I have been doing a lot of projects in AWS this year. I have to say that is has been fascinating to watch this service evolve from month to month and year to year. It is pretty awesome to be able to sit at my comfortable desk and build a “virtual data center” without ever having to leave the office.
Seriously! The VPC stuff (Virtual Private Cloud) is great. Truly the equivalent of racking a bunch of physical servers as co-lo at the data center. Private LAN addressing, VPN site tunnels to your office(s), Network ACLs AND Security Groups and so much more. I truly dig it.
There’s been one challenge though: I have been doing this AWS work for a variety of clients – which means I spend a lot of time logging in an out of AWS services using a series of partner URLs and credentials. The web UI is quite functional and all, but logging in and out of various accounts all days gets a bit tedious. And you know a web UI never seems responsive enough when you’re in a hurry.
However, I recently stumbled over ElasticWolf. One tool easily configurable to securely access all of your various AWS profiles. Run it as an app in your OS of choice (Windows, Mac, Linux) or a Firefox add-on:
ElasticWolf is a client-side application for managing Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud resources with an easy-to-use graphical user interface. […]
ElasticWolf is packaged with all necessary tools and utilities to generate and deal with private and public keys and certificates, as well as a Windows ssh client for accessing Linux EC2 instances. In addition, it integrates easily with the AWS command line interface (CLI) tools so that you can use ElasticWolf and the CLI together.
Fascinating project – and, as near as I can tell, completely undocumented. However, after some experimentation I have managed to get this configured to easily allow me to hop from client to client with just the click of a mouse. Lovely
Navigation is via the traditional tree or outline paradigm (click the image to the right for a better view). You can expand the various sections for all the details underneath. For instance, in the attached image I have expanded EC2 Networking and VPC as that’s where I spend much of my time. Oh, speaking of which: It will show your VPC instances under the VPC section which is a nice upgrade over the AWS Web interface
Credentials are all managed via AWS’s IAM module (Identity and Access Management). Go in there and generate a user and capture the Access Keys (save them somewhere safe!) and then jump in ElasticWolf and set up that user under the Credentials and Regions section. Add entries for each client or partner account that you work with and you’re good to go.
I am still exploring all my options with EW but I definitely love it for the convenience when I need to get something done quickly and then jump back to another client. Priceless. If anyone reading this uses it, feel free to pass along tips, tricks or comments in the comments section of this article.