The Amazon Web Services Management Console is SIGNIFICANTLY easier to use than the command line applications one must use to manage an EC2 instance. I had puzzled out all the commands and got things working. Tonight, I stumbled across the AWS Management Console: https://console.aws.amazon.com/ec2/. It’s a nice, point and click interface to setup an Amazon Machine Instance (AMI), bundle that instance into a bucket, figure out connection credentials, setup common security groups, etc. The interface has the advantage of telling me exactly how far along the system has gone with each step. This was particularly nice when bundling my AMI. Without the feedback, I wouldn’t have known what was going on for the 20 or so minutes where the instance was paused and packaged. The service even handles storing the image in your S3 account.
I also had to install IIS tonight. The console made it easy to create a volume based on the Windows CD from the list of already stored volumes and attach that volume to my running instance. For something that looked tough, the tool made things easy (ok easier).
For what it’s worth, if you are building Web Applications, AWS EC2 has the hands down WORST initial deployment experience (things get a lot better once the VM is up and running). Azure takes about 15 minutes from build to first deployment. App Engine takes about 2 minutes.