Setting Up MySQL on an EC2 AMI

There are many different ways of setting up an EC2 AMI with MySQL, including using any of the pre-configured AMIs supplied by Amazon.

The default Getting Started AMI provided by Amazon uses Fedora Core 4, and you can install MySQL by using yum:

shell> yum install mysql

This installs both the MySQL server and the Perl DBD::mysql driver for the Perl DBI API.

Alternatively, you can use one of the AMIs that include MySQL within the standard installation.

Finally, you can also install a standard version of MySQL downloaded from the MySQL Web site. The installation process and instructions are identical to any other installation of MySQL on Linux. See Chapter 2, Installing and Upgrading MySQL.

The standard configuration for MySQL places the data files in the default location, /var/lib/mysql. The default data directory on an EC2 instance is /mnt (although on the large and extra large instance you can alter this configuration). You must edit /etc/my.cnf to set the datadir option to point to the larger storage area.


The first time you use the main storage location within an EC2 instance it needs to be initialized. The initialization process starts automatically the first time you write to the device. You can start using the device right away, but the write performance of the new device is significantly lower on the initial writes until the initialization process has finished.

To avoid this problem when setting up a new instance, you should start the initialization process before populating your MySQL database. One way to do this is to use dd to write to the file system:

root-shell> dd if=/dev/zero of=initialize bs=1024M count=50

The preceding creates a 50GB on the file system and starts the initialization process. Delete the file once the process has finished.

The initialization process can be time-consuming. On the small instance, initialization takes between two and three hours. For the large and extra large drives, the initialization can be 10 or 20 hours, respectively.

In addition to configuring the correct storage location for your MySQL data files, also consider setting the following other settings in your instance before you save the instance configuration for deployment:

  • Set the MySQL server ID, so that when you use it for replication, the ID information is set correctly.

  • Enabling binary logging, so that replication can be initialized without starting and stopping the server.

  • Set the caching and memory parameters for your storage engines. There are no limitations or restrictions on what storage engines you use in your EC2 environment. Choose a configuration, possibly using one of the standard configurations provided with MySQL appropriate for the instance on which you expect to deploy. The large and extra large instances have RAM that can be dedicated to caching. Be aware that if you choose to install memcached on the servers as part of your application stack you must ensure there is enough memory for both MySQL and memcached.

Once you have configured your AMI with MySQL and the rest of your application stack, save the AMI so that you can deploy and reuse the instance.

Once you have your application stack configured in an AMI, populating your MySQL database with data should be performed by creating a dump of your database using mysqldump, transferring the dump to the EC2 instance, and then reloading the information into the EC2 instance database.

Before using your instance with your application in a production situation, be aware of the limitations of the EC2 instance environment. See Section, “EC2 Instance Limitations”. To begin using your MySQL AMI, consult the notes on deployment. See Section, “Deploying a MySQL Database Using EC2”.

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