicks. You can resize and/or reconfigure your instance straight from the RDS Dashboard. AWS offers various storage capacity for a price so if you want to continue test driving at no cost, be sure to request for the minimal size.  You can also check your billing by clicking on Services and then Billing:

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The power of maintaining and administrating a relational database is all in your fingertips and very easy to work with. You have control to resize and reconfigure at your heart’s content which I find very cool. Just be aware of AWS pricing impacts. From a business standpoint, this saves on maintaining physical servers and hardware as you are utilizing cloud technology.

 

As mentioned before, AWS has many other product offerings and can be easily reached from the AWS Management Console. So try it out, kick the tires, take it for a spin and enjoy the ride!