How to set up a Linux system on AWS, the Amazon cloud

In this excerpt from A Practical Guide to Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Mark Sobell explains how to start a virtual Linux system in the cloud using Amazon EC2 (Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud). Although there are several open-source cloud platforms, Sobell says he covers AWS "because it is very popular, easy to set up and use, inexpensive, and readily available."

The Amazon Web Services system is complex and has many facets. This section briefly explains how to set up a very basic system. It does not go into detail about different services AWS offers and other types of systems you can set up. It is intended to get you started using AWS.

Because AWS allows you to create many virtual systems, each of these systems is referred to as an instance. You will be able to use ssh to connect to the instance you set up (Linux; Windows users use Remote Desktop Protocol [RDP]). Amazon typically charges for the use of each instance and for storage, but offers a year of free (minimal) use to get users familiar with AWS.

Note: Using AWS costs money. When you set up an AWS account as explained here, you must provide a credit card number. Amazon typically charges for the time you run an instance of a virtual machine and it charges for storage even when the virtual machine is not running.

Getting Started

To get started, visit The AWS account username and password are different from your Amazon shopping account. Create a new account and log in or log in to an existing account. Select AWS Management Console; AWS displays the Amazon Web Services page.

Under Compute & Networking click EC2 Virtual Servers in the Cloud. To create an instance (a new VM in the cloud), click the button labeled Launch Instance. Amazon displays the Create a New Instance window. You can launch many different kinds of virtual systems from this window. This example creates a RHEL 6.4 64-bit system.

Fedora provides quick-launch images you can use in place of those supplied by AWS. You can use these images to build a VM in the AWS cloud. Visit for more information.

Launch an Amazon EC2 instance
Amazon EC2 launch with the Classic Wizard window

Launching an Instance

Click the radio button labeled Classic Wizard at the left side of the page; AWS displays the Launch with the Classic Wizard window on the right.

Click within this window to open the Request Instances Wizard window. Scroll through the list of operating systems. Click the radio button labeled 32 bit or 64 bit for the system you want. This example launces a 64-bit RHEL system. Click Select adjacent to the type of system you want to launch.

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