ckan is an open source data-portal platform. Open Oakland hosts a community data portal that runs the ckan software.


Amazon Web Services (EC2)

Read this general overview of the Amazon EC2 service, despite its focus on Ubuntu images, it has a few useful explanations to get you through the cruft. If you want to sort out all the storage vocabulary, check out the top answer to this question.

User Management
User management is confusing with Amazon Web Services, read more about Identity and Access Management, IAM, and good luck!

Here's a slightly out-of-date, but verbose description of making an Amazon Machine Image, AMI, as a backup hosted on Amazon Simple Storage Service, S3. You also may want to refer to this question in sorting out the storage vocabulary (alphabet soup). We've taken an AMI of the first CKAN instance hosted at

There are documented instructions for deploying ckan on EC2. However, the server image (AMI) available in those instructions is (for some reason) limited to Amazon data centers in (west) Europe. this is due to the fact that these AWS region groups are independent of each other and these AMIs are large, so Amazon doesn't want to pay for bandwidth to shift and shimmy these AMIs around the world. However, there is some layer of redundancy within these regions so their transport is reasonable between them. Turns out there's a new feature that resolves this issue:

Amazon Web Services

Dear Amazon Web Services Customer,

We are excited to announce the immediate availability of a new feature: Amazon Machine Image (AMI) Copy. AMI Copy enables you to copy your AMIs across AWS regions, thus making it easier for you to leverage multiple AWS regions and accelerate your geographical expansion and help increase application performance and availability.

To use AMI Copy, simply select the AMI to be copied from within the AWS Management Console, choose the destination region, and start the copy. AMI Copy can also be accessed via the EC2 Command Line Interface or EC2 API as described in the EC2 User Guide. Once the copy is complete, the new AMI can be used to launch new EC2 instances in the destination region.

There are no additional charges for using AMI Copy, but you will be charged to transfer the AMI out of the source region and to store the copied AMI in the destination region.

We recently launched Amazon EBS Snapshot Copy, which enables you to copy EBS Snapshots across AWS regions, and last month we significantly lowered the cost of transferring data between AWS Regions (by 26% to 83%). Together with AMI Copy we hope that these updates make it easier for you to take advantage of the AWS global footprint.


The Amazon Web Services Team

(As a tangent, US-East is apparently the prefered location for services such there is "hella" fiber in Virginia or something, and is probably close to a lot of folks, but of course that depends on your audience). Open Oakland's data portal did not use this AMI at first, implementing from scratch using the installation instructions and existing puppet recipes instead. Soon there will be links to backup AMIs.

2.0 Deployment

We're looking to use 2.0 on Ubuntu 12.04 (fallback to 10.04). We'll be deploying using a bash script or some orchestration script (chef or puppet or something).

Read more about CKAN 2.0 beta and see what needs to be done before it's full release:

Deployment docs for the latest version: Installing on non-standard platforms:

See an example of a Puppet manifest for the older version of CKAN

An nginx config sample: