Running Ubuntu on Amazon EC2 in Sydney, Australia

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Amazon has announced a new AWS region in Sydney, Australia with the name ap-southeast-2.

The official Ubuntu AMI lookup pages (1, 2) don’t seem to be showing the new location yet, but the official Ubuntu AMI query API does seem to be working, so the new ap-southeast-2 Ubuntu AMIs are available for lookup on Alestic.com.

[Update 2012-11-13: Canonical has fixed the primary Ubuntu AMI lookup page and I understand it should remain more up to date going forward, but the other page is still missing ap-southeast-2]

Point and Click

At the top right of most pages on Alestic.com is an “Ubuntu AMIs” section. Simply select the EC2 region from the pulldown (say “ap-southeast-2” for Sydney, Australia) and you will see a list of the official 64-bit Ubuntu AMI ids for the various active Ubuntu releases.

Both EBS boot and instance-store AMI ids are listed, but I recommend you start with EBS boot AMIs.

To launch a listed Ubuntu AMI, simply click on the orange arrow to the right of the AMI id and you will be taken to the EC2 section of the AWS console with the AMI id selected:

Ubuntu AMI ids on Alestic.com

The AWS console walks you through setting up required ssh keys and security groups and even has a point and click way to ssh to your instance, provided you have Java in your browser (I disable that).

Command Line

You can also launch Ubuntu AMIs with the EC2 command line tools. First, make sure you upload your ssh key to the new Sydney, Australia EC2 region using something like:

ec2-import-keypair --region ap-southeast-2 --public-key-file $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa.pub $USER

If you haven’t already, open the ssh port on your default security group:

ec2-authorize --region ap-southeast-2 default -p 22

Then, to launch Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise EBS boot, you would use a command like:

ec2-run-instances --region ap-southeast-2 --key $USER --instance-type t1.micro ami-fb8611c1

where you should always look up and use the most recent AMI id. Make a note of the instance id.

Wait a few seconds for the instance to be assigned an IP address and to start booting, then find out what the IP address was with:

ec2-describe-instances --region ap-southeast-2 <INSTANCEID>

If you ran the instance with your uploaded personal ssh key, you can then access the Ubuntu server using

ssh ubuntu@<IPADDRESS>

where is the public IP address of the instance (does not start with “10.”).

Always remember to terminate your temporary EC2 instances when you are done with them so you don’t keep paying charges:

ec2-terminate-instances --region ap-southeast-2 <INSTANCEID>

Note: The official Ubuntu AMI ids listed on Alestic.com are created, published, and supported by Canonical, an official sponsor of Ubuntu. (Alestic.com/Eric Hammond used to publish community Ubuntu AMIs for EC2 starting in 2007, but that fun job was transferred to Canonical back in 2009.)

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