Explore Common Tasks in Amazon Lightsail
I wrote a few months ago about Amazon Lightsail’s potential to make creating virtual machine instance easier and more affordable. Lightsail is a different platform than Amazon EC2, which is the main virtualization platform in Amazon Web Services (AWS). Routine management tasks are often done differently in Lightsail as they are not performed in an EC2 environment.
As such, I thought I would use this column to show you some of the more common instances-related tasks in Lightsail.
Open the Server Console
The procedure for opening an EC2 instance console console is a bit more complicated than you might expect. I won’t go into detail here as I want to concentrate on Lightsail. However, you will need an RDP client along with a key pair.
AWS makes the process much easier in the case of Lightsail. Figure 1 shows how an instance of Lightsail is created. Clicking on your Lightsail instance will take you to a screen that allows to connect to it.
[Click on the image to see a larger view.] Figure 1: This is Lightsail’s dashboard view. Figure 2 shows that you can connect to the instance with your own RDP client if desired. However, you can also open the console directly from your browser by clicking on the Connect Using RDP button.
[Click on the image to see a larger version.] Figure 2: To open the console, click on the Connect using RDP button. Figure 3 shows the console as a browser-based application. AWS has placed a row icons at the bottom that can be used for sending key presses to the virtual machines instance.
[Click on the image to see a larger view.] Figure 3: This is how the console looks. Configure IP addresses
AWS offers the ability to assign static IP addresses to Lightsail virtual machines instances. Even if you don’t require a static IP address for Lightsail virtual machine instances, the interface can be used to determine which address a VM currently uses.
Go to the dashboard of the virtual machine (shown in Figure 2) and then click on the Networking tab. Figure 4 shows the instance’s public and private IP addresses.
[Click on the image to see a larger view.] Figure 4: The Networking tab lists all IP addresses currently being used. Click the Create Static IP button in Figure 4 to assign a static IP to a Lightsail instance. This will bring you to a screen similar to the one in Figure 5. Simply enter a name to identify the IP address you want to create, then click on the Create button.
[Click on the image to see a larger view.] Figure 5: Type a name for your static IP and click the Create button. Open a Firewall port
The Networking tab can be used to configure the instance’s IP address. It can also be used to configure the instance’s firewall settings. Figure 6 shows that the Networking tab has a Firewall section. You can add a firewall rule to the tab by clicking on the Add Another link.
[Click on the image to see a larger version.] Figure 6: The Networking tab can be used to create firewall rules. The interface has many common firewall ports predefined so you don’t have to know which port number is needed. Figure 7 shows that you can select the protocol by simply selecting it.
[Click on the image to see a larger view.] Figure 7: AWS makes opening a firewall port easy. It is important to note that if the VM instance has an operating system firewall (such the Windows firewall), then opening a firewall port through the Lightsail dashboard doesn’t automatically open the same port within the OS firewall.
The Lightsail dashboard has a mechanism to create