Use Dedicated Instances

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Notice: "Dedicated instances" is an early access feature, refer to Use Access Control on Engine Yard regarding how to enable this feature.

This documentation is for dedicated instances, which help with HIPAA compliance requirements by providing the option of choosing dedicated hardware for your instances.

Dedicated instances

The 64-bit instance types, available on dedicated hardware in most AWS regions are:

  • General Purpose (M1) Medium, Large, and Extra Large
  • General Purpose (M3) on all supported instance sizes
  • Compute Optimized (C1) all supported instance sizes
  • Compute Optimized (C3) all supported instance sizes
  • Memory Optimized (M2) 2x Extra Large and 4x Extra Large

Notes:

  • There is a special per-hour per-region fee for each region in which you have instances running on dedicated hardware. This fee is in addition to the base instance fees and is $2.40/hour for each region in which you have running dedicated instances.
  • If you require HIPAA compliant environments, you must have Premium or Managed Support and also need to enter into a Business Associates Agreement. Submit a ticket to get started with HIPAA compliance documentation.
  • You might want to contact Engine Yard Support to walk you through the process of establishing a VPC-enabled account. (We are working on making VPC-enabled account information more visible on the UI; until then, Support can help get you started.)

Get started with dedicated instances on Engine Yard

This document describes how to use dedicated instances with Engine Yard.

Prerequisites

  • This article assumes you already have an Engine Yard account. If not, see Sign up for an Engine Yard Account.
  • You must enable "Dedicated Instances" feature via early access control.
  • You must add a new instance to use this feature. You cannot modify an existing instance / volume.
  • You must use 64-bit instances (32-bit instances are not supported).
  • You must have a VPC-enabled account. If you have had an Engine Yard account for a while, you might need to create a new Engine Yard account in order to use the dedicated instances feature in your region. This is because it is part of the AWS default VPC feature set. Check the AWS "default VPC" region release dates or contact Engine Yard Support if you need help. See note, above.

Configure dedicated instances

Important: There is a special per-hour per-region fee for each region in which you have instances running on dedicated hardware. This fee is in addition to the base instance fees and is $2.40/hour for each region in which you have running dedicated instances.

You can configure dedicated instances when you add new instances to a new or existing environment.

Note: We recommend testing in a staging environment before applying changes in a production environment.

To add a new dedicated instance

  1. Ensure that you meet all the prerequisites above.

  2. Add an instance in the usual way.

    See the database docs for more information about adding a database instance to an environment.

  3. Select the appropriate dedicated instance size, which appears with the added "[Dedicated]" in the instance size description.

    DedicatedInstances.png

  4. Click Add to Cluster (or Boot This Configuration, if you are re-booting an existing environment).

    See the related documentation for more information on adding instances to your environment.

    Note: If you are adding a dedicated database instance, you also need to click Apply to update the database.yml file.

Verify dedicated instances

Note: When you are testing in staging, consider the differences between your test and production loads.

To verify dedicated instances

  1. Ensure that instance provisioning worked and the instance is running.

    In general, that is enough of an indication that the dedicated instance is working fine.

  2. Review the Troubleshooting tips below for more information.
  3. If this is a staging environment and you are finished with testing, be sure and stop any dedicated instances to avoid unnecessary charges.
  4. Stop any unneeded dedicated instances to avoid unnecessary charges.

FAQs

You might have these questions about dedicated instances.

Why is the cost of dedicated instances higher than the same instance type, non-dedicated?

Your dedicated instances are reserved exclusively for your app and are your own hardware, within your own Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC).

But I thought all Engine Yard instances were dedicated to my applications' use?

This is terminology chosen by AWS to indicate that the instance you are provisioning ("dedicated instance") is on its own hardware. All Engine Yard provisioned instances are virtual machines that are dedicated to your use only; they are virtual machines and as such may be sharing the same a physical server (hardware) with other virtual machines. AWS dedicated instances mean dedicated hardware.

How secure is it?

Your dedicated instances are contained within a private, isolated virtual network, and are isolated at the hardware level. It is your own non-shared server.

How much does it cost?

See the pricing page for details.

Troubleshooting

This table contains troubleshooting tips related to dedicated instances.

SymptomSolution
No dedicated instances appear in the add-instance drop-down selection list. If you have had an Engine Yard account for a while, you might need to create a new Engine Yard account in order to use the dedicated instances feature in your region. This is because it is part of the AWS default VPC feature set. Check the AWS "default VPC" region release dates or contact Engine Yard Support if you need help. See note, above.
The dedicated instance will not provision in any AZ in the region I selected. Same solution as above.
When I clicked HTTP on the app server, I received a 500 Internal Server Error. If this is the first time provisioning, wait a few minutes and try again.

More information

This table provides other resources related to dedicated instances.

For more information about...See...
Adding an instance to an environment Add Instances to an Environment
Adding a database instance to an environment Add a database replica (slave) to an existing environment

If you have feedback or questions about this page, add a comment below. If you need help, submit a ticket with Engine Yard Support.

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