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Plone quick-start: easily evaluate Plone using Amazon EC2

September 28, 2010

Plone 4 is undoubtedly one of the best open source content management systems out there, and it’s also very easy to download and install. However, there are times when you just need a quick evaluation or have to set up a test or demo site that people at different locations can use. In those cases, our Plone quick-start instances may be just what you need.

To quickly and painlessly get your own Plone site, you’ll need an Amazon Web Services account. Running your Plone site there is not free but it’s comparatively cheap and the set up cost is zero. We have prepared a couple of fully featured Plone Amazon Machine Images (AMIs), so all you need to do is fill out this form to add the Plone image that you want to use to your AWS account. You can be up and running in minutes.

What is included with the Plone quick-start AMI:

  • Latest stable releases of Plone: 4.0 or 3.3.5
  • Apache is configured to proxy to Varnish for caching
  • Varnish is configured to proxy to Zope
  • CacheFu is included (Products.CacheSetup for Plone 3.3.5, for Plone 4.0)
  • Supervisor is used to start/stop the Zope instance
  • Backups of the Data.fs file are run daily (incremental) and weekly (full)
  • ZODB packing prior to backups
  • Logfile rotation of Zope logs
  • Start/stop the instance and only pay Amazon while the instance is running. Stop the instance and not lose your data.
  • Full SSH access to the server using your keypair for further configuration and customization

Note that at the moment we only have set up the Plone AMIs for the US East region. If you are interested in having them available for other regions, please leave a comment on this post. We’ll consider adding other regions if there’s enough interest.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Rob Cecil permalink
    September 28, 2010 10:14 pm

    Hi, I’m a designer/webmaster for two clients in Colorado, small deployments, But it would be great to have this integrated option.

    This is GREAT!

    I’m currently using a couple of Linode VPS nodes, and managing all the Zope/Plone/Ubuntu details myself (security, backups, etc).


    • September 30, 2010 3:59 am

      Thanks for the feedback Rob! Please try it out and let us know how it works for you. Note that the AMI is provided “as is” and does not include any ongoing security updates or guaranteed backups.

      We do plan on releasing new versions of the AMI to coincide with new releases of Plone, but you are on your own when it comes to monitoring the backups and updating Linux OS packages.

  2. September 29, 2010 4:40 am

    Is the AMI based on the Ubuntu AMI? Just out of curiosity. If so, I might forward the announcement to the Ubuntu cloud mailing lists.

    • September 29, 2010 4:58 am

      Hi Sidnei – Yes, the AMI is based on the official Ubuntu Lucid AMI from Canonical. It would be great if you can let the folks on the Ubuntu cloud mailing lists know about it!

  3. September 29, 2010 12:12 pm

    This sounds great Nate, i’m looking at setting up a plone extranet for a client of mine, and hosting it on EC2 sounds ideal – this shouldn’t matter too much that we are UK based should it?

    Ideally also, i’d like it running over SSL – I take it this would still be a manual job to get this configured using my own domain, or is there some sort of shortcut to achieve this as a subdomain of a another domain somehow (i’m not much of a sysadmin!)

    • September 30, 2010 3:53 am

      You can use the us-east AMI but you’d get better latency if we made an AMI for the EU region.
      We haven’t added SSL because that’s a more involved process and requires a unique SSL certificate per machine, but by following the instructions on the documentation area, it should be fairly straightforward to get set up.

  4. Cris permalink
    September 29, 2010 4:05 pm

    Thanks so much for this, Nate. It will be a great addition to the arsenal.

  5. Tyler permalink
    January 11, 2011 11:06 pm

    This look great and I would love to try it! How hard would it be for me to try on for us-west?

    • carlosdelaguardia permalink
      January 20, 2011 8:35 pm

      We now have AMIs for all four regions. Just sign up and select the us-west region.

  6. July 5, 2012 1:45 pm

    Hi – great work in putting this together for us simpletons looking to use Plone on a distributive platform. I am based in the UK and want to deploy Plone on Ubuntu and currently struggling with the right and cost effective hosting provider


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