14 Jul 2012

ZPanelX AMI build for AWS EC2

I'm a huge ZPanel advocate. Cirronix use ZPv6 ourselves and include it as our supported hosting server of choice for clients, as such it was quite exciting to find time to evaluate the latest release - ZPanelX. The initial installation instructions were quite lengthy so I'd held off until an official script was released for Ubuntu 12.04LTS. According to the ZPanel team the new version is a complete rewrite with several new features and a slicker codebase, so, let's take a look, see how easily it drops on to an AWS EC2 instance and evaluate what's needed for AMI replication.

Prerequisites for an EC2 instance are nothing special, just use an elastic IP (EIP) and ensure the hostname is set to the EC2 DNS (for the EIP). When you're good to go you can find the page advisory and link to the script HERE. The ZP guys are still ironing out a few bugs (listed on GitHub HERE) however they've done a sterling job as the script is superb and just from the installation alone you can tell ZPX is a more polished product (not that ZP6 wasn't).

On completion log in via the provided URL with the supplied details..

Fig:1 - ZPX Control panel login window.

The ZP Admin panel layout will be familiar to ZP6 users but offers several enhancements across operation and services. For example ZPX now includes a DNS module, a most useful option for those who need it, and although we still prefer to manage DNS for EC2 instances through AWS Route53 the ZPX DNS (and any other modules) can easily be disabled via the comprehensive new admin panel utility.

Fig:2 - ZPX Module Admin.

Another nice touch is the ability to override Apache vHost settings in order to facilitate SSL for HTTPS, a former 'back end' operation requiring manual config outside of ZPanel admin under version 6.

I'm not going to go into the ins and outs of domain config, email testing and general operation as core for this post was to see how ZPX took to EC2. Installation is a breeze (if you are aware of, take note of and amend the script bugs before running it) and once running it's an easy phpmyadmin fix to get MySQL access functioning for newly created DB users (just log in as the actual OS system root and remove the privilege entries in red). Then, once you're happy with your running instance take an AMI or snapshot the EBS volume for relaunch.

Easy re-config for a new 'relaunched' EC2 instance (from the AMI or w.h.y) include obvious amendments for the hostname (to match the new instance AWS name) and configuring all other IP and hostname related entries accordingly (i.e myhost and mydomain in the ZPanel postfix main.cf). The new EIP entry can be altered through the ZPX admin panel which you access using the either the new EIP or new EC2 public DNS at /zpanel, you can also (if you wish) create a Route53 A record to the EIP which gives a nicer access URL.

We had no success for creating a re-launchable pre-built ZP6 EC2 AMI so needless to say we're super happy ZPX accommodates and will be carrying out further R&D to verify redeployment and system (OS) updating procedure. So far so good though, very impressed

If you are interested in self hosting, would like assistance with a ZPX installation, or any other aspects of cloud deployment and related AWS management why not visit our main website or get in touch?. Cirronix specialise in AWS virtual systems new build, integration and migrations and would be happy to hear from you no matter how big (or small) your requirement.


Mark said...

With this setup can you have multiple ssl for several customers on same elastic ip?

RichBos said...

Hi Mark, i haven't tested that, but it's just nice having the SSL config 'up front' (so to speak). Something worth looking at though.

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