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FOOD FOR THOUGHT AWS EC2 Discontinuance Possible

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by wardmundy, Jan 11, 2014.

  1. wardmundy Nerd Uno

    Just a heads up that our Amazon AWS EC2 experiment is coming to a close. It's just too expensive to maintain downloadable AMIs after Year 1 for the small number of folks using it. And we believe there are better, more cost effective alternatives with services such as RentPBX that also happens to support our project both financially and with technical assistance.

    If you are using AWS EC2 for PBX in a Flash or Incredible PBX AMIs, you will need to clone your instance and become self-sufficient on or before Saturday, January 25. Failure to do so will result in your not being able to use your server after that time. Consult the EC2 documentation for details on the procedure.
    Last edited by wardmundy, Jan 11, 2014
  2. weinerk New Member

    1) Sad to see it go.
    2) Thanks for making it an easy turn up/ tear down testing environment.
    3) I believe this doc with diagram will help those who want to clone it for themselves:
    http://docs.aws.amazon.com/AWSEC2/latest/UserGuide/creating-an-ami-ebs.html

    Summary:
    have an instance based on PIAF AMI
    create image -> produces EBS snapshot
    register image (could be your own, not public) -> produces new AMI
    launch new instance from that image
  3. wardmundy Nerd Uno

    Thanks for the link. Anyone, of course, is free to host their own public PIAF AMI. After all, it's open source. :arabia:
  4. Ian Slinger New Member

    These will be missed. I'm sure they have been very useful to get PIAF going "in a flash" so there is instant gratification for people curious about trying it out.

    I was just about to finish a blog post on our experience using the AMIs to create the PBX we use in our office so I'll include this update.


    Can you elaborate on what you meant by "Failure to do so will result in your not being able to use your server after that time". I wouldn't have thought that the original AMI disappearing would cause a running instance to be affected. Am I missing something?


    I can certainly see that RentPBX would be a good option for US and Canadian users but I suspect they may not work as well latency-wise from Australia. This was part of the reason I used the AMI.

    What were the maintenance costs that you referred to for hosting the AMI? I'd be willing to host the public AMI in order to keep this option open as a quick intro to PIAF and also to provide the additional flexibility AWS offered for hosting.
  5. wardmundy Nerd Uno

    Thanks, @Ian Slinger. Wish I knew what the costs would be but Amazon makes that almost impossible to figure out. All AMI deployments depend upon their original AMI for setup info and I'm not sure what else because Amazon doesn't tell. My bet is it keeps the meter ticking for both the end-user and the provider of the original AMI. If you haven't cloned the AMI that you are using and then run a new AMI from there, then your original will die when ours does. The setup has been documented above by @weinerk. And, yes, we'd love it if you'd like to clone both of the AMIs and host them. Just send me a link and we'll post it. Thanks!
  6. Ian Slinger New Member

    Costs
    In my experience AWS are pretty transparent about pricing and the "pay for what you use" principle seems to be consistent. "Transparent" doesn't always mean "easy to figure out" though, I agree.

    The simplest way to pin down the real costs is to put the AMIs on an otherwise unused account and the cost incurred each day will be clear. I have a spare account that has run for years with no activity and has been billed nothing, so I'll put a clone of the AMIs up there and let you know how the billing works out. I haven't worked with the AWS Marketplace where you have the current AMIs publicised, but I believe listings are free for open source projects.

    My understanding of the costing would be:

    For the person hosting the public AMI:
    • Storage cost for the actual bits of the AMI. For an EBS backed instance this is the cost of the root volume storage at 0.10 per GB-month. Note that empty blocks aren't counted so you are only charged for the actual storage allocated not the maximum volume size, so about 3 to 4 Gb of the 10Gb volume. So at 0.10 per GB-month it should be less than a dollar per month. http://docs.aws.amazon.com/AWSEC2/latest/UserGuide/ComponentsAMIs.html
    For the end user:
    • Running costs for the instance. This depends on instance type but is easy to calculate per hour. The default micro instance is currently $0.020 per Hour or about $15 per month (and would be free for the first 12 months if you qualify)
    • Storage costs for the instance data in EBS. This is currently 0.10 per GB-month.
    • Storage costs for any snapshots of the EBS volume at $0.095 per GB-month.
    Given the default EBS boot volume is only 10Gb I wouldn't expect cost for the end user to be more than $20 per month even with a couple of rolling backups of the instance.

    Effect of Withdrawing the AMI on Running Instances
    Just to be clear, the AMI is just a template for firing up an instance. Once the instance is launched it has no further connection with the AMI and deleting the AMI won't affect it.

    Of course, if you want to go back and launch another base instance you won't be able to do that if the AMI no longer exists, so @wardmundy 's advice is sound: create an AMI of your own.

    I would suggest this as a matter of course anyway. You don't want to have to rebuild your configuration from scratch if there is a problem. Each time I do an update to the system (say the security patches) I create a new AMI and delete the oldest. That way I could recover from a disaster (or a misconfiguration for that matter) by relaunching the latest version.
    wardmundy likes this.
  7. hwdsl2 Guru

    Sad to see it go. The AMIs have been very useful to me. Thank you PIAF team for maintaining them.
    For those of you who want to migrate to another platform, I wrote up a detailed tutorial for installing on existing CentOS 6.5. I hope it will be helpful!
    The instructions can be used on most KVM-based VPS such as DigitalOcean. Technically, you can also use it on EC2 (XEN-based), but I haven't tested it yet.

    Please browse to my tech blog article:
    https://blog.ls20.com/install-pbx-in-a-flash-piaf-on-digitalocean/
    Last edited by hwdsl2, Jan 19, 2014
    wardmundy likes this.
  8. wardmundy Nerd Uno

    Based upon @Ian Slinger comments above, we're going to leave the AMIs in place for a few weeks and monitor the billing. I understood there were access charges for anybody that had built an AMI based upon the original, but I apparently misunderstood. So... we'll see what we see in coming weeks. In the meantime, make yourself a backup so you'll be covered either way.
  9. Ian Slinger New Member

    Thanks @wardmundy, hope it works out. The EC2 solution has been a good "instant gratification" tool for evangelising PIAF so it would be great to have it hanging around.

    Even if it doesn't we still have some options up our sleeve so keep us posted.
  10. Ian Slinger New Member

    wardmundy likes this.
  11. wardmundy Nerd Uno

    Really great article, Ian. Thanks for the writeup.
  12. paulnye Guru

    I have 2 Amzon EC2 PIAF PBX's and they work great. Thinking to the future, suppose I wanted to have an Amzon EC2 PIAF asterisk 12 someday. Is it possible to move a VMware VM to Amazon?
  13. Ian Slinger New Member

    Are you talking about building and testing Asterisk 12 on a local VMWare instance and then migrating that to EC2? It looks like importing VMWare images is supported but I haven't tried this. http://aws.typepad.com/aws/2013/12/vm-import-export-for-linux.html
  14. paulnye Guru

  15. Ian Slinger New Member

  16. jehowe Guru

    Not to stray too far. Is there a proper upgrade method to update the current AWS build with 11.2.1 to the latest? I've attempted the manual path for vanilla asterisk (wget, tar, ./config, make, make install), which not surprisingly failed miserably.
  17. hwdsl2 Guru

    Here's the "official" upgrade script from Ward, see post #15 here. Worked fine in my case.
    http://pbxinaflash.com/community/index.php?threads/piaf-green-upgrade-script.12560/

    Before running I uncommented this line: #make menuconfig
    When prompted by the Asterisk menuconfig, accept the defaults, save and exit, then Asterisk will proceed to compile.
    wardmundy and jehowe like this.
  18. jehowe Guru

    Many thanks hwdsl2, that was just what I was looking for. The script is specific to 11.5.1, but I was easily able to take it to the current (11.7.0) with just a few edits and using the existing menuselect patches.
  19. jchuby New Member

    I love my Amazon ec2 piaf - its been running flawlessly for a while, supporting the 3 devices hooked up to it, allowed my connection when i was travelling internationally (zero lag, amazon must have great connectivity).. etc - sure its not a huge system, but most phone systems i deploy are under 5 users.

    HOWEVER - has there been any consideration to update the Amazon AMI's with the most recent PIAF?
    Im more than happy to host the AMI's if the cost factors in - my total amazon services bill is 8 bucks a month - I think hosting an AMI will cost under 2 bucks.
    1x reserved micro high usage instance + the associated things
    75gb amazon glacier storage (that costs 75c a month)
    15gb amazon s3


    On a side note, has anyone considered hosting their PIAF on Amazon VPC - this seems to have more security controls than regular amazon EC2.
    Its a virtual private cloud- but you can control the internet access from the whole network.

    Great article too!
  20. Ian Slinger New Member

    I'm not sure if there are additional benefits for a single server in a VPC. I'm pretty sure the Security Groups handle all of your requirements in this case i.e. all incoming ports blocked by default except those you nominate.

    If you were using multiple servers (say a separate database server) I could see some benefits in effectively hiding such instances from the public internet.

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