Cloud Cadet #4: AD and LDAP services within AWS

Welcome to episode four of Cloud Cadet. Today we are joined by instructor Stephen, and our co-hosts Anthony and Christophe. Stephen will be showing us some content for his course Active Directory and AWS.

This course stems from the need many enterprises have for Active Directory, which allows for credential management. Active Directory is stored on-site, but many need to extend their Active Directory environment to AWS. Today, you will discover the what, why, and how of Active Directory on AWS.

Topics include:

  • Setting up and managing services for AD with AWS solutions
  • Gaining fine-grain control by getting rid of permissions
  • Spinning up VPN instances
  • Looking inside site to site VPN
  • Binding Windows and Linux servers

Stephen first shows us an existing environment he has created by building two separate AWS accounts with separate VPCs. In them, he has spun up VPNs. For more details on how to perform these actions, please see the course itself.

He then uses an already existing AD domain controller located in one of these environments and shows us how to bind a Linux server using an AD credential to the AD environment. Additionally, both AWS accounts are tied together with an openswan VPN.

He walks us through a variety of options for these accounts and on-premise networks. The idea is that regardless of whether it is between various AWS accounts and regions, or an AWS account and on-premise servers, you can certainly have a site to site VPN connection set up. Stephen also explains how to work between various VPCs in different regions.

Stephen moves on to bind a Linux instance into his AD domain. This is done through an EC2 instance setup in AWS, where he sets up a user to use as a Linux credential, versus using local instance authentication. A step-by-step narration of this is also provided within the course.

Stephen then jumps into a Linux instance that he first had to bind with the domain. He joins this particular instance to the domain using a realm command.

We also learn that we have the opportunity only to allow certain users to bind through AD to our server, and have the chance to allow only serving groups in AD to log onto the domain.

This is where some of the power of managing Linux servers comes in, using existing enterprise solutions such as AD.

Thanks for tuning in for this week’s edition of Cloud Cadet. Be sure to stay tuned for all-new episodes coming soon.

Preparing For The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Level Exam

Amazon Web Services has done nothing short of disrupting the traditional data center paradigm. Large corporations to small startups are testing, prototyping, and sometimes flat out converting large scale data centers to Amazon Web Servers. Running applications on Amazon Web Services isn’t exactly the same as running them in traditional hosting environments. In some ways it feels the same and in others it feels, well, incredibly better.

With AWS we can build our applications on top of a scaleable and elastic, fault tolerant infrastructure that helps react automatically to any change in demand for your app. Here is the most common misconception of the cloud, it’s not magical. It doesn’t just “do everything for you”. You still need to build on it, code it, automate it, configure it, network it, and everything else. You just do it differently now. To help prepare organizations and individuals for this process, Amazon recently announced a certificate program called AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Level.

I’ve recently had the opportunity to sit in on this exam and pass it on the first try. Without breaking any NDA’s I agreed to while taking the exam, I’m going to attempt to help you “prepare” for the exam. After reading several other posts on the internet, I notice that they are pushing you disproportionately towards services such as VPC (Virtual Private Cloud). Lets see if we can’t clear a few things up and help you prepare for this exam.



How To Host Static HTML Web Sites With Amazon S3

Sometimes you need to host a static website somewhere. It might be a simple index.HTML page that you can easily redirect servers to in case of downtime for your current site or for simple documentation. How you use it is really up to you. But Amazon S3 now has the ability to “host” static HTML pages. This means that if you provide the link to your .html page the Amazon S3 bucket will think it needs to interpret that as a website and display it accordingly. This behavior is different than it used to be, Amazon would only allow you to download the object and not display it in a web page. Let’s set up an index.html page in our Amazon S3 bucket.



How To Host Your DNS With Amazon Route 53

Learn how to host your DNS with Amazon Route 53. Are you ready to switch your DNS provider to a more stable, less expensive one? I have news for you– you can switch to Amazon Route 53. Amazon Route 53 allows you to host your DNS at a very low cost of $.50 (fifty cents!) per domain per month! And your first million queries are free! So how do you get started?

If you’re not going to manage your own DNS servers using something like BIND DNS server, then a service in the cloud like Amazon Route 53 is probably one of the best ways to do it. Below are some simple steps to get started hosting your own DNS on Amazon Route 53.


Installing Drupal And Linux LAMP Stack On Ubuntu Amazon EC2

In this screencast we are going to start from the very beginning and create our own EC2 cloud hosted Drupal installation. This will allow us to have full control of our Linux server and Drupal installation. We will walk through the process of setting up an Amazon EC2 instance, download and install Apache2, MySQL, PHP5, and phpmyadmin. Using these tools, we can create a Drupal database and host a Drupal website. Finally, we will download and install Drupal to our web server, create a Drupal database, configure the Apache site directory and install our Drupal website. At the end of the screencast we will have a running server and working Drupal website.

How to Backup Linux to Amazon S3 Using s3cmd

S3cmd is a program that allows you to backup your Linux box to Amazon S3. Amazon S3 allows you basically unlimited storage and, as long as you have the bandwidth, you can use it from any location. There are two options in a backup that you can use: you can either copy all the files over to an S3 bucket (called put) or you can use the sync command to sync file changes on a regular basis.



Configuring Apache and Installing WordPress On Linux EC2

If you’ve followed our Amazon Web Services screencasts then you are ready to install WordPress on your Linux server. First, we need to configure Apache2 to point to the correct root directory, download wget, check permissions on the server, create our MySQL databases, and finally install and run the WordPress configuration file. This screencast will help you solve issues you might come across along the way.