Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Quick Tips on Moving to EC2

I should really spend time documenting all of this, but instead I’ll just do a quick dump:

  1. First you’ll need a “Dynamic DNS” provider. Currently there is no guarantee that your EC2 instance will have the same IP address forever. I chose ChangeIP They have a plan that is $6/year/domain once you’ve listed the first domain at $15.
  2. If you’re already locked into a registrar like http://register.com don’t worry. Just change their DNS settings to point to ns1.changeip.com That’s how I’ve got it setup. register.com is my registrar and changeip.com is my DynDNS.
  3. If you want to do SMTP on your new domain don’t forget to setup MX records for the domain. Otherwise you get “relaying not permitted” errors.
  4. There’s no guarantee that the instance will remain available. It could die at any moment and because it’s a virtual instance it’s more likely to die than even physical hardware. So BACKUPS are essential. I’ve got two scripts one for a full backup and one for incremental backups of e-mail and databases etc. You can use the former to quickly spin up a new instance (which is the instance exactly as is was up to 24 hours ago) and then user the later to recover the most recent changes to e-mail, etc. One caveat about the full backup one… EC2 has a image-size limit of 10GB so if your instance has lots of data this strategy won’t work (not the SMS notification on filesystem size error)
  5. Webmin is great for system administration.
  6. Don’t forget that you need to permission ports in your EC2 instance for everything you wish to have access.
  7. The EC2 Firefox plug-in is great!
  8. I’m using Exim for SMTP/mail… It does a nice job with e-mail aliases and “catch-all” addresses like andy-is-clever@aharbick.com
  9. Exim may solve this, but I don’t know… I’ve got a dozen+ domains on the machine and the e-mail is tied to a user account so aharbick@fivepints.org is the same as aharbick@aharbick.com is the same as… I kinda like that. Though the way that I handle is is with procmail rules to move messages based on the domain they were sent to. Here’s my .procmailrc

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