Amazon AWS Basics Tutorial: Setting Up a Load-Balanced, Auto-Scaling Webserver

This step-by-step tutorial will show you how to build load-balanced, highly available, self-healing infrastructure on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud.

If you’ve been wondering how to get started with “DevOps,” “Cloud” System Administration, and public cloud providers in general, this is the series for you.

Amazon’s Cloud Services are vast — there are an enormous amount of things you can use:

  • services that replicate traditional Virtual Machines in a datacenter (EC2, RDS, Elasticache)
  • services that give you insane amounts of availability and durability, along with an innovative API (S3 for storage)
  • replacements for other solutions in brand new industries (ECS)
  • plenty of unique services that no one else is offering


If you really want to learn this stuff, you want to start with simple, practical examples that slowly walk you through the huge amount of new concepts that you’ll need to learn. You need something practical that you can use in real life, so that navigating Amazon’s immensely complex graphical user interface becomes second-nature.

Once you’ve got a grasp on the basic concepts and the most important services, we can dive into building more realistic, more complex infrastructure that uses specific AWS features to get the job done.

We’ll also explore the AWS API, which allows you to use a command-line client or bindings for your favorite programming language to work with infrastructure. This is the preferred way that professionals use to interact with AWS.


Video #1: Intro and EC2 Instance Creation

In the first video, you’ll learn the basics of working in the Amazon AWS Console (their graphical user interface) and set up an EC2 instance with a webserver on it. You’ll create your first security group (AWS network firewall rules), set up SSH keys, and connect to your ‘development’ instance for the first time.

Once you’re ready for launch, you’ll learn how to create a new Amazon Machine Image (AMI) from your EC2 instance, which we can use to spin up clones of that instance later on.


Video #2: Auto-Scaling Groups and Launch Configurations

In the second video, I’ll show you how to set up an Auto-Scaling Group (ASG) which uses a Launch Configuration to spin up new EC2 instances (clones of your development instance). We’ll talk a bit about scaling and how you’d set it up in a real project.


Video #3: Tying it together with an Elastic Load Balancer

In the third video, you’ll be setting up an Amazon Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) to balance traffic across the instances in your Auto-Scaling Group. I’ll show you how to add health checks and hook up the Application Load Balancer to your ASG, so it automatically balances across healthy instances in your ASG, even as they’re added and removed.


There’s more coming, so stay tuned!