Visual Composer Getting Started

How to get started with the Visual Composer

This Getting Started guide for the Visual Composer is just that: some simple instructions to check your AWS account is ready, subscribe to the product in the AWS Marketplace, launch it into your AWS account, visually compose your first blueprint and export your first CloudFormation template.

If you follow this short guide to getting started with the Cloudsoft Visual Composer it will take you about 10-15 minutes to visually create your first AWS CloudFormation template file.

This guide is not a full guide to all aspects of the Visual Composer. Other guides will be available to cover specific use cases such as using Visual Composer to publish to the AWS Service Catalog.

We would love to hear FEEDBACK from you on this guide, the process and the Visual Composer product - anything that can help us help you better. Thank you!


There are only five steps to get started with Visual Composer:

  1. Preparation: Make sure you have an AWS account available to deploy the Visual Composer to and you have the permissions to use the AWS Marketplace.
  2. Subscribe & Launch: Get the product from the AWS Marketplace running in your AWS account.
  3. Access the Visual Composer: Get the public IP and Instance ID from EC2 and access your Visual Composer.
  4. Visually Compose your Blueprint: Use the graphical UI to create a simple Visual Composer blueprint.
  5. Export CloudFormation: Export your blueprint into valid AWS CloudFormation.

The exported CloudFormation template can now be imported into your AWS account using the CloudFormation service. This step isn’t covered by the Getting Started guide but will be covered in a separate tutorial, as will exporting to AWS Service Catalog.

Step 1 - Preparation

Goal: Confirm you have a working AWS account.

Log onto the AWS console using a browser to confirm you have a working AWS account.

Check that you have an EC2 Keypair to use for administering the Visual Composer EC2 instance - this will be asked for in the Launch process.

Log on to the AWS Marketplace and check that your AWS IAM account is correct in the top-right corner of the screen.

Step 2 - Subscribe & Launch

Goal: Deploy the Visual Composer AMI to your AWS account.

Go to the Visual Composer in the AWS Marketplace.

Click the Subscribe yellow button in the top-right.

Review the screen, then click Continue to Configuration.

On the Configure this Software screen, only change the Region to one you prefer.

Click Continue to Launch.

On the Launch this Software screen, keep the defaults unless you know which settings to change. Some users choose a specific Region, VPC and other settings unique to their environment. Other users with simple AWS accounts for testing just keep the defaults.

Click Launch.

If successful, you will see the following screen.

Did you get an error? Sometimes there are no available t3 instances in the subnet (AZ) that you chose. Pick a different subnet that lives in a different AZ and try again.

Step 3 - Access the Visual Composer

Goal: Log on to the Visual Composer.

To log on to the Visual Composer you need to discover its public IP address and the Instance ID via the AWS EC2 Console.

Open a browser to http://publicIP/instance-id - such as to get the Visual Composer logon pop-up.

Don’t see the logon pop-up? Check your EC2 Security Group in the AWS Console so that it allows inbound HTTP (it’s recommended that you limit the Source IP to “My IP”).

Enter the username as admin and the password is the Instance ID of the Visual Composer EC2 instance from above. Then you will see the Visual Composer homepage with four tiles.

Step 4 - Visually Compose your Blueprint

Goal: Create a Visual Composer blueprint with one EC2 Instance.

Click the CFN Composer tile to open the Visual Composer palette (left) and canvas (right).

Click the New Application object on the canvas, then click where it says Unnamed Application in the palette ont he left, and rename your application to “1st Composition” or something you prefer.

Hover your mouse over the “1st Composition” object on the canvas and then click the green plus sign that extends from the bottom of it.

On the left-side palette, type “ec2” into the Search box. You don’t have to press Return/Enter.

In the palette icons, find the AWS EC2 Instance icon, and hover over the icon and the “i” information to read about this kind of object.

Hovering over the AWS EC2 instance icon so that the mouse pointer is a green plus sign, click the icon.

Note that the palette is updated to show the configuration for the AWS EC2 Instance. Note that there is a red circle with the number two, showing that two pieces of information are required to complete the default configuration.

Complete the configuration of the EC2 instance in the palette by adding the Image ID and Instance Type:

  1. Image ID: ami-04681a1dbd79675a5
  2. Instance Type: t2.micro

To see the text version of the Blueprint, click the toggle-arrows to the right of Graphical Editor to see the text YAML version of the Blueprint.

Step 5 - Export your CloudFormation Template

Goal: Create a CloudFormation template in YAML format.

On the bottom-right of the Visual Composer canvas, click the green Export CFN button.

A file will be downloaded to your client device as “template-{number}.yaml”.

Next Steps

The next logical step is to use the AWS CloudFormation service to import your template and deploy your cloud resources. This will be covered in a separate tutorial.

We'd love to hear FEEDBACK from you on any topic related to Visual Composer. Thank you!

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