Monday, September 1, 2014

Amazon AWS free tier: Converting from a t1.micro to t2.micro

Just finished "converting" my t1.micro instance where I run my TT-RSS server to a t2.micro. Recently, I discovered that it was $5 cheaper per month. Doing it was almost not worth the trouble, however. Hopefully this can save you some time.

I quickly discovered that I couldn't even think about spinning up a t2.micro without having a "default vpc" it told me. What I discovered was that I was one of these weird accounts documented here "Your Default VPC and Subnet" where I fell in the 3rd mentioned date range.

Since it was so ambiguous, I wasted quite a bit of time trying to convert my old instance to a t2 using the old volume or at least an image from it.  I seemed to have a default VPC, but it wasn't a real one apparently. Poking at it with the aws cli tools indeed showed me that I couldn't affect the underlying "IsDefault" attribute of the VPC. It was false, and there was no way I was getting it flipped to true. Nor was there any way I could apparently strip the support for "EC2 Classic" mode as they called it.  I fell into that window of time where they were trying to please everyone and it end up being a royal pain.

I ended up following a suggestion in one of the Amazon or Bitnami documentation where I would need to fully deleted my AWS account and everything inside it and started over with a fresh account.

Having finally accepted this inevitability, the process became quite simple.

First, I updated TT-RSS to the latest version and made sure it was working to reduce the possibility of any issues related to my being two version behind.  Then I dumped the database to a local directory on my laptop.  Then I made a backup of the entire htdocs directory where TT-RSS lived, just in case.  Then, I completely burned down my Amazon AWS account and created a new account, including new MFA and API token credentials.

Headed back over to Bitnami, plugged in the new Amazon account details, and told it to create a new TT-RSS instance using a t2.micro instance.  After a few minutes, it was up and running.  So I took a backup of the stock bitnami tt-rss database from mysql, then dropped it.  From my previous TT-RSS dump, the database was actually named differently, so I renamed it in the config.php file for TT-RSS and pointed it to the new db name.  Restarted everything.  Voila.  Logged in with my old creds.  All feeds and settings were in perfect condition.

It's actually noticeably faster as well.  The new SSD volume type definitely makes a difference, not that I was frustrated by its performance beforehand.

Since my initial goal in this was simply to reduce monthly payment from $15 to $10 per month, I was surprised to see that, having created a brand new AWS account (and even though I didn't fudge any of my account details, same address, same cc#, everything), I'm once again eligible for the free tier for the next year.

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