Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Amazon EC2 Services & VEO

So one project I am involved with at the moment is a test bed Integrating IBM Maximo and VEO together.

We have a project recently completed that required a Combination of Plant3D, Civil3D and Revit.

We managed to get the data into VEO directly from Plant and Civil using a cool trick that the dev team gave me. This involved putting the VEO AutoCAD plugin files into our AutoCAD verticals and running the exporter.

We are using a test environment that needs to be accessed by multiple parties in Australia, Philippines and the US so we thought the best way forward would be to setup a Amazon service account to allow access.

We are using the paid version as we use a number of services, however there is a free startup version that last for 12 months fulltime and limited compute/data for those who want access to their own cloud PC on the go.

There is alot of hype of cloud and what Amazon actually provides so this will go through what a setup is, what you actually get with Amazon and how it's charged.

Amazon EC2 service is the ability to create virtual machines that you can create online through the Amazon web app, then access via Remote Desktop(RDP).

The solution is nice is you can start and stop the instance anytime you want, and you are only charged for the compute time the actual VM is running, for anyone using VMware or Citrix this should be common stuff.

For anyone interested in trying VM technology Virtualbox is an awesome free software that allows you to make many virtual machines, if you have spare windows, licenses or want to trail Linux it works perfectly, and great testing environment for all sorts of things. I primarily use it for web programming testing environments and beta software.

So anyway if you go to AWS you can see the sign up for free or create an account.

Once this done you can log into the management console with your user name and password.

There are a whole ton of services you can activate and use on the fly but I am only interested in the EC2 service at this point in time.

Once inside you can see the dashboard and there is an option to create an "Instance"(instance is a single Virtual Machine). This will then allow you to set the specs for how much CPU, RAM and space you want, this is all tied to the cost structure, so don't go latest and greatest unless you really need it!! This stuff is like a teenager with a brand new iphone and no lockage on internet use, you can very quickly rack up large dollars if your not careful and read everything :)

Your Dashboard looks something like this.

On the left hand side I can then click on instances and see all my virtual machines I have created if I right click on an instance I will get options to start/stop the instance and all sorts of stats the key is really the start stop, we always stop our session when finished if your running web or services you need live then fair enough, but for our testbed with our specialist all adding various parts to our system we only have it on when someone is accessing the system.

Once started there is some bootup time, and some status checks need to be performed, once everything checks ok and green lights up you can connect to your instance.

You can either download the RDP or type the details in your Remote Desktop login.

I prefer to download each time as our IP address changes and that linked to the login also machines on domains might not recognise the login name.

Once logged into your operating system you can work as per normal.

Obviously depending where you are in relation to your can cause some lag but I was able to work on a US West Coast server from Philippines with little issue.

I'll follow up on how Maximo and VEO integration is going later, but suffice to say so far we are have some favourable results and a workflow for making this reality.

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