Saturday, March 28, 2009

Playing with Eclipse and Amazon Web Services

It has almost been a week since Amazon released its AWS Eclipse plug-in, but today was the first time I had the chance to really play with it. While much of its functionality is available through the AWS Managment Console, it is really nice to have the Eclipse views right there in your development tool so that you don't have to leave it. This will enable me to monitor our servers more frequently. You almost tend to forget how much you have running in the cloud sometimes! I really wish that the plug-in would have included the ability to link multiple AWS accounts to a single Eclipse instance as I have several accounts that I need to monitor. Installing the plugin was very easy, but there was a gotcha that took me a couple of minutes to figure out. Once I had everything installed and restarted Eclipse, I immediately went to the EC2 Instances tab. I tried to right click on one of the instances and open a shell to the instance. It did not work. The red X's that you see beside the key pairs in the image below should have clued me in before I tried.

It was missing the private key pair file and therefore could not launch the shell. There was no menu item on this view that would allow me to add the key pair file and the general setup has no indication of being able to add them. To correct the problem, I had to go to the EC2 AMIs tab and attempt to launch an AMI. Once you do this, you are presented with a launch screen and a listing of all of your key pairs. If you have existing key pairs, you can right click on one of them, as shown in the screenshot below, and choose "Select Private Key File..."
This allowed me to choose my private key file and the green check marks appeared in the EC2 Instances view. This allowed me to open a shell right from within that Eclipse view. After that, I was off to the races and everything worked exactly as stated on the AWS Eclipse page.

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