Today we’re announcing the availability of the Web-based AWS Management Console, which in this first release provides management of your Amazon EC2 environment via a point-and-click interface. A number of management tools already exist: for example a popular Firefox extension known as Elasticfox; however as you read more of this post I believe you’ll agree that the new console is compelling--especially when it’s time to log in as a new AWS developer.
For starters, it’s easier than ever to gain access to your Amazon EC2 environment. The console provides access via your Amazon username and password. No more certificates or public/secret keys to manage! If you’re like me, I never seem to have my own computer at hand when I need to check the status of the Amazon EC2 farm, or for that matter when I need to launch a new instance. It’s a lot easier to log in with a username and password than to use those same credentials to retrieve my keys, configure Firefox (if it’s even on the borrowed computer) and then log in.
Then there’s the new point-and-click AJAX user interface for managing Amazon EC2 resources. No more page refreshes every time something updates; and a timer refreshes management console components, such as the status of running instances, every few seconds.
The AWS community creates an amazing selection of innovative Amazon Machine Images, or AMIs. In fact, the count is now a staggering 1200 AMIs and growing! That’s quite a menu to choose from—especially if you are a first-time user. The new Launch Instance Wizard walks you through starting your first instance; offering a short list of Linux and Windows server choices. Choose one of these AMIs, and then the wizard even suggests which ports to open in the firewall. It’s smart enough to suggest that you open SSH (port 22) for Linux images, and RDP (port 3389) for Windows instances. The wizard even suggests settings that restrict Amazon EC2 access to “your computer only”.
And as I hinted in the opening paragraph, this is just the first in a set of Console interfaces that will provide a UI layer on top of AWS infrastructure services. We’ll be adding additional Amazon Web Services in the future.
The console feature list is extensive, and provides intuitive management of all these things:
- AMI Management: browse and search AMIs, launch instances from AMIs, deregister and register AMIs
- Instance Management: launch, reboot, terminate, get console output, RDP/SSH help, etc.
- Security Group Management: create and delete security groups, add and remove permissions, configure firewall settings, open and close ports
- Elastic IP Management: create and release IP Addresses, associate IPs to instances
- Elastic Block Store: create, delete, attach and detach volumes. Take snapshots and manage snapshots.
- Key Pair management: create and delete public/private key pairs.
If you’d like to take a six minute tour of the console, I created a video (Flash format).
Finally, do you have a feature suggestion, or some other type of feedback? Feedback links are at the bottom of each page, and we welcome your input.