Amazon Lightsail


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In this course we learn to recognize and explain AWS compute and storage fundamentals, and to recognise and explain the family of AWS services relevant to the certified developer exam. This course provides you with snapshots of each service, and covering just what you need to know, gives you a good, high-level starting point for exam preparation. It includes coverage of:


Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS)
Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS)
Amazon Simple Workflow Service (SWF)
Amazon Simple Email Service (SES)
Amazon CloudSearch
Amazon API Gateway
Amazon AppStream
Amazon WorkSpaces
Amazon Data Pipeline
Amazon Kinesis
Amazon OpsWorks
AWS Elastic Beanstalk
Amazon CloudFormation

Storage and database
Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)
Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS)
AWS Relational Database Service (RDS)
Other Database Services
Amazon Glacier

Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2)
Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)
Auto Scaling
Amazon ECS
AWS Lambda

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Hello, and welcome to this short lecture covering Amazon Lightsail. This is another computer service, that in some respect, closely resembles EC2 out of all the other computer resources we have covered in this course so far.

Amazon Lightsail is essentially a Virtual Private Server, a VPS, backed by AWS infrastructure. Much like an EC2 instance, but without as many configurable steps throughout its creation. It has been designed to be simple, quick and very easy to use for small scale use cases by small businesses or for single users.

A Lightsail VPS comprises of the following components and features:

  • the virtual instance itself
  • an operating system
  • optional pre-installed applications
  • Solid State Drives
  • Data Transfer allowance
  • DNS Management
  • and static IP addresses

With its simplicity and small scale uses, it's commonly used to host simple websites, small applications and blogs. You can run multiple Lightsail instances together, allowing them to communicate and it's even possible, if required, to connect it to other AWS resources and to your existing VPC running within AWS via a peering connection.

To deploy a Lightsail instance is easy to do all from a single page with just a few simple configuration options. Amazon Lightsail can be accessed either via the AWS console, under the Compute category, or it can go directly to the home page of Amazon Lightsail, which sits outside of the AWS Management console, found here. If you are not already logged in to your AWS account, at this point you will be prompted to enter your credentials.

To begin creating your instance, select Create Instance, where you can then create your instance all from a single page of options, nice and simple. Pick your instance image, which is mandatory. Here you'll be prompted to either select or install just an operating system, or one of these operating systems, plus a pre-configured application. The current applications listed at the time of writing this course includes the following.

Next, add a Launch Script, which is optional. This can be a shell script, which will run at the time of launch, much like user data for an EC2 instance. Then you can change your SSH Key Pair, which again, is optional. By default, you are provided with a Key Pair to connect to your instance. However, you can select to choose an alternative, if required.

Next, you need to choose your instance plan, which is mandatory. This section defines the resources of your instance and how much you are going to be paying on a monthly basis. The current payment options for the instances are as follows. As you can see, it's very clear, simple and obvious as to what you'll be paying and the resources you will get in return. The instances are charged at on demand prices, so you will only pay for the resource, when you are using them. The dollars per month price is based on having an instance on continuously, which AWS calculates as 31.25 days x 24 hours. Also included in every plan are five static IP addresses and three domain zones per account. They also all include a generous amount of data transfer, which includes both inbound and outbound data transfer of Amazon Lightsail. If you were to go over this included amount, then see the pricing page here for further details.

Next select Availability Zone, which is optional. By default, Amazon Lightsail will pick an AZ for you. However, you can select another, if required within the current supported regions. You then need to name your instance, which again is mandatory. You must provide a unique name for your instance and then click Create and your instance will be created. As you can see, it's very easy and simple to create your Lightsail VPS, compared to the number of different screens and configuration options required, when deploying an EC2 instance.

Once your Amazon Lightsail service is up and running, you then have a number of management and monitoring options, which are clear and easy to use.

  • Connect, this option allows you to connect to your newly-created instance using SSH, either via the inline SSH software, provided either by Lightsail or with your own SSH software, using the Key Pair provided. The instance is given a public IP address to allow you to connect.
  • Metrics, this allows you to view graphical metrics of your instance, such as CPU utilization, network In and Out and status check failures. These graphs can be viewed over a number of different time periods, from one hour through to two weeks.
  • Networking, the Networking tab allows you to view your IP address information, along with a very simple, virtual firewall, allowing you to control which ports your instance can accept connections from.
  • Snapshot, this provides a simple way to back up your instance.
  • History, this provides simple audit information of your instance, such as the date and time the instance was created, or when configuration changes occur.
  • Delete, when you have finished with your instance, this tab allows you to delete your instance, along with any data that was stored on it.

As you can see, Amazon Lightsail provides a lightweight VPS solution for small projects and use cases, which can be deployed quickly in just a few clicks. I think it would be good to get a feel of how quickly it is to launch an instance with Amazon Lightsail, so to finish off this lecture, let me demonstrate this to you.

OK, so this demonstration, we'll just show you how quickly you can set up a Lightsail instance. Like I say, you can access it from within the management console and as you can see, I'm in the management console now and if we look under Compute, we can see Lightsail. Now, it's now taken us to the home screen of the Amazon Lightsail service and very simply, all we need to do is click on Create Instance and now we can launch an instance from this one page, so there's a number of settings on this page and we just need to answer a few questions and then we can create our instance, all from this single page.

So, let's go ahead and do that. And we have two options, operating stystem, which you can see, these are the two available operating systems at the moment, or you can have one of those operating systems, along with an application pre-installed. So for this example, I'm just going to use an operating system and stick with Amazon Linux, so if we scroll down to the next section, we can select our Availability Zone.

I'm going to leave it as us-east-1a, but we can select an alternate zone, if we'd like and then here we can add a Launch Script, which is similar to our user data. For this demonstration, I'm not going to add any information in there and again, we can change an SSH Key Pair. We do get a default Key Pair, that Lightsail will set up for us, you can just use that, or if you'd like, you can have an alternate Key Pair and then you can just upload it there, but I'm just going to keep the default Key Pair for this demonstration.

And then finally, we have our instance plan and depending on what option we go for, we'll get different resources associated, so the more money, the increased resources that you'll get. So I'm going to stick with the cheap version for this demonstration and we get one month free up to 750 hours and then we can just add a name at the end, just called it CloudAcademy and then simply click on Create and it's as simple as that to ceate a very simple Virtual Private Server and there you can see, it's pending, we have the name of CloudAcademy and the resources, that we assigned to it with our selection in Zone A of the Virginia region and here we go, it's up and running.

Now we can select our server and we have a number of options along the top here, that we can use to navigate our instance, the first being Connect, so we can Connect using SSH. It's been given a public IP address with a EC2 username. We can look at the Metrics. So here we can look at CPU utilization, network In and Out, status checks, there's no data available at the minute, because it's only just started running, but you have lots of different time periods here, that you can look at those graphs over. Then we have Networking, and this just shows your private and public IP addresses and you can control which ports, that this instance will accept connections from with a very simple virtual firewall here, kind of similar to security groups on EC2 and then we have our Snapshots, where we can create our backup of this instance. Then we can look at the History and all we have in our instance history at the minute is to show that it was created on which date and time and then we can Delete our instance, which is exactly what I'm going to do now.

So it's a very simple, quick overview of how to create an instance using Amazon Lightsail. Like I say, it's a very simple, one page, a few questions and then you can have your Lightsail instance up and running. But now I'm just going to go ahead and delete the instance and there we go.

That brings us to the end of this lecture. Coming up next, I will provide a summary of the key points and topics, that we've learned throughout this course.

About the Author
Learning Paths

Stuart has been working within the IT industry for two decades covering a huge range of topic areas and technologies, from data center and network infrastructure design, to cloud architecture and implementation.

To date, Stuart has created 150+ courses relating to Cloud reaching over 180,000 students, mostly within the AWS category and with a heavy focus on security and compliance.

Stuart is a member of the AWS Community Builders Program for his contributions towards AWS.

He is AWS certified and accredited in addition to being a published author covering topics across the AWS landscape.

In January 2016 Stuart was awarded ‘Expert of the Year Award 2015’ from Experts Exchange for his knowledge share within cloud services to the community.

Stuart enjoys writing about cloud technologies and you will find many of his articles within our blog pages.