Amazon AWS – Your Private Cloud
If you’ve never experienced Amazon Web Services, you’re missing out. Amazon AWS is a penetration testers nirvana. Imagine a plethora of cloud services at your fingertip including storage, virtual machine repository and so much more. And best of all, FREE for the first year. AWS offers free tier services at no risk. You can try before you buy type thing.
AWS leverages Open Source heavily, but for those with weak stomachs Windows is available too. The number of services offered is extensive from Computer power for those hungry applications to Database services, backup and storage services to web applications. There are 19 different services available in the aws management console but I’ll be honest I have not used them all. Some are geared to enterprise markets while other translate well to smaller shops. Personally I’ve used EC2 Virtual Machines and S3 Storage services.
I begun my Amazon AWS adventure with EC2. At the time I needed a Linux host for email hosting, and I needed it yesterday. However I wanted full console access, rather than the typical control panel business most web hosting services offer. Secondly this was a temporary requirement for about a month, therefore it didn’t make sense to sign up for a lengthy contract. After doing some research Amazon AWS free tier was the perfect fit. I signed up and immediately was able to create a virtual machine instance from an AMI image. These are stock VM images ready for cloning. AWS, offers choice and flexibility with respect to Linux flavour, however the free tier is limited to Red Hat Enterprise. If you want a custom Ubuntu AMI, you can have it but not in the free tier. For me it didn’t matter much, I was comfortable with Red Hat. Within literally 10 minutes I had a Linux VM running in the cloud, with full SSH shell access.
I installed reuqired packages, configured everything, assigned a static IP (AWS calls it Elastic IP), updated my DNS MX record and mail started to flow. The overall experience was refreshing and fairly easy. In the end I kept that VM instance online for a few months before moving it to its permanent home. In the end it cost me $0 and I had fun doing it.
Stay tuned, more Amazon goodies next time.