We’re happy to introduce the ability to run JumpBoxes on  Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). Amazon EC2 can be thought of as a big virtualization system in the internet cloud that you pay for by the hour. So instead of running a JumpBox on your hardware you use Amazon’s hardware and just pay for what you need. It’s a really interesting system for all kinds of different uses. I highly encourage  reading more  about EC2 and it capabilities and limitations.

One growing use for EC2 is as a very flexible hosting system. You can think of it as roughly equivalent to virtual private server hosting but with a number of key differences. First is that it’s much more flexible, you can launch as many instances as you want and you’re just billed by the hour for the time they’re actually running. The down side is that EC2 is a little more expensive than low end VPS services and you have to be very aware of how EC2 handles disks and to make sure you backup regularly (see the links above for more detail on this). Fortunately using a JumpBox makes this easy by allowing you to backup to Amazon’s Simple Storage Service.

Today we’re releasing four JumpBox AMIs as a beta test of our support for the Amazon EC2 system.

  • JumpBox for MediaWiki - AMI: ami-71ab4f18
  • JumpBox for Wordpress - AMI: ami-0eb45067
  • JumpBox for Movable Type - AMI: ami-6aac4803
  • JumpBox for Bugzilla - AMI: ami-70ab4f19

These are currently available as public AMIs on the Amazon system so if you have an Amazon EC2 account you should be able to launch them using any tool that can launch EC2 instances. If you don’t have an Amazon EC2 account you can easily signup for one using any Amazon account.

These public AMIs are just a test. When we roll out the full collection to EC2 it’s planned for the full set to be exclusive to JumpBox Open subscribers at the Plus level and above.

Important:  In order to use a JumpBox AMI you must ensure that ports 22, 80 and 3000 are accessible. You may either add these ports to an existing EC2 Security Group or you may create a new security group to use when launching JumpBox instances. No other ports need to be made accessible in a default JumpBox.

The easiest way to launch EC2 instances is to use  ElasticFox  a Firefox extension for managing EC2 instances. If you use ElasticFox you can find the JumpBoxes in the list of available AMIs by sorting by manifest and looking for manifests that begin with jumpbox-amis/. From there you just have to setup your security group to allow the ports listed above and can launch as many JumpBox instances as you’d like. Just be aware that Amazon changed by the hour for every instance that you launch so make sure you don’t forget and leave something running that you didn’t intend to.