@BDub At we have run discourse on a single Amazon Linux AMI EC2 instance behind nginx. When I set it up for testing last summer, it would not run satisfactorily on a t1.micro. It was an m1.small instance until the recent upgrade to an m1.medium. We have run the forum itself, plus the background sidekiq worker for sending emails, plus the database all on the same box for most of its life. We’re currently in the process of moving the DB to a separate box because it was taking up all the disk space!
I configured it myself, installing dependencies, cloning the discourse repo, creating init scripts, etc. It was a bit daunting when I did it, but I know the discourse team continues to make it easier. We just pull the latest working build from discourse master every few weeks.
If one is not experienced deploying ruby apps, or if one wants to avoid maintaining the server actively oneself, I’d highly recommend using that Bitnami instance so that it will just work. Looks slick. Never personally used Bitnami myself, but never heard anything bad.
Hope that helps!