Logging into a virtual machine (VM), seems simple. It’s so easy that I seriously considered skipping this topic.
However, administrators of Windows often have trouble logging in to a VM or deploying it to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) when they first use it.
Although the process is not difficult, it is quite different than a native Windows Server environment (especially when you log in for the first-time). I wanted to share this information with you.
You should understand that Amazon Web Services (AWS), which allows you to create and log in to virtual machines, does not refer to them by the name virtual machines. Amazon-speak refers to virtual machines as “instances”. Logging in to AWS console and then going into EC2 will allow you to access instances. Click on the Launch Instance button shown in Figure 1 to create a new instance.
[Click on the image to see a larger version.] Figure 1: To create an AWS instance, click on the Launch Instance button. After clicking the Launch Instance button, a screen will appear asking you to choose an Amazon Machine Image. Another term you should be familiar with is Amazon Machine Image (or AMI). An AMI is a template that you can use to create a virtual machine. Amazon offers Windows AMIs as well as AMIs that can be used with a variety Linux builds. Simply select the AMI you wish to use and click on Select. This article assumes that you are creating a Windows VM.
After you have selected an AMI, you will be asked to choose an instance type. The instance type determines what hardware resources will be available to the instance you create. The instance type, for example, determines how many virtual CPUs and how much memory is allocated to the instance. After you have made your selection, click Next: Configure Instance Details, as shown in Figure 2.
[Click on the image to see a larger view.] Figure 2: Select your instance type. Next, you’ll see the Configure Instance Details screen. This screen is intuitive if you have created VMs with Hyper-V or Microsoft Azure. It will ask you which network you prefer, and whether you would like to join a particular domain. Figure 3 shows the configuration options.
[Click on the image to see a larger view.] Figure 3: The Configure Instance Details screen offers some basic configuration options. Click Next: Add Storage to be taken directly to the Add Storage screen. This screen allows you to set the volume size and storage type. You can also create new volumes.
You will be taken to the Tag Instance screen when you click Next: Tag Instance. This screen doesn’t require you to do anything. It is only used to apply text tags to the instance. These tags can be used to identify or categorize the instance.
Next: Configure Security group and you will be taken directly to the Configure security group screen. Security groups are basically a group of instances that share a common set firewall rules. To create or join a security team, and to set up the group’s firewall rules, you can use the Configure Security group screen.
Click the Review and launch button to be taken to a screen where you can review the configuration options you have selected. If everything looks fine, click on the Launch button. EC2 will display the screen that is arguably the most important in the entire process.
Figure 4 shows that AWS prompts users to create a key pairing. This is an extremely important step because you won’t have the ability to log in to your instance if you don’t create a key pairing. Select the Create a new key pair option.