Pat Shuff's Blog

Oracle Linux on Amazon AWS

In this entry we are going to create a Linux 6.4 virtual machine on Amazon AWS EC2. In our last entry we did this on the Microsoft Azure using a single processor instance and 1.75 GB of RAM. The installation took a few steps and was relatively easy to install. We will not look at how to create an Amazon account but assume that you already have an account. The basic AWS console looks like the image below

When we click on the EC2 console instance it allows us to look at our existing instances as well as create new ones.

Clicking on the "Launch Instance" button allows us to start the virtual machine instance creation. We are given a choice of sources for the virtual machine. The default screen does not offer Oracle Linux as an option so we have to go to the commercial or community screens to get OEL 6.x as an option.

It is important to note that the commercial version has a surcharge on an hourly basis. If we search on Oracle Linux we get a list of different operating system versions and database and WebLogic installations. The Orbitera version in the commercial version adds a hefty surcharge of $0.06 per hour for our instance and gets more expensive on an hourly basis as the compute shapes get larger. This brings the cost to 7x times that of the Oracle Compute Service and 5x the times of the Microsoft Azure instance.

The community version allows us to use the same operating system configuration without the surcharge. The drawback to this option is trustability on the configuration as well as repeatability. The key advantage over the commercial version is that it has version control and will be there a year from now. The community version might or might not be there in a year and if you need to create a new virtual machine based on something that you did a year ago might or might not be there. On the flip side, you can find significantly older versions of the operating system in the community version that you can not in the commercial version.

Given that I am cheap (and funding this out of my own pocket) we will go through the community version to reduce the hourly cost. The main problem with this option is that we installed Oracle Linux 6.4 when installing on Oracle Compute Cloud Service and Microsoft Azure. On Amazon AWS we have to select Oracle Linux 6.5 since the 6.4 version is not available. We could select 6.6 and 6.3 but I wanted to get as close to 6.4 as possible. Once we select the OS version, we then have to select a processor shape.

Note that the smaller memory options are not available for our selection. We have to scroll down to the m3.medium shape with 1 virtual processor and 3.75 GB of RAM as the smallest configuration.

The configuration screen allows us to launch the virtual machine into a virtual network configuration as well as different availability zones. We are going to accept the defaults on this screen.

The disk selection page allows us to configure the root disk size as well as alternate disks to attach to the services. By default the disk selection for our operating system is 40 GB and traditional spinning disk. You can select a higher speed SSD configuration but there are additional hourly charges for this option.

The tags screen is used to help you identify this virtual machine with projects, programs, or geographical affiliations. We are not going to do anything on this screen and skip to the port configuration screen.

The port screen allows us to open up security ports to communicate with the operating system. Note that this is an open interface that allows us to open any ports that we desire and provide access to ports like 80 and 443 to provide access to web services. We can create white lists or protected networks when we create access points or leave everything open to the internet.

We are going to leave port 22 as the only port open. If we did open other ports we would need to change the iptables configuration on the os instance. We can review the configuration and launch the instance on the next screen.

When we create the instance we have to select a public and private key to access the virtual machine. You had to previously create this instance through the AWS console.

Once we select the key we get a status update of the virtual machine creation.

If we go to the EC2 instance we can follow the status of our virtual machine. In this screen shot we see that the instance is initializing.

We can now connect using putty or ssh to attach to the virtual machine. It is important to note that Amazon uses a different version of the private key. They use the pem extension which is just a different version of the ppk extension. There are tools to convert the two back and forth but we do need to select a different format when loading the private key using putty on Windows. By default the key extension that it looks for is ppk. We need to select all files to find the pem keys. If you follow the guidelines from Amazon you can convert the pem key to a ppk key and access the instance as was done previously.

It is important to note that you can not login as oracle but have to login as root. To enable logging in as oracle you will need to copy the public key into the .ssh directory in the /home/oracle directory. This is a little troubling having the default login as root and having to enable and edit files to disable this. A security model that allows you to login as oracle or opc and sudo to root is much preferable.

In summary, the virtual machine creation is very similar to the Oracle Compute Cloud Service and Microsoft Azure Cloud Service. The Amazon instance was a little more difficult to find. Oracle installations are not the sweet spot in AWS and other Linux instances are preferred. The ssh keys are a little unusual in that the EC2 instance wants a different format of the ssh keys and if Amazon generates them for you it requires a conversion utility to get it into standard format. The cost of the commercial implementation drives the price almost to cost prohibitive. The processor and memory configuration are similar to the other two cloud providers but I was able to try a 1 processor and 1 GB instance and it failed due to insufficient resources. We had to fall back to a much larger memory footprint for the operating system to boot.

All three cloud vendors need to work on operating system selection. When you search for Oracle Linux you not only get various versions of the operating system but database and weblogic server configurations as well. The management consoles are vastly different between the three cloud vendors as well. It is obvious what the background and focus is of the three companies. Up next, using bitnami to automate service installations on top of a base operating system.

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