Overview of AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) Purpose and Pricing

Sam Julien
InstructorSam Julien

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Published 3 months ago
Updated 3 weeks ago

EC2 instances are what we can think of as traditional servers. You can choose your hardware options and OS. Pricing is based on server uptime and if you control when that uptime is.

You can see the details of their pricing here, Amazon EC2 pricing. As you can see there is a free plan that gives you 750 hours of Linux and Windows t2.micro instances a month for the first year.

Sam Julien: [0:00] One of the most important services you're going to run into when you're starting to learn AWS as a developer is called EC2. EC2 stands for Elastic Compute Cloud.

[0:14] The main thing you need to know about EC2 is that it is what you would think of as traditional servers. You'll go into EC2 to set up something like a Node server for your web applications, maybe Next.js, any of those. Anywhere you need a Linux box or something like that to run your server, that is EC2.

[0:41] The main vocabulary word that you're going to hear, the main piece of jargon that you're going to hear, with EC2 is the EC2 instance. That's what we call one of these virtual servers that you're going to spin up with EC2. This is what the EC2 dashboard looks like. It might look slightly different for you, but it's going to look pretty similar to this.

[1:03] The main things that you're going to care about as you're getting started with EC2 is this Instances section right here, where you're going to be able to see a list of instances that you have, and then this big orange button for Launch Instance. Those are the high points among all these other things that you could do with EC2.

[1:23] What are the top takeaways of what you need to know and remember about EC2 as you're just getting started? There's a few things. Like I said, you're going to want to remember that EC2 is for a traditional server. If you're at work, and somebody asks you to create a Node.js server in the Cloud, EC2 is where you're going to turn.

[1:45] The other thing you should know about EC2 is that there are a number of different hardware and software options. When you pick an EC2 instance, as you'll see in the next video, when we spin up an EC2 instance, you're going to see a lot of different options around memory, processing power, and then also what operating system you want this server to have.

[2:12] For example, we're going to use the Ubuntu in the next video, but you're going to be able to pick anything, Windows, Linux, even Mac OS. Any type of machine you want to run in the Cloud, that's what EC2 is there for.

[2:29] Then the last thing that you'll want to know about EC2 is that the pricing is based on availability and uptime. For example, if you need to have a server that's running 24/7, all the time, that's going to be more expensive than if you just need to spin up a server for a couple of hours to run a computation and then spin it back down.

[2:52] Amazon will charge you based on the amount of time that you have that server available and also whether you're able to be fully in control of when that server spins up.

[3:04] There are instances where you don't necessarily need to care when that big computation runs. You can let AWS pick and choose when to spin it up based on non-peak availability and that kind of thing. That'll be a cheaper thing.

[3:18] That's just a couple of high points that you'll need to know for EC2 as you're dipping your toes into that service. Now, let's jump in and create our own EC2 instance.