RightScale Eases Developing on Amazon EC2 - Page 2

RightScale also offers various tabs, which I explored before launching the template. The Scripts tab lists all the scripts that will run on this server, including various Ruby on Rails scripts and MySQL and Apache monitoring tools.

The Inputs tab lists several environment variables that this template preconfigures. Remember, programmers are effectively building a server here, so environment variables play a part.

The Xref tab shows an empty list; it will later show the instances where I've deployed this template. Finally, the Revisions tab shows the various revisions RightScale has made to this template.

I clicked on the Launch button on the template page, and instead of Amazon.com's entire cloud crashing due to any mistakes on my part, a message box opened informing me that the template would launch in the default deployment. This box had a second Launch button, which I clicked; a nice message told me it had been added to my deployment. It took me to the Launch Inputs page I looked at earlier, saying the server would launch with this configuration. It took a while to launch.

Each environment variable was listed, and next to it was a text box filled in with the default setting; I could have typed something different to override these, but didn't.

I clicked the third Launch button and glanced out the window in the direction of Cape Canaveral.

This button took me back to my Dashboard, where I saw a list of my deployments, including the one I had just launched. Its state was "Pending," which presumably meant it hadn't actually started yet. Next to the state was a column called IP, then one called Zone, then Runtime, and finally Actions. Actions has a red Terminate button where I can apparently stop the server if I want to.

I didn't see a way to refresh the screen, so I clicked on a link called Servers. There I saw my server again, and this time it said Booting. I refreshed the page, but apparently I didn't have to: I saw a message that it would refresh on its own. Eventually I saw the status, "Running."

Looking at the site

My running server included Ruby on Rails and a blogging platform, which meant it had a Web interface. In fact, the Dashboard showed an address for me:


I clicked on it, holding down Ctrl to open it in a new tab. Firefox couldn't find the server, but I had a pretty good idea why: This was probably a brand-new address, and my local ISP's DNS (Domain Name System) server didn't know about it. But that address looked like it contained an IP address,, so I put that in Firefox. After that, I saw my Mephisto blog page. I knew that was what it was because it said Mephisto on it, and there were no blog entries.

So far, so good. We had a site up and running on a server that was sitting on the Amazon EC2 cloud. I went back to the dashboard. (I wasn't going to mess with the blogging software that was running, since, as far as I was concerned, that was just a demo of the capabilities of the server.)