Leveraging RDS to improve performance in the AWS Free Tier

Amazon-RDS[1]Six months ago, I created a Free tier account and got access to a t2.micro instance at no cost (for a year). My plan was to port my old blog over from Blogger (check), freshen up on my Linux skills (check), and to dip my toe into Lambda and DynamoDB waters (check and check).

errorestablishingadatabaseconnection-180x180[1]As the name implies – a micro instance is SMALL (1 vCPU, 1 GiB RAM). Naturally, a micro instance isn’t the most robust1. I was constantly having Apache crash, or getting the dreaded WordPress database connection error.

Fortunately, the Free tier also comes with 750 hours of RDS. So, following the instructions Pascal Alma’s website, I proceeded to move my WordPress DB instance from EC2 to RDS.

The move was straight forward…. with a few hiccups:

  1. I originally planned to use the AWS Database Migration Service, but had a heck of a time getting the endpoints to connect. After 20 minutes of fooling around, I gave up on DMS and instead used the export/import instructions in Mr Alma’s website.
  2. Security, Security, Security – make sure that you allow communication between your EC2 and RDS servers. I have my EC2 instances in one security group and my RDS instance in another, so I needed to alter the security group inbound rules to allow communication between the server (you’ll need this to both move the data and for ongoing operations).2

A few hours later (and honestly what should have taken 30 mins), I was running my blog against the MySQL database instance in RDS.

My only concern is cost; this blog is a hobby and I not looking forward to paying $100 a year for two t2.micro instances (webserver and DB). Maybe I’ll move the web server to a nano instance… food for thought.

My Favorite Albums: OutKast’s Aquemini

aquemini-558a0696ab9efI spent the summer and fall of 1998 as a college intern at a research facility in Columbus, Ohio. I was at a real crossroads – my grades from the fall of 1997 and the spring of ’98 were not good1. I was focused on all the wrong things, and I was hoping my natural ability would allow me to get by.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, so I made the hard decision to take a semester (Fall 1998) off from school.

Looking back, it was one of the best decisions in my life. I was away from school and away from friends. I was expected to show up to work on time and to be prepared when I showed up. I had to pay my bills on time and budget.

I was able to align my priorities. I started taking better care of myself.

That’s one of the reasons I love Aquemini. It was the soundtrack to that season in my life. I loved jams, I loved the beats, I loved the lyrics. Dre and Big Boi were maturing from  Southernplayalistic… and ATLiens. I was maturing, too. Continue reading “My Favorite Albums: OutKast’s Aquemini”