Introducing the New Console Home in AWS

On January 12, 2022 AWS introduced a new user interface for the management console. Users can now access various services and features from the front page of the console or console home. One can add, remove and reposition the widget tiles to redesign the console look. Some of these widgets support both a quick and thorough summary. 

What will you learn here?

In this post we will discover the new AWS Console Home and specifically we will use the new EC2 launch wizard to provision a new EC2 instance. Let's begin our tour of the new AWS Console Home.

The New AWS Console Home

The new Console Home page

The new console home page contains widgets for various AWS tasks, for example:

Recently visited:  The services you visit or use are aggregated inside the ‘Recently visited’ block.

AWS Health: This widgets shows information related to the AWS infrastructure, account and notifications from AWS resources.

Cost and Usage: The cost incurred for using AWS resources and services etc. are shown here.

Build a Solution: This contains static links for several tasks like launching a VM, building a web app etc.

Trusted Advisor: This widget gives advice conforming to best practices of AWS. 

AWS has made clean provisions to not disturb the working habits of the users and their ongoing workflows, for example if a user feels unusual with the new console home, he can revert back to the legacy console. This can be simply done by pressing the switch ‘Revert to previous Console Home’ under the Actions drop down menu at the top of the home page. 

Launching an EC2 instance 

Let us now turn our attention to the new EC2 launch wizard. To launch an EC2 instance using the new AWS UI console, follow the steps below:

Step 1. Open the new console page after signing into your AWS account.

Step 2. Look for the EC2 service inside the Recently visited widget, If there is no option for EC2 here then use the top search bar. In the search bar, type ‘EC2’ and select the EC2 service from the list.

Navigating to the EC2 dashboard

Step 3. On the EC2 dashboard, search for the ‘Launch instance’ box/tile and click on ‘Launch instance’ drop down menu and select ‘Launch instance’ option.

Launching the EC2 instance

Step 4. We are now on the ‘Launch an instance’ wizard. First enter a name for your instance, for e.g. 'My Web Server’. Optionally, click on ‘Add additional tags’ to organize your instances with tags.

Step 5. In the Application and OS Images (Amazon Machine Image) section, use the search bar to search different OS images or you can select onefrom the list of major OS images from the Quick Start menu. If you are unsure, you can click on the ‘Browse more AMIs’ to see a complete list of available OS images. Here you can apply filters based on categories, publisher of the image, pricing model, type of operating system  and so on.

Step 6. Let us select an Ubuntu Server 22.04 image from the Quick Start menu. Here we can also change the processor architecture.

Selecting the AMI

Step 7. In the following steps, we have an ‘Instance type’ section where we have different instance configurations to select from. For now we have selected the free tier ‘t2.micro’ image.

Selecting instance type.

Step 8. Inside the Key pair box, use your existing key pair or create a new key pair.

Step 9. The Network settings section is already populated with the default values. The ‘Edit’ button on the right can be used to manually customize the settings.

Network settings section

Step 10. The ‘Configure storage’ block is used for setting the storage size and its type.

Configure storage section

Step 11. The Advanced details section has a number of configuration options, for example, here we can set the shutdown behavior and hibernate behavior, set the CloudWatch Monitoring mode etc. Most importantly we will use the User data text box to run a few commands/script to configure our instance at the time of launching it. 

Since we are configuring our instance as a web server, we have used the below script:

#!/bin/bash
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade -y
sudo apt-get install apache2 -y
sudo systemctl restart apache2
sudo chmod 777 -R /var/www/html/
cd /var/www/html/
sudo echo "<h1>This is our test website.</h1>" > index.html

Step 12. On the right side, the summary section shows a basic overview of the instance settings. Using the ‘Number of Instances’ field you can increase the count for the number of instances you want to launch. Now click on the 'Launch instance button on the left bottom side to spin up the web server.

Inserting User data

Here is the screenshot from our web server:

Testing the web server

Conclusion

In this post we have covered a high-level overview of the new AWS Console Home and also saw how to launch an EC2 instance using the new launch interface. The new Console Home is still upgrading to provide a better experience to users and more features are expected to be added in future.

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