Run Large Language Models with Ollama and AWS Lightsail for Research

Example demonstrating how to run Large Language Models locally or with AWS Lightsail for Research.

AWS Admin
Amazon Employee
Published Nov 8, 2023
Last Modified Jun 25, 2024
I recently taught a prompt engineering workshop at a conference. The venue could not confirm if the WiFi network could meet the requirements of the workshop. Attendees are often frustrated by slow Internet and fail to get the full value of the course. As an instructor, having to find workarounds to infrastructure shortcomings is equally frustrating. I decided to have the attendees run the workshop on their personal computers.
I looked at several options. such as llama.cpp, but choose Ollama for its ease of installation and use, and simple integration. Ollama lets you run large language models (LLMs) on a desktop or laptop computer. Although it is often used to run LLMs on a local computer, it can deployed in the cloud if you don’t have a computer with enough memory, disk space, or a GPU. This article shows you how to run Ollama on Lightsail for Research and get started with generative AI and LLMs.

Run Ollama Locally

Running Ollama locally is the common way to deploy it. On a computer with modest specifications, such as a minimum of 8 gb of RAM, a recent CPU (Intel i7), 10 gb of storage free, and a GPU, you can run a small LLM. Below are instructions for installing Ollama on Linux, macOS, and Windows.

Linux and macOS

  1. Download and install Ollama: https://ollama.ai/download
  2. Open a terminal and start ollama: $ ollama serve
  3. Check to see if it is installed: ollama –version
  4. Choose and pull a large language model from the list of available models. For a local install, use orca-mini which is a smaller LLM: $ ollama pull orca-mini
  5. Run the model in the terminal. ollama run orca-mini


Windows currently does not have a native client, but you can run ollama from a Docker container.
  1. Install Docker using these instructions.
  2. Open a Powershell window as Administrator.
  3. Pull the ollama container image from Docker Hub. Copy and paste this command in the Powershell window: powershell> docker pull ollama/ollama
  4. Start the ollama container. Copy and paste this command in the Powershell window: powershell> docker run -d -v ollama:/root/.ollama -p 11434:11434 —name ollama ollama/ollama
  5. To run a model locally, copy and paste this command in the Powershell window: powershell> docker exec -it ollama ollama run orca-mini
  6. Choose and pull a LLM from the list of available models. For a local install, use orca-mini which is a smaller LLM: powershell> ollama pull orca-mini
  7. Run a model in the Powershell console. powershell> ollama run orca-mini

Running Ollama on AWS Lightsail for Research

Lightsail for Research provides instances designed for compute intensive tasks such as machine learning. Instances are bundled with RStudio, JupyterLab, SciLab, VSCodium, and Ubuntu for installing your own machine learning stack. To get started with Lightsail for Research, use the search bar in the AWS console home page.
Open the Lightsail for Research page
Choose the Ubuntu instance.
Select Ubuntu to create an instance.
LLMs are compute intensive and work with a minimum 16 GB of memory and a GPU. For this example, choose the GPU 2XL plan and name the instance.
Select the GPU 2XL plan
It can take several minutes to launch and initialize the instance. When it is in a Running state, choose Launch Ubuntu to open the desktop interface in a browser window.
Launch the Ubuntu instance
Choose the defaults (Next) for the desktop setup.
Choose Next for the desktop setup
With the desktop setup complete, choose Activities on the top left of the desktop to display the application tool bar.
Choose Activities to display the application tool bar
To display the installed applications, choose the icon on the far right.
Display the installed application by choosing far right icon.
Choose the Terminal icon to open a terminal.
Open a terminal
With a terminal open, install Ollama and download llama2 LLM.
Ollama starts after the install. To use Ollama and llama2 in the terminal, enter the following.
The Ollama client runs in the terminal and you can enter prompts.

Running llama2 in a Jupyter Notebook

Ollama runs as a server whether you are running it locally or on a Lightsail for Research instance. We can use a Jupyter Notebook to connect to llama2 via Ollama and run a prompt program. First, check that you have Python 3.10 installed. If Python 3 is available, install pip-env to create an environment for the project.
Next create a virtual environment and activate it so you can install Python packages.
Install the python packages. We will use langchain to connect to Ollama in this example.
Start a Jupyter notebook.
Jupyter will open a browser window.
Jupyter notebook in a browser window
Choose New, then Notebook.
Open a new notebook
Select Python 3 (ipykernel),
Select Python 3 to open a notebook
In the first cell of the notebook, use the following code to connect to Ollama using langchain and send a prompt. Choose Run in the menu bar on top to execute the program.
Llama2 will return a response to the prompt.
Jupyter notebook with prompt response

Clean Up

Stop and delete the Ubuntu instance when you are finished to avoid additional charges.
Stop and delete the instance when finished


Whether you choose to run Ollama locally or in the cloud with AWS Lightsail for Research, you can try different LLMs to learn about generative AI and prompt engineering. However, Ollama is not limited to just prompts, with langchain you explore other techniques such retrieval-augmented generation (RAG) against live data and extending LLMs to domain specific topics. Ollama lets you build a generative AI playground with a minimum of effort.

Any opinions in this post are those of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of AWS.