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Connecting Amazon EC2 from Chromebook

By December 7, 2012IT Stuffs

As a Black Friday gift to myself, I bought a Google Chromebook from amazon.com, figure I can’t go wrong with a laptop that’s $329 with FREE 2 years 100MB Verizon 3G data per month.  So far my experience with Chromebook is pretty positive.  I am happy that I returned MS-Surface (Windows RT) and made a good investment with a gadget like this.

More Chromebook related blog to come, but today I would like to show people how I made Chromebook works with Amazon EC2 access.  If you use Amazon AWS services, you know you need to use the PEM key to access your EC2 instance.  It is not that straight forward when using a Chromebook, but I found 2 ways to make this work.

Using CROSH

First, we need to download your key to your Chromebook.  The easiest way to do this is to copy your key to your Google Drive, and then use your Chromebook to access your Google Drive to download the key.  IMPORTANT: don’t know why but Chromebook does not like the .pem extension.  If your key file is called “mykey.pem”, please rename it to “mykey” before you uploaded your key to the Google Drive.

Now on your Chromebook, press Ctrl + Alt + t to open a chrosh screen.  Once it is opened, type the followings to access your EC2 instance:

  • ssh
  • user ubuntu
  • host zzz.xxx.amazom.com
  • key mykey
  • connect

Using Secure Shell (DEV)

There is a popular SSH software on the Chrome Store called “secure shell”.  However, it does not work with the new Chromebook.  What you need to do is to go to this URL to download the “Secure Shell (DEV)” software.  https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/secure-shell-dev/okddffdblfhhnmhodogpojmfkjmhinfp

Secure Shell software needs a public key associated with your EC2 key.  If your Chromebook is not in the developer mode, you need to create a public key on your other system.  The command is

ssh-keygen -y -f mykey > mykey.pub

Once mykey.pub is created, upload it to your Google Drive and then download it to your Chomebook.

Now, start your “Secure Shell Dev” app and then enter “ubuntu@zzz,yyy.amazon.com” as your connection string.  In the Identity field, please click on “Import…” button and then choose both “mykey” and “mykey.pub” files.  Press the “enter” to connect to your EC2 instance.

Cool thing about Secure Shell Dev is that you can bookmark the page so you don’t have to go through all these steps again to access your EC2 instance next time.

That’s all.  Happy Chromebooking.

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