Q: What is Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2)?

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers.

Q: What can I do with Amazon EC2?

Just as Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) enables storage in the cloud, Amazon EC2 enables “compute” in the cloud. Amazon EC2’s simple web service interface allows you to obtain and configure capacity with minimal friction. It provides you with complete control of your computing resources and lets you run on Amazon’s proven computing environment. Amazon EC2 reduces the time required to obtain and boot new server instances to minutes, allowing you to quickly scale capacity, both up and down, as your computing requirements change. Amazon EC2 changes the economics of computing by allowing you to pay only for capacity that you actually use.

Q: How can I get started with Amazon EC2?

To sign up for Amazon EC2, click the “Sign up for This Web Service” button on the Amazon EC2 detail page. You must have an Amazon Web Services account to access this service; if you do not already have one, you will be prompted to create one when you begin the Amazon EC2 sign-up process. After signing up, please refer to the Amazon EC2 documentation, which includes our Getting Started Guide.

Q: Why am I asked to verify my phone number when signing up for Amazon EC2?

Amazon EC2 registration requires you to have a valid phone number and email address on file with AWS in case we ever need to contact you. Verifying your phone number takes only a couple of minutes and involves receiving a phone call during the registration process and entering a PIN number using the phone key pad.

Q: What can developers now do that they could not before?

Until now, small developers did not have the capital to acquire massive compute resources and insure they had the capacity they needed to handle unexpected spikes in load. Amazon EC2 enables any developer to leverage Amazon’s own benefits of massive scale with no up-front investment or performance compromises. Developers are now free to innovate knowing that no matter how successful their businesses become, it will be inexpensive and simple to ensure they have the compute capacity they need to meet their business requirements.

The “Elastic” nature of the service allows developers to instantly scale to meet spikes in traffic or demand. When computing requirements unexpectedly change (up or down), Amazon EC2 can instantly respond, meaning that developers have the ability to control how many resources are in use at any given point in time. In contrast, traditional hosting services generally provide a fixed number of resources for a fixed amount of time, meaning that users have a limited ability to easily respond when their usage is rapidly changing, unpredictable, or is known to experience large peaks at various intervals.

Q: How do I run systems in the Amazon EC2 environment?

Once you have set up your account and select or create your AMIs, you are ready to boot your instance. You can start your AMI on any number of On-Demand Instances by calling the RunInstances API. You simply need to state how many instances you wish to start. If you wish to run more than 20 On-Demand Instances, complete the Amazon EC2 instance request form.

If Amazon EC2 is able to fulfill your request, RunInstances will return success, and we will start setting up your instances. You can check on the status of your instances using the DescribeInstances API call. You can also programmatically terminate any number of your instances using the TerminateInstances API call.

If you have a running instance using an Amazon EBS boot partition, you can also call the StopInstances API to release the compute resources but preserve the data on the boot partition. You can call the StartInstances API when you are ready to restart the associated instance with the Amazon EBS boot partition.

In addition, you have the option to use Spot Instances to reduce your computing costs when you have flexibility in when your applications can run. Read more about Spot Instances for a more detailed explanation on how Spot Instances work.

If you prefer, you can also perform all these actions from the AWS Management Console or through the command line using our command line tools, which have been implemented with this web service API.

Q: What is the difference between using the local instance store and Amazon Elastic Block storage (Amazon EBS) for the root device?

When you launch your Amazon EC2 instances you have the ability to store your root device data on Amazon EBS or the local instance store. By using Amazon EBS, data on the root device will persist independently from the lifetime of the instance. This enables you to stop and restart the instance at a subsequent time, which similar to shutting down your laptop and restarting it when you need it again.

Alternatively, the local instance store only persists during the life of the instance. This is an inexpensive way to launch instances where data is not stored to the root device. For example, some customers use this option to run large web sites where each instance is a clone to handle web traffic.

Q: How quickly will systems be running?

It typically takes less than 10 minutes from the issue of the RunInstances call to the point where all requested instances begin their boot sequences. This time is dependant on a number of factors including: the size of your AMI, the number of instances you are launching, and how recently you have launched that AMI. Images launched for the first time may take slightly longer to boot.

Q: How do I load and store my systems with Amazon EC2?

Amazon EC2 allows you to set up and configure everything about your instances from your operating system up to your applications. An Amazon Machine Image (AMI) is simply a packaged-up environment that includes all the necessary bits to set up and boot your instance. Your AMIs are your unit of deployment. You might have just one AMI or you might compose your system out of several building block AMIs (e.g., webservers, appservers, and databases). Amazon EC2 provides a number of tools to make creating an AMI easy. Once you create a custom AMI, you will need to bundle it. If you are bundling an image with a root device backed by Amazon EBS, you can simply use the bundle command in the AWS Management Console. If you are bundling an image with a boot partition on the instance store, then you will need to use the AMI Tools to upload it to Amazon S3. Amazon EC2 uses Amazon EBS and Amazon S3 to provide reliable, scalable storage of your AMIs so that we can boot them when you ask us to do so.

Or, if you want, you don’t have to set up your own AMI from scratch. You can choose from a number of globally available AMIs that provide useful instances. For example, if you just want a simple Linux server, you can choose one of the standard Linux distribution AMIs.

Q: How do I access my systems?

The RunInstances call that initiates execution of your application stack will return a set of DNS names, one for each system that is being booted. This name can be used to access the system exactly as you would if it were in your own data center. You own that machine while your operating system stack is executing on it.

Q: Is Amazon EC2 used in conjunction with Amazon S3?

Yes, Amazon EC2 is used jointly with Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for instances with root devices backed by local instance storage. By using Amazon S3, developers have access to the same highly scalable, reliable, fast, inexpensive data storage infrastructure that Amazon uses to run its own global network of web sites. In order to execute systems in the Amazon EC2 environment, developers use the tools provided to load their Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) into Amazon S3 and to move them between Amazon S3 and Amazon EC2. See "How do I load and store my systems with Amazon EC2?" for more information about AMIs.

We expect developers to find the combination of Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3 to be very useful. Amazon EC2 provides cheap, scalable compute in the cloud while Amazon S3 allows users to store their data reliably.

Q: How many instances can I run in Amazon EC2?

You are limited to running up to 20 On-Demand Instances, purchasing 20 Reserved Instances, and requesting 5 Spot Instances per region. New AWS accounts may start with limits that are lower than the limits described here. Certain instance types are further limited per region as follows:

Instance Type On-Demand Limit
Reserved Limit Spot Limit
cg1.4xlarge 2 20 5
hi1.4xlarge 2 20 5
hs1.8xlarge 2 20 Not offered
cr1.8xlarge 2 20 5
g2.2xlarge 5 20 5
r3.4xlarge 10 20 5
r3.8xlarge 5 20 5
i2.xlarge 8 20 Not offered
i2.2xlarge 8 20 Not offered
i2.4xlarge 4 20 Not offered
i2.8xlarge 2 20 Not offered
All Other Instance Types 20 20 5

Note that cc2.8xlarge, cg1.4xlarge, g2.2xlarge, hi1.4xlarge, hs1.8xlarge, cr1.8xlarge, and I2 instances are not available in all regions.

If you need more instances, complete the Amazon EC2 instance request form with your use case and your instance increase will be considered. Limit increases are tied to the region they were requested for.

Q: Are there any limitations in sending email from EC2 instances?

Yes. In order to maintain the quality of EC2 addresses for sending email, we enforce default limits on the amount of email that can be sent from EC2 accounts. If you wish to send larger amounts of email from EC2, you can apply to have these limits removed from your account by filling out this form.

Q: How quickly can I scale my capacity both up and down?

Amazon EC2 provides a truly elastic computing environment. Amazon EC2 enables you to increase or decrease capacity within minutes, not hours or days. You can commission one, hundreds or even thousands of server instances simultaneously. When you need more instances, you simply call RunInstances, and Amazon EC2 will typically set up your new instances in a matter of minutes. Of course, because this is all controlled with web service APIs, your application can automatically scale itself up and down depending on its needs.

Q: What operating system environments are supported?

Amazon EC2 currently supports a variety of operating systems including: RedHat Linux, Windows Server, SuSE Linux, Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, Cent OS, Gentoo Linux, Oracle Linux, and FreeBSD. We are looking for ways to expand it to other platforms in future releases.

Q: Does Amazon EC2 use ECC memory?

In our experience, ECC memory is necessary for server infrastructure, and all the hardware underlying Amazon EC2 uses ECC memory.

Q: How is this service different than a plain hosting service?

Traditional hosting services generally provide a pre-configured resource for a fixed amount of time and at a predetermined cost. Amazon EC2 differs fundamentally in the flexibility, control and significant cost savings it offers developers, allowing them to treat Amazon EC2 as their own personal data center with the benefit of Amazon.com’s robust infrastructure.

When computing requirements unexpectedly change (up or down), Amazon EC2 can instantly respond, meaning that developers have the ability to control how many resources are in use at any given point in time. In contrast, traditional hosting services generally provide a fixed number of resources for a fixed amount of time, meaning that users have a limited ability to easily respond when their usage is rapidly changing, unpredictable, or is known to experience large peaks at various intervals.

Secondly, many hosting services don’t provide full control over the compute resources being provided. Using Amazon EC2, developers can choose not only to initiate or shut down instances at any time, they can completely customize the configuration of their instances to suit their needs – and change it at any time. Most hosting services cater more towards groups of users with similar system requirements, and so offer limited ability to change these.

Finally, with Amazon EC2, developers enjoy the benefit of paying only for their actual resource consumption – and at very low rates. Most hosting services require users to pay a fixed, up-front fee irrespective of their actual computing power used, and so users risk overbuying resources to compensate for the inability to quickly scale up resources within a short time frame.


Q: How will I be charged and billed for my use of Amazon EC2?

You pay only for what you use and there is no minimum fee. Pricing is per instance-hour consumed for each instance type. Partial instance-hours consumed are billed as full hours. There is no Data Transfer charge between two Amazon Web Services within the same region (i.e. between Amazon EC2 US West and another AWS service in the US West). Data transferred between AWS services in different regions will be charged as Internet Data Transfer on both sides of the transfer. Usage for other Amazon Web Services is billed separately from Amazon EC2.

For EC2 pricing information, please visit the pricing section on the EC2 detail page.

Q: When does billing of my Amazon EC2 systems begin and end?

Billing commences when Amazon EC2 initiates the boot sequence of an AMI instance. Billing ends when the instance terminates, which could occur through a web services command, by running “shutdown -h”, or through instance failure.

Q: What defines billable EC2 instance-hours?

Instance-hours are billed for any time your instances are in a “running” state. If you no longer wish to be charged for your instance, you must "stop" or "terminate" the instance to avoid being billed for additional instance-hours. Billing starts when an instance transitions into the running state.

Q: If I have two instances in different availability zones, how will I be charged for regional data transfer?

Each instance is charged for its data in and data out. Therefore, if data is transferred between these two instances, it is charged out for the first instance and in for the second instance.

Q. If I have two instances in different regions, how will I be charged for data transfer?

Each instance is charged for its data in and data out at Internet Data Transfer rates. Therefore, if data is transferred between these two instances, it is charged at Internet Data Transfer Out for the first instance and at Internet Data Transfer In for the second instance.

Q: Do your prices include taxes?

Except as otherwise noted, our prices are exclusive of applicable taxes and duties, including VAT and applicable sales tax. For customers with a Japanese billing address, use of the Asia Pacific (Tokyo) Region is subject to Japanese Consumption Tax. Learn more.


Q: What kind of hardware will my application stack run on?

Your application will execute on a virtual computer that we call an instance. You have the choice of several instance types, allowing you to select a configuration of memory, CPU, and instance storage that is optimal for your application. To find out more about Amazon EC2 instance types and their applicability, please visit the Amazon EC2 instance types detail page.

Q: How do I select the right instance type?

Amazon EC2 instances are grouped into 10 families: first and second generation Standard instances, High-Memory, High-CPU, Cluster Compute, Cluster GPU, High I/O, High Storage, High Memory Cluster, and t1.micro. Standard Instances have memory to CPU ratios suitable for most general purpose applications; second generation Standard instances provide higher absolute CPU performance for CPU intensive applications; High-Memory instances offer larger memory sizes for memory-intensive applications, including database and memory caching applications; and High-CPU instances have proportionally more CPU resources than memory (RAM) and are well suited for scale out compute-intensive applications. Cluster Compute Instances provide a very large amount of computational power coupled with a high performance network making them ideal for High Performance Compute (HPC) applications and other demanding network-bound applications; Cluster GPU instances take advantage of the parallel processing capabilities of NVIDIA Tesla GPUs for high performance parallel computing; High I/O instances provide very high, low latency, I/O capacity using SSD-based local instance storage for I/O-intensive applications; High Storage instances provide high storage density and sequential I/O performance for data warehousing, Hadoop and other data-intensive applications; and High Memory Cluster instances provide high amounts of CPU and memory in addition to network performance for memory-intensive analytics and scientific computing.. t1.micro instances provide a small amount of CPU with the ability to burst to higher amounts for brief periods. When choosing instance types, you should consider the characteristics of your application with regards to resource utilization and select the optimal instance family and size.

One of the advantages of EC2 is that you pay by the instance hour, which makes it convenient and inexpensive to test the performance of your application on different instance families and types. One good way to determine the most appropriate instance family and instance type is to launch test instances and benchmark your application.

Q: M1 and M3 Standard instances have the same ratio of CPU and memory. When should I use one instance over the other?

M3 instances provide better, more consistent performance that M1 instances for most use-cases.  M3 instances also offer SSD-based instance storage that delivers higher I/O performance. M3 instances are also less expensive than M1 instances. Due to these reasons, we recommend M3 for applications that require general purpose instances with a balance of compute, memory, and network resources. However, if you need more disk storage than what is provided in M3 instances, you may still find M1 instances useful for running your applications.

Q: What is a “EC2 Compute Unit” and why did you introduce it?

Transitioning to a utility computing model fundamentally changes how developers have been trained to think about CPU resources. Instead of purchasing or leasing a particular processor to use for several months or years, you are renting capacity by the hour. Because Amazon EC2 is built on commodity hardware, over time there may be several different types of physical hardware underlying EC2 instances. Our goal is to provide a consistent amount of CPU capacity no matter what the actual underlying hardware.

Amazon EC2 uses a variety of measures to provide each instance with a consistent and predictable amount of CPU capacity. In order to make it easy for developers to compare CPU capacity between different instance types, we have defined an Amazon EC2 Compute Unit. The amount of CPU that is allocated to a particular instance is expressed in terms of these EC2 Compute Units. We use several benchmarks and tests to manage the consistency and predictability of the performance from an EC2 Compute Unit. The EC2 Compute Unit (ECU) provides the relative measure of the integer processing power of an Amazon EC2 instance. Over time, we may add or substitute measures that go into the definition of an EC2 Compute Unit, if we find metrics that will give you a clearer picture of compute capacity.

See Amazon EC2 Instance Types for additional details.

Q: What is the regional availability of Amazon EC2 instance types?

First generation Standard, Second generation Standard, High-Memory, and High-CPU instances are available in all Amazon EC2 regions.

Cluster Compute Eight Extra Large, High Storage Eight Extra Large, High Memory Cluster, and High I/O Quadruple Extra Large instances are currently available in the US East (N. Virginia) region, EU (Ireland) region, EU (Frankfurt) region, US West (Oregon), and Asia Pacific (Tokyo) regions. Cluster GPU instances are available in the US East (N. Virginia), EU (Ireland) region, and EU (Frankfurt) region.


Q: How do I prevent other people from viewing my systems?

You have complete control over the visibility of your systems. The Amazon EC2 security systems allow you to place your running instances into arbitrary groups of your choice. Using the web services interface, you can then specify which groups may communicate with which other groups, and also which IP subnets on the Internet may talk to which groups. This allows you to control access to your instances in our highly dynamic environment. Of course, you should also secure your instance as you would any other Linux host.

Q: Can I get a history of all EC2 API calls made on my account for security analysis and operational troubleshooting purposes?

Yes. To receive a history of all EC2 API calls (including VPC and EBS) made on your account, you simply turn on CloudTrail in the AWS Management Console.  For more information, visit the CloudTrail home page. 

Q: Where can I find more information about security on AWS?

For more information on security on AWS please refer to our Amazon Web Services: Overview of Security Processes document and to our Amazon EC2 running Windows Security Guide.


Q: Why am I limited to 5 Elastic IP addresses per region?

Public (IPV4) internet addresses are a scarce resource. There is only a limited amount of public IP space available, and Amazon EC2 is committed to helping use that space efficiently.

By default, all accounts are limited to 5 Elastic IP addresses per region. If you need more the 5 Elastic IP addresses, we ask that you apply for your limit to be raised. We will ask you to think through your use case and help us understand your need for additional addresses. You can apply for more Elastic IP address here. Any increases will be specific to the region they have been requested for.

Q: Why am I charged when my Elastic IP address is not associated with a running instance?

In order to help ensure our customers are efficiently using the Elastic IP addresses, we impose a small hourly charge for each address when it is not associated to a running instance.

Q: Do I need one Elastic IP address for every instance that I have running?

No. You do not need an Elastic IP address for all your instances. By default, every instance comes with a private IP address and an internet routable public IP address. The private address is associated exclusively with the instance and is only returned to Amazon EC2 when the instance is stopped or terminated. The public address is associated exclusively with the instance until it is stopped, terminated or replaced with an Elastic IP address. These IP addresses should be adequate for many applications where you do not need a long lived internet routable end point. Compute clusters, web crawling, and backend services are all examples of applications that typically do not require Elastic IP addresses.

Q: How long does it take to remap an Elastic IP address?

The remap process currently takes several minutes from when you instruct us to remap the Elastic IP until it fully propagates through our system.

Q: Can I configure the reverse DNS record for my Elastic IP address?

Yes, you can configure the reverse DNS record of your Elastic IP address by filling out this form. Note that a corresponding forward DNS record pointing to that Elastic IP address must exist before we can create the reverse DNS record.


Q: How isolated are Availability Zones from one another?

Each availability zone runs on its own physically distinct, independent infrastructure, and is engineered to be highly reliable. Common points of failures like generators and cooling equipment are not shared across Availability Zones. Additionally, they are physically separate, such that even extremely uncommon disasters such as fires, tornados or flooding would only affect a single Availability Zone.

Q: Is Amazon EC2 running in more than one region?

Yes. Please refer to Regional Products and Services for more details of our product and service availability by region.

Q: How can I make sure that I am in the same Availability Zone as another developer?

We do not currently support the ability to coordinate launches into the same Availability Zone across AWS developer accounts.

Q: If I transfer data between availability zones using public IP addresses, will I be charged twice for Regional Data Transfer (once because it’s across zones, and a second time because I’m using public IP addresses)?

No. Regional Data Transfer rates apply if at least one of the following is true, but is only charged once for a given instance even if both are true:

  • The other instance is in a different availability zone, regardless of which type of address is used.
  • Public or Elastic IP addresses are used, regardless of which zone the other instance is in.

Q: What networking capabilities are included in this feature?

We currently support enhanced networking capabilities using SR-IOV (Single Root I/O Virtualization). SR-IOV is a method of device virtualization that provides higher I/O performance and lower CPU utilization compared to traditional implementations. For supported Amazon EC2 instances, this feature provides higher packet per second (PPS) performance, lower inter-instance latencies, and very low network jitter.

Q: Why should I use Enhanced Networking?

If your applications benefit from high packet-per-second performance and/or low latency networking, Enhanced Networking will provide significantly improved performance, consistence of performance and scalability.

Q: How can I enable Enhanced Networking on supported instances?

Specific instance types, e.g. C3, R3 and I2, support Enhanced Networking. In order to enable this feature, you must launch an HVM AMI with the appropriate SR-IOV driver. Amazon HVM Linux AMI includes the SR-IOV driver by default. For AMIs that do not contain the SR-IOV driver by default, you will need to download and install the appropriate driver. You can use Linux or Windows instructions to enable Enhanced Networking in AMIs that do not include the SR-IOV driver by default. Enhanced Networking is only supported in Amazon VPC.

Q: Do I need to pay an additional fee to use Enhanced Networking?

No, there is no additional fee for Enhanced Networking. To take advantage of Enhanced Networking you need to launch the appropriate AMI on a supported instance type in a VPC.

Q: Why is Enhanced Networking only supported in Amazon VPC?

Amazon VPC allows us to deliver many advanced networking features to you that are not possible in EC2-Classic. Enhanced Networking is another example of a capability enabled by Amazon VPC.

Q: Which instance types support Enhanced Networking?

Currently all R3, C3 and I2 instances support Enhanced Networking.


Q: What happens to my data when a system terminates?

The data stored on a local instance store will persist only as long as that instance is alive. However, data that is stored on an Amazon EBS volume will persist independently of the life of the instance. Therefore, we recommend that you use the local instance store for temporary data and, for data requiring a higher level of durability, we recommend using Amazon EBS volumes or backing up the data to Amazon S3. If you are using an Amazon EBS volume as a root partition, you will need to set the Delete On Terminate flag to "N" if you want your Amazon EBS volume to persist outside the life of the instance.

Q: What kind of performance can I expect from Amazon EBS volumes?

Amazon EBS provides three volume types: General Purpose (SSD) volumes, Provisioned IOPS (SSD) volumes, and Magnetic volumes. These volume types differ in performance characteristics and price, allowing you to tailor your storage performance and cost to the needs of your applications. For more performance infomation see the EBS product details page.

For additional information on Amazon EBS performance, see the Amazon EC2 User Guide’s EBS section.

Q: What is the EBS General Purpose (SSD) volume type?

The EBS General Purpose (SSD) volumes are backed by the same technology found in EBS Provisioned IOPS (SSD) volumes. The EBS General Purpose (SSD) volume type is designed for 99.999% availability, and a broad range of use-cases such as boot volumes, small and medium size databases, and development and test environments. General Purpose (SSD) volumes deliver a ratio of 3 IOPS per GB, offer single digit millisecond latencies, and also have the ability to burst up to 3000 IOPS for short periods.

Q: Which volume type should I choose?

Customers can now choose between three EBS volume types to best meet the needs of their workloads: General Purpose (SSD), Provisioned IOPS (SSD), and Magnetic. General Purpose (SSD) is the new, SSD-backed, general purpose EBS volume type that we recommend as the default choice for customers. General Purpose (SSD) volumes are suitable for a broad range of workloads, including small to medium sized databases, development and test environments, and boot volumes. Provisioned IOPS (SSD) volumes offer storage with consistent and low-latency performance, and are designed for I/O intensive applications such as large relational or NoSQL databases. Magnetic volumes provide the lowest cost per gigabyte of all EBS volume types. Magnetic volumes are ideal for workloads where data is accessed infrequently, and applications where the lowest storage cost is important.

Q: How do I migrate an existing EBS volume to an EBS General Purpose (SSD) volume?

Migrating data from another volume type to a General Purpose (SSD) volume is easy. Simply take a snapshot of the existing volume and create a General Purpose (SSD) volume from the snapshot.

Q: Are EBS Standard Volumes still available?

EBS Standard Volumes have been renamed to EBS Magnetic volumes.  Any existing volumes will not have been changed as a result of this and there are no functional differences in the EBS Magnetic offering compared to EBS Standard. The name of this offering was changed to avoid confusion with our new General Purpose (SSD) volume type which is our recommended default volume type.

 

Q: Are Provisioned IOPS (SSD) volumes available for all Amazon EC2 instance types?

Please refer to our Amazon EC2 User Guide’s EBS section for information on which instance types are supported today with Provisioned IOPS (SSD) Volumes. To enable your Amazon EC2 instances to fully utilize the IOPS provisioned on an EBS volume, you can launch selected Amazon EC2 instance types as “EBS-Optimized” instances. EBS-Optimized instances deliver dedicated throughput between Amazon EC2 and Amazon EBS, with options between 500 Mbps and 1000 Mbps depending on the instance type used.

Q: What level of performance consistency can I expect to see from my Provisioned IOPS (SSD) volumes?

When attached to EBS-Optimized instances, Provisioned IOPS (SSD) volumes are designed to deliver within 10% of the provisioned IOPS performance 99.9% of the time in a given year. Your exact performance will depend on your application, and we recommend that you benchmark your applications against your instance types and EBS volumes.

Q: Does the I/O size of my applications’ reads and writes affect the rate of IOPS I get from my Provisioned IOPS (SSD) volumes?

Yes. For a given allocation of resources, the IOPS rate you get depends on the I/O size of your applications’ reads and writes. Provisioned IOPS (SSD) volumes process your applications’ reads and writes in I/O sizes of 16KB or less. Every increase in I/O size above 16KB will linearly increase the resources you need to achieve the same IOPS rate. For example, if you have provisioned a volume with 2000 IOPS, that means that it can handle 2000 16KB writes per second, or 1000 32KB writes per second, or 500 64KB writes per second, and so on. You can use Amazon CloudWatch to monitor your throughput and I/O sizes.

Q: What factors can impact the performance consistency I see with Provisioned IOPS (SSD) volumes?

Provisioned IOPS (SSD) volumes attached to EBS-Optimized instances are designed to offer consistent performance, delivering within 10% of the provisioned IOPS performance 99.9% of the time over a given year. There are several factors that could impact the level of consistency you see. For example, taking a snapshot can impact the rate of IOPS you get from your volume while your snapshot is pending. Your IOPS rate may also be lower for newly created volumes. For maximum performance consistency with new volumes, we recommend reading or writing to all of the blocks on your volume before placing it into service.

Another factor that can impact your performance is if your application isn’t sending enough I/O requests. This can be monitored by looking at your volume’s queue length. The queue length is the number of pending I/O requests from your application to your volume. For maximum consistency, a Provisioned IOPS (SSD) volume must maintain an average queue length (rounded to the nearest whole number) of one for every two hundred provisioned IOPS in a minute. For example, for a volume provisioned with 500 IOPS, the queue length average must be three. For more information on ensuring consistent performance of your volumes, see the Amazon EC2 User Guide’s EBS section.

Q: Do you support multiple instances accessing a single volume?

While you are able to attach multiple volumes to a single instance, attaching multiple instances to one volume is not supported at this time.

Q: Will I be able to access my snapshots using the regular Amazon S3 APIs?

No, snapshots are only available through the Amazon EC2 APIs.

Q: Do volumes need to be un-mounted in order to take a snapshot? Does the snapshot need to complete before the volume can be used again?

No, snapshots can be done in real time while the volume is attached and in use. However, snapshots only capture data that has been written to your Amazon EBS volume, which might exclude any data that has been locally cached by your application or OS. In order to ensure consistent snapshots on volumes attached to an instance, we recommend cleanly detaching the volume, issuing the snapshot command, and then reattaching the volume. For Amazon EBS volumes that serve as root devices, we recommend shutting down the machine to take a clean snapshot.

Q: Are snapshots versioned? Can I read an older snapshot to do a point-in-time recovery?

Each snapshot is given a unique identifier, and customers can create volumes based on any of their existing snapshots.

Q: What charges apply when using Amazon EBS shared snapshots?

If you share a snapshot, you won’t be charged when other users make a copy of your snapshot. If you make a copy of another user’s shared volume, you will be charged normal EBS rates.

Q: Can users of my Amazon EBS shared snapshots change any of my data?

Users who have permission to create volumes based on your shared snapshots will first make a copy of the snapshot into their account. Users can modify their own copies of the data, but the data on your original snapshot and any other volumes created by other users from your original snapshot will remain unmodified.

Q: How can I discover Amazon EBS snapshots that have been shared with me?

You can find snapshots that have been shared with you by selecting “Private Snapshots” from the viewing dropdown in the Snapshots section of the AWS Management Console. This section will list both snapshots you own and snapshots that have been shared with you.

Q: How can I find what Amazon EBS snapshots are shared globally?

You can find snapshots that have been shared globally by selecting “Public Snapshots” from the viewing dropdown in the Snapshots section of the AWS Management Console.

Q: Do you offer encryption on Amazon EBS volumes and snapshots?

Yes. EBS offers seamless encryption of data volumes and snapshots. EBS encryption better enables you to meet security and encryption compliance requirements.

Q: How can I find a list of Amazon Public Data Sets?

All information on Public Data Sets is available in our Public Data Sets Resource Center. You can also obtain a listing of Public Data Sets within the AWS Management Console by choosing “Amazon Snapshots” from the viewing dropdown in the Snapshots section.


Q: What is the minimum time interval granularity for the data that Amazon CloudWatch receives and aggregates?

Metrics are received and aggregated at 1 minute intervals.

Q: Which operating systems does Amazon CloudWatch support?

Amazon CloudWatch receives and provides metrics for all Amazon EC2 instances and should work with any operating system currently supported by the Amazon EC2 service.

Q: Will I lose the metrics data if I disable monitoring for an Amazon EC2 instance?

You can retrieve metrics data for any Amazon EC2 instance up to 2 weeks from the time you started to monitor it. After 2 weeks, metrics data for an Amazon EC2 instance will not be available if monitoring was disabled for that Amazon EC2 instance. If you want to archive metrics beyond 2 weeks you can do so by calling mon-get-stats command from the command line and storing the results in Amazon S3 or Amazon SimpleDB.

Q: Can I access the metrics data for a terminated Amazon EC2 instance or a deleted Elastic Load Balancer?

Yes. Amazon CloudWatch stores metrics for terminated Amazon EC2 instances or deleted Elastic Load Balancers for 2 weeks.

Q: Does the Amazon CloudWatch monitoring charge change depending on which type of Amazon EC2 instance I monitor?

No, the Amazon CloudWatch monitoring charge does not vary by Amazon EC2 instance type.

Q: Why does the graphing of the same time window look different when I view in 5 minute and 1 minute periods?

If you view the same time window in a 5 minute period versus a 1 minute period, you may see that data points are displayed in different places on the graph. For the period you specify in your graph, Amazon CloudWatch will find all the available data points and calculates a single, aggregate point to represent the entire period. In the case of a 5 minute period, the single data point is placed at the beginning of the 5 minute time window. In the case of a 1 minute period, the single data point is placed at the 1 minute mark. We recommend using a 1 minute period for troubleshooting and other activities that require the most precise graphing of time periods.


Q: Can I scale up my Amazon EC2 capacity fast but scale it down slowly?

Yes. For example, you can define a scale up condition to increase your Amazon EC2 capacity by 10% and a scale down condition to decrease it by 5%.

Q: How does Auto Scaling decide which Amazon EC2 instance in the Auto Scaling Group to terminate when the scaling condition is met?

When selecting an instance to terminate when a scaling condition is met, Auto Scaling attempts to preserve instances with the current launch configuration, and will thus terminate instances that do not have the current launch configuration. When more than one instance meets this criterion, Auto Scaling will terminate the instance running for the longest portion of a billable instance-hour (without running over). Optionally, you can configure a policy to terminate the oldest or newest instance instead. To target a specific instance for immediate termination, you can also use the TerminateInstanceInAutoScalingGroup API.

Q: What happens if a scaling activity causes me to reach my Amazon EC2 limit of instances?

Auto Scaling Service cannot scale past the Amazon EC2 limit of instances that you can run. If you need more Amazon EC2 instances, complete the Amazon EC2 instance request form.

Q: What happens to my Amazon EC2 instances if I delete my Auto Scaling Group?

Auto Scaling will not allow you to delete your Auto Scaling Group if it contains running Amazon EC2 instances. You have to empty the Auto Scaling Group by setting its size to 0 using the as-set-desired-capacity command from the command line. You can safely delete your Auto Scaling Group once it is empty.


Q: Which operating systems does Elastic Load Balancing support?

Elastic Load Balancing supports Amazon EC2 instances with any operating system currently supported by the Amazon EC2 service.

Q: Which protocols does Elastic Load Balancing support?

Elastic Load Balancing supports load balancing of applications using HTTP, HTTPS (Secure HTTP), SSL (Secure TCP) and TCP protocols.

Q: What TCP ports can I load balance?

You can perform load balancing for the following TCP ports: 25, 80, 443, and 1024-65535.

Q: Does Elastic Load Balancing support IPv6 traffic?

Yes. Each Elastic Load Balancer has an associated IPv4, IPv6, and dualstack (both IPv4 and IPv6) DNS name. IPv6 is not supported in VPC at this time.

Q: Can I configure my Amazon EC2 instances to only accept traffic from the Elastic Load Balancer?

Yes.

Q: Can I configure a security group for the front-end of the Elastic Load Balancer?

If you are using Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, you can configure security groups for the front-end of your Elastic Load Balancer.

Q: Can I load balance traffic to the zone apex of my domain (e.g., http://example.com)?

Yes. Please refer to the Elastic Load Balancing Developer Guide for more information.

Q: Can I use a single Elastic Load Balancer for handling HTTP and HTTPS requests?

Yes, you can map HTTP port 80 and HTTPS port 443 to a single Elastic Load Balancer.

Q: How many connections will my load balanced Amazon EC2 instances need to accept from the Elastic Load Balancer?

Elastic Load Balancer does not cap the number of connections that it can attempt to establish with your load balanced Amazon EC2 instances. You can expect this number to scale with the number of concurrent HTTP, HTTPS, or SSL requests or the number of concurrent TCP connections that the Elastic Load Balancer receives.

Q: Can I load balance Amazon EC2 instances launched using a Paid AMI?

You can load balance Amazon EC2 instances launched using paid a AMI from AWS Marketplace. However, Elastic Load Balancing does not support instances launched using a paid AMI from Amazon DevPay site.

Q: Can I use Elastic Load Balancing in Amazon Virtual Private Cloud?

Yes -- see the Elastic Load Balancing web page.

Q: Can I get a history of Elastic Load Balancing API calls made on my account for security analysis and operational troubleshooting purposes?

Yes. To receive a history of Elastic Load Balancing API calls made on your account, simply turn on CloudTrail in the AWS Management Console.

 


Q: What is a Reserved Instance?

Reserved Instances give you the option to make a low, one-time payment for each instance you want to reserve and in turn receive a significant discount on the hourly charge for that instance. There are two Reserved Instance types (Medium and Heavy Utilization Reserved Instances) that enable you to balance the amount you pay upfront with your effective hourly price.

Q: How is a Reserved Instance different than an On-Demand Instance?

Functionally, Reserved Instances and On-Demand Instances are exactly the same. They are launched and terminated in the same way, and they function identically once running. This makes it easy for you to seamlessly use both Reserved and On-Demand Instances without making any changes to your code. The only difference is that with a Reserved Instance, you pay a low, one-time payment and receive a lower hourly rate than with an On-Demand Instance and a capacity reservation.

Q: How do I purchase and start up a Reserved Instance?

You can purchase Reserved Instances through the AWS Management Console or using EC2 API tools. In the AWS Management Console, simply click the “Reserved Instances” button in the EC2 Instances section, and select “Purchase Reserved Instances”. The wizard will walk you through the purchase.

Using the API tools, you can list the available Reserved Instances for purchase with the DescribeReservedInstancesOfferings API method. You can then purchase an EC2 Reserved Instance by calling the PurchaseReservedInstancesOffering method.

Launching a Reserved Instance is no different than launching an On-Demand Instance. You simply use the RunInstances command or launch an instance via the AWS Management Console. Amazon EC2 will optimally apply the cheapest rate that you are eligible for in the background.

Q: How do I control which instances are billed at the Reserved Instance rate?

The RunInstances command does not distinguish between On-Demand and Reserved Instances. When computing your bill, our system will automatically optimize which instances are charged at the lower Reserved Instance rate to ensure you always pay the lowest amount.

Q: How many Reserved Instances can I purchase?

You can purchase as few as 1 or as many as 20 Reserved Instances per Availability Zone each month with the EC2 APIs. If you need additional Reserved Instances, complete the form found here.

Q: Can a Reserved Instance that I’ve bought for a particular instance type (e.g., c1.xlarge) be applied to a different instance type that I am running (e.g., m1.large)?

No. Each Reserved Instance is associated with a specific instance type, and can only be applied to that instance type for the duration of the Reserved Instance term.

Q: Can I move a Reserved Instance from one Region to another?

No. Each Reserved Instance is associated with a specific Region that is fixed for the lifetime of the Reserved Instance and cannot be changed.

Q: Can I modify a Reserved Instance?

Yes, you can request to modify active Reserved Instances that you own in one of the following ways: Move Reserved Instances between Availability Zones within the same region

Change the Network Platform of your Reserved Instances between “EC2-VPC” and “EC2-Classic” (for EC2 Classic-enabled customers)

Change the instance type of your Linux/UNIX Reserved Instances to a larger or smaller size in the same family (e.g., convert 8 m1.smalls into 4 m1.mediums, or vice versa)

You can submit a Reserved Instances modification request via the AWS Management Console or the ModifyReservedInstances API. There is no additional cost for modifying your Reserved Instance. An instances that was receiving the benefits of a Reserved Instance prior to its modification are not affected by the modification, but we may start billing it at a different rate (at either the On Demand rate or the rate of another applicable Reserved Instance). We process your requests as soon as possible on a best-efforts basis, depending on available capacity.

To learn more about Reserved Instance modification, please refer to the Amazon EC2 User Guide.

Q: What happens when I modify the Availability Zone or network Platform of a Reserved Instance?

If you modify the Availability Zone of a Reserved Instance, its capacity reservation and pricing benefit stop applying to instance usage in the original Availability Zone and start applying to usage in the new Availability Zone. If you modify the Network Platform of a Reserved Instance, its capacity reservation stops applying to instance usage with the original Network Platform and starts applying to usage with the new Network Platform; however, its pricing benefit continues to apply to both EC2-Classic and EC2-VPC instance usage that matches the rest of the Reserved Instance parameters.

Q: What happens when I modify the instance type of a Reserved Instance?

If you have an Amazon Linux/UNIX Reserved Instance (RI) in an instance family with multiple instance types (e.g., M1, M2, M3, or C1), you can request to modify your RI’s instance type in one of two ways:

You can consolidate multiple smaller reservations into a single larger reservation. For example, an RI for 8 m1.smalls at $0.014/hour each can be modified to create an RI for 4 m1.mediums at $0.028/hour each, 2 m1.larges at $0.056/hour each, or 1 m1.xlarge at $0.112/hour.

You can also divide a larger reservation into multiple smaller reservations. For example, an RI for 1 m1.xlarge at $0.112/hour can be modified to create an RI for 2 m1.larges at $0.056/hour each, 4 m1.mediums at $0.028/hour each, or 8 m1.smalls at $0.014/hour each.

To learn more about instance type modifications, please refer to the Amazon EC2 User Guide.

Q: How quickly do Reserved Instance modifications take effect?

Reserved Instance modifications are processed as soon as possible but may take as long as two hours. If the modification succeeds, the new capacity reservation becomes effective immediately and the new pricing benefit starts applying to matching instance usage at the beginning of the current hour. For example, if your Reserved Instance is successfully modified at 11:15, the new capacity reservation starts applying at 11:15 but the pricing benefit will apply retroactively to matching instance usage starting from 11:00. (However, if you request to modify your Reserved Instances in the last hour of a month, your changes become effective in the first hour of the next month.)

Q: Do I need to specify an Availability Zone when I launch my instances in order to take advantage of my Reserved Instances?

Yes. When you purchase a Reserved Instance you specify the Availability Zone in which you want to reserve that instance. In order to use that Reserved Instance, you need to ensure that you launch your instance in that same Availability Zone. Additionally, you can purchase a Reserved Instance in an Availability Zone where you already have a running instance, and the Reserved Instance will automatically get applied to that existing instance.

Q: Can I cancel a Reserved Instance?

No, you cannot cancel your Reserved Instance and the one-time payment is not refundable. However, if you are using Medium Utilization Reserved Instance, you can choose not to run or entirely stop using your instance at any time, at which point you will not incur any further usage charges. If you are using a Heavy Utilization Reserved Instance, you will continue to pay for every hour during your Reserved Instance term regardless of your usage.

Q: When are Reserved Instances activated?

A Reserved Instance is activated once your one-time payment has successfully been authorized. You can follow the status of your Reserved Instance on the AWS Account Activity page.

Q: Can I use my Reserved Instances with Windows to run a Windows with SQL Standard Server AMI?

Yes. Reserved Instances for using Windows and SQL Server are available in every region. To get pricing information and additional details, please visit the Amazon EC2 Running Microsoft Windows Server & SQL Server page.

Q: How do Reserved Instances work with Consolidated Billing?

When using Consolidated Billing, the account that purchases a Reserved Instance will receive the instance reservation. Our system will also automatically optimize which instances are charged at the lower Reserved Instance rate to ensure the “payer” account always pay the lowest amount. However, it is possible that the account that purchased the Reserved Instance will have the discount allocated towards their portion of the bill.

With respect to Reserved Instance volume discounts, if you leverage Consolidated Billing, AWS will use the aggregate total list price of your active Reserved Instances across all of your consolidated accounts to determine which volume discount tier to apply. Volume discount tiers are determined at the time of purchase, so you should activate Consolidated Billing prior to making a Reserved Instance purchase to ensure that you benefit from the largest possible volume discount tier that your your consolidated accounts are eligible to receive.

Q: How do the Reserved Instance Volume Discounts work?

When you have purchased a sufficient number of Reserved Instances in an AWS Region, you will automatically receive discounts on your upfront fees and hourly fees for future purchases of Reserved Instances in that AWS Region. Reserved Instance discounts are determined based on the total list price (non-discounted price) of upfront fees for the active Reserved Instances you have per AWS Region to determine the applicable volume discount tier. As an example, imagine that we had the following volume discount tiers:

  • $0-$250K: Upfront - 0%, Hourly - 0%
  • $250K - $2M: Upfront - 5%, Hourly - 5%
  • $2M - $5M: Upfront - 10%, Hourly - 10%
  • $5M+: Contact Us

For this example, as soon as you have active Reserved Instances with total list price of upfront fees totaling more than $250,000 in a single AWS Region, you will automatically receive a 5% discount on both upfront and hourly fees for all future Reserved Instance purchases in that AWS Region, and those discounts will continue to apply to new Reserved Instances as long as you continue to qualify for this volume discount tier.

To illustrate, let's assume you currently have $200,000 worth of active Reserved Instances in us-east-1. You want to purchase 75 Reserved Instances at a list price of $1000 each. That would be a total of $75,000 without any discount tiers. The first $50,000 of this purchase would be discounted at 0 percent. The remaining $25,000 of this purchase would be discounted by 5 percent, so you would only be charged $23,750 for it, and you would pay discounted hourly fees on those Reserved Instances.

To learn more about Reserved Instance volume discount tiers, please visit the “Understanding Reserved Instance Tiers” portion of the Amazon EC2 User Guide.

Q: If I already receive a different price or discount for my purchase of Reserved Instances, will I also receive the Reserved Instance volume discounts?

No. Reserved Instance discounts based on volume tiers are not cumulative with other discounts for Reserved Instance purchases.

Q: What happens if my volume increases or decreases in the future and I qualify for a different volume discount tier, will the cost of the Reserved Instances I have already purchased change?

Volume discounts are determined at the time of purchase. New purchases will be discounted according to which volume discount tier you qualify for at the time of purchase, and a Reserved Instance will remain at the same rate over its lifetime. For example, assume that you have $260K worth of Reserved Instances, with $250K worth of non-discounted Reserved Instances and $10K worth of discounted Reserved Instances. If $20K worth of non-discounted Reserved Instance subscriptions expired, you would then have only have $240K worth of Reserved Instances, but would continue to pay the discounted rate for the $10K of Reserved Instances that were purchased when you originally qualified for the volume discount tier. In this case, any additional purchases would not be discounted until you had over $250K worth of Reserved Instances again.

Q: Will Amazon RDS purchases count toward Amazon EC2 volume discount tiers (and vice versa)?

No, Amazon EC2 Reserved Instance purchases are the only ones that will apply towards your Amazon EC2 Reserved Instance volume discount tiers (and vice versa).

Q: What do I need to do at purchase time to receive volume discounts?

You will automatically receive volume discounts when you use the existing PurchaseReservedInstance API or AWS Management Console interface to purchase Reserved Instances. You do not need to perform additional steps to receive the discount. Customers who purchase more than $5M worth of Reserved Instances should contact us about receiving additional discounts beyond the discounts automatically provided.

Q: How do I determine which Amazon EC2 Reserved Instance volume discount tier applies to me?

To determine your current Amazon EC2 Reserved Instance volume discount tier, please consult the “Understanding Reserved Instance Tiers” portion of the Amazon EC2 User Guide.

Q: I have purchased a Reserved Instance for an instance type that is available as an EBS-Optimized instance. Can I relaunch that instance as an EBS-Optimized instance? Do I still get the Reserved Instance rate?

If you already own a Reserved Instance for an instance type that supports EBS-optimization, you can relaunch the instance as an EBS-Optimized instance and you will pay the additional hourly charge for EBS-optimization in addition to your hourly instance cost. There is a small possibility that there may not be sufficient capacity to launch the instance as an EBS-Optimized instance. In that case you will get an Insufficient Capacity error, and we recommend that you re-launch the instance without the EBS-optimization option.


Q. What is the Reserved Instance Marketplace?

The Reserved Instance Marketplace is an online marketplace that provides AWS customers the flexibility to sell their Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Reserved Instances to other businesses and organizations. Customers can also browse the Reserved Instance Marketplace to find an even wider selection of Reserved Instance term lengths and pricing options sold by other AWS customers.

Q. When can I list a Reserved Instance on the Reserved Instance Marketplace?

You can list a Reserved Instance once you have registered for the Reserved Instance Marketplace, you have paid for your Reserved Instance, and you have owned the Reserved Instance for more than 30 days. If you exceed $20,000 in sales of Reserved Instances or sell more than 200 Reserved Instances, you will also need to provide tax information prior to listing additional Reserved Instances. Additionally, if you plan to sell more than $50,000 in Reserved Instances per year, you will also need to file a limit increase.

Q. How will I register as a Seller for the Reserved Instance Marketplace?

If you would like to register for the Reserved Instance Marketplace, you can enter the registration workflow by selling a Reserved Instance from the AWS Management Console or setting up your profile from the Account Settings page on the AWS portal. No matter the route, you will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Start by reviewing the overview of the registration process.
  2. Log in to your AWS Account.
  3. Enter in the Bank Account to which you want us to disburse funds. Once you select continue, we will select that bank account as the default disbursement option.
  4. You will then reach a confirmation screen. Click “Continue to Console to Start Listing.”

If you plan to sell $20,000 or more worth of Reserved Instances or sell 200 or more Reserved Instances, click “Continue with Tax Interview.” During the Tax Interview pipeline, you will be prompted to enter your Company Name, Contact Name, Address, and Tax Identification Number using the TIMS workflow. Otherwise click “Continue to Console to Start Listing.”

Q. How will I know I can start selling on the Reserved Instance Marketplace?

You can start selling on the Reserved Instance Marketplace after you have added a bank account through the registration pipeline. Once activation is complete, you will receive an email when you are able to start listing your Reserved Instances on the Reserved Instance Marketplace. However, it is important to note that you will not be able to receive disbursements until we are able to receive verification from your bank, which may take up to two weeks depending on the bank you use.

Q. What is the process to sell a Reserved Instance on the Marketplace?

To list a Reserved Instance, simply complete these steps in the AWS Management Console:

  1. Select your Reserved Instances you wish to sell on the Marketplace, and click on the “Sell Reserved Instance” button. If you have not completed the registration process, you will be prompted to register using the registration pipeline.
  2. For each Reserved Instance type, set the number of instances you’d like to sell and the price for the one-time fee you would like to set. Note that you can set the one-time price to different amounts depending on the amount of time remaining so that you don’t have to keep adjusting your one-time price if your Reserved Instance doesn’t sell quickly. By default you just need to set the current price and we will automatically decrease the one-time price by the same increment each month.
  3. Once you have configured your listing, a final confirmation screen will appear. Click “Sell Reserved Instance” to complete the listing.

Q. Which Reserved Instances can I list?

You can list any Reserved Instances that has been active for at least 30 days and for which we have received payment. Typically, this means that you can list your Reserved Instance once it is in the “Active” state. It is important to note that if you are an invoice customer, your Reserved Instance can be in the “Active” state prior to AWS receiving payment. In this case, your Reserved Instance will not be listed until we have received your payment.

Q. How will we display listed Reserved Instances to Buyers?

We will display all Reserved Instances (ones that AWS offers and ones that our Reserved Instance Marketplace Sellers offer) in the Amazon EC2 Reserved Instance section of the AWS Management Console and in the Amazon EC2 APIs. Displayed Reserved Instances will be grouped based on the type of Reserved Instance being listed, duration remaining, upfront price, and hourly price. This methodology will make it easier for Buyers to find the Reserved Instances they would like to purchase.

Q. How much of my Reserved Instance term can I list?

You can sell a Reserved Instance for the term remaining, rounded down to the nearest month. For example, if you had 9 months and 13 days remaining you will list it for sale as a 9 month term Reserved Instance.

Q. Can I remove my own Reserved Instance after I’ve listed it for sale?

Yes, you can remove a Reserved Instance listing at any point until a sale is ‘pending’ (meaning a buyer has bought your Reserved Instance and confirmation of payment is pending).

Q. Which pricing dimensions can I set for the Reserved Instances I want to list?

Using the Reserved Instance Marketplace, you can set an upfront price you’d be willing to accept. You cannot set the hourly price (which will remain the same as was set on the original Reserved Instance), and you will not receive any funds collected from payments associated with the hourly prices.

Q. Can I still use my Reserved Instance while it is listed on the RI Marketplace?

Yes, you will continue to receive the capacity and pricing benefit of your Reserved Instance until it is sold. Once sold, any running instance that was associated with and being charged at the Reserved Instance rate will now be charged at the On-Demand rate until and unless you terminate it.

Q. Can I resell a Reserved Instance I purchased from the RI Marketplace?

Yes, you can resell Reserved Instances purchased from the RI Marketplace just like any other Reserved Instance.

Q. Are there any restrictions when selling Reserved Instances?

Yes, you must have a US bank account to sell Reserved Instances on the Reserved Instance Marketplace. Support for non-US bank accounts will be coming soon. Also, you may not sell Reserved Instances in the US GovCloud region.

Q. Can I sell Reserved Instances purchased from the public volume pricing tiers?

No, this capability is not yet available.

Q. Is there a charge for selling Reserved Instances on the Marketplace?

Yes, each Reserved Instance sold on the Amazon EC2 Reserved Instance Marketplace will be charged a 12% service fee on their one-time selling price.

Q. Can you partially sell my group of Reserved Instances?

Yes, AWS may potentially sell a subset of the quantity of Reserved Instances that you have listed. For example, if you list 100 Reserved Instances, we may only have a Buyer interested in purchasing 50 Reserved Instances. We will sell those 50 instances and continue to list your remaining 50 Reserved Instances until and unless you decide not to list them any longer.

Q. What payment methods are available for my Reserved Instance?

Payment for completed Reserved Instance sales are done via ACH wire transfers to a US Bank account.

Q. When will I receive my money?

Once AWS has received funds from the customer that has bought your instance, we will disburse funds via wire transfer to the bank account you specified when you registered for the Reserved Instance Marketplace. Then, we will send you an email notification letting you know that we’ve wired you the funds. Typically, funds will appear in your account within 3-5 days of when your Reserved Instance has been sold.

Q. If I sell my Reserved Instance on the RI Marketplace, will I get refunded for the Premium Support I was charged too?

No, you will not receive a pro-rated refund for the upfront portion of the AWS Premium Support Fee.

Q. Will I be notified about Reserved Instance Marketplace activities?

Yes, you will receive a single email once a day that details your Reserved Instance Marketplace activity whenever you create or cancel Reserved Instance listings, buyers purchase your listings, or AWS disburses funds to your bank account.

Q. What information is exchanged between the Buyer and Seller to help with the transaction tax calculation?

The Buyer’s city, state, zip+4, and country information will be provided to the Seller via a disbursement report. This information will enable Sellers to calculate any necessary transaction taxes they need to remit to the government (e.g. sales tax, value added tax, etc.). The legal entity name of the Seller will also be provided on the purchase invoice.

Q. Are there any restrictions on the customers when purchasing 3rd party Reserved Instances?

Yes, you cannot purchase your own Reserved Instances, including any of your linked accounts (via Consolidated Billing).

Q. Do I have to pay for Premium Support when purchasing Reserved Instances from the Reserved Instance Marketplace?

Yes, if you are a Premium Support customer, you will be charged for Premium Support when you purchase a Reserved Instance through the Reserved Instance Marketplace.


Q. What is a Spot Instance?

Spot Instances are a new way to purchase and consume Amazon EC2 Instances. They allow customers to bid on unused EC2 capacity and run those instances for as long as their bid exceeds the current Spot Price. The Spot Price changes periodically based on supply and demand, and customers whose bids meet or exceed it gain access to the available Spot Instances. Spot Instances are complementary to On-Demand Instances and Reserved Instances, providing another option for obtaining compute capacity.

Q. How is a Spot Instance different than an On-Demand Instance or Reserved Instance?

Spot Instances provide the ability for customers to purchase compute capacity with no upfront commitment, at hourly rates usually lower than the On-Demand rate. Spot Instances allow you to specify the maximum hourly price that you are willing to pay to run a particular instance type. Amazon EC2 sets a Spot Price for each instance type in each availability zone, which is the hourly price all customers will pay to run a Spot Instance for that given period. The Spot Price fluctuates based on supply and demand for instances, but customers will never pay more than the maximum price they have specified. If the Spot Price moves higher than a customer’s maximum price, the customer’s instance will be shut down by Amazon EC2. Other than those differences, Spot Instances perform exactly the same as On-Demand or Reserved Instances. See here for more details on Spot Instances.

Q. How do I purchase and start up a Spot Instance?

Spot Instances can be requested using the AWS Management Console or Amazon EC2 APIs. To start with the AWS Management Console:

  1. Log in to the AWS Management Console, then click the “Amazon EC2” tab.
  2. Click on “Spot Requests” in the navigation pane on the left.
  3. Click on “Request Spot Instances” and proceed through the Launch Instance Wizard process, choosing an AMI, Region and instance size and type. Enter the number of Spot Instances you would like to request, your maximum price and whether the request is persistent or not. After choosing your key pair and security group(s), you are ready to submit your Spot Instance request.

For detail on how to request Spot Instances through the Amazon EC2 API, see the Amazon EC2 API Reference.

For a more detailed walk through of using Spot Instances and more information on how to get the most out of Spot Instances, please read Introduction to Spot Instances.

Q. How many Spot Instances can I request?

By default, you are limited to requesting a total of 5 Spot Instances per region. Note that not all instance types are available on Spot, and new AWS accounts might start with a lower limit. To learn more about Spot Instance limits, please refer to the Amazon EC2 User Guide.

If you would like a higher limit, complete the Amazon EC2 instance request form with your use case and your instance increase will be considered. Limit increases are tied to the region they were requested for.

 

Q. How can I determine the status of my Spot request?

You can determine the status of your Spot request in the instance provisioning lifecycle by inspecting its Spot Bid Status code and message. By reviewing Spot bid statuses, you can see why your Spot requests state has or has not changed and you can learn how to optimize your Spot requests to get them fulfilled. You can access Spot Bid Status information on the Spot Instance page of the EC2 console of the AWS Management Console, as well as through the DescribeSpotInstanceRequests API action and the ec2-describe-spot-instance-requests CLI command. For more information, please visit the Amazon EC2 Developer guide.

Q. Are Spot Instances available for all instance families and sizes and in all regions?

Yes, Spot Instances are available for all instance families.

Q. Which Operating Systems are available as Spot Instances?

Linux/Unix and Windows Server are available. Windows Server with SQL Server is not currently available.

Q. Are there any features or services of Amazon Web Services that are not supported for use with Spot Instances?

The following features are not yet supported for use with Spot Instances: Amazon DevPay.

Q. Can I use a Spot Instance with a paid AMI for third party software (such as IBM’s software packages)?

Not at this time.

Q. Will I be charged if my Spot Instance is terminated by Amazon EC2 before the hour is up?

No. If the Spot Instance is terminated by Amazon EC2, you will not be charged for a partial hour of usage. However, if you terminate the instance yourself, you will be charged for any hour in which the instance ran.

Q. How often should I expect the Spot Price to change?

Amazon EC2 will change the Spot Price periodically as new requests are received and as available Spot capacity changes (e.g. due to instance terminations). While the Spot Price may change anytime, in general the Spot Price will change once per hour and in many cases less frequently. We publish the current Spot Price and historical prices for Spot Instances through the API, which can also be viewed using the AWS Management Console; these can help you assess the levels and timing of fluctuations in the Spot Price over time.

Q. Will all Spot Instances started at the same time be charged the same price?

Yes.

Q. Will the price I’m charged for a running Spot Instance change during its instance-hour as the Spot Price changes?

No. The price per instance-hour for a Spot Instance is set at the beginning of each instance-hour for the entire hour. Any changes to the Spot Price will not be reflected until the next instance-hour begins.

Q. Where can I see my usage history for Spot Instances and see how much I was billed?

The AWS portal makes a detailed billing report available which shows Spot instance start and termination times for all instances. Customers can check the billing report against historical Spot prices via the API to verify the Spot Price they were billed is correct.


Q. How much compute power do Micro instances provide?

Micro instances provide a small amount of consistent CPU resources and allow you to burst CPU capacity up to 2 ECUs when additional cycles are available. They are well suited for lower throughput applications and web sites that consume significant compute cycles periodically but very little CPU at other times for background processes, daemons, etc. Learn more about use of this instance type.

Q. How does a Micro instance compare in compute power to a Standard Small instance?

At steady state, Micro instances receive a fraction of the compute resources that Small instances do. Therefore, if your application has compute-intensive or steady state needs we recommend using a Small instance (or larger, depending on your needs). However, Micro instances can periodically burst up to 2 ECUs (for short periods of time). This is double the number of ECUs available from a Standard Small instance. Therefore, if you have a relatively low throughput application or web site with an occasional need to consume significant compute cycles, we recommend using Micro instances.

Q. How can I tell if an application needs more CPU resources than a Micro Instance is providing?

The CloudWatch metric for CPU utilization will report 100% utilization if the instance bursts so much that it exceeds its available CPU resources during that CloudWatch monitored minute. CloudWatch reporting 100% CPU utilization is your signal that you should consider scaling – manually or via Auto Scaling – up to a larger instance type or scale out to multiple Micro instances.

Q. Are all features of Amazon EC2 available for Micro Instances?

Currently Amazon DevPay are not available for Micro instances.


Q. When should I use GPU instances?

GPU instances work best for applications with massive parallelism, for example workloads using thousands of threads. Graphics processing is an example with huge computational requirements, where each of the tasks is relatively small, the set of operations performed form a pipeline, and the throughput of this pipeline is more important than the latency of the individual operations. To be able build applications that exploit this level of parallelism one needs GPU device specific knowledge by understanding how to program against various graphics APIs (DirectX, OpenGL) or GPU compute programming models (CUDA, OpenCL).

Q. How are G2 instances different from CG1 instances?

CG1 instances use NVIDIA Tesla GPUs and are designed for general purpose GPU computing using the CUDA or OpenCL programming models. CG1 instances provide customers with high bandwidth 10 Gbps networking, double precision floating-point capabilities, and error-correcting code (ECC) memory, making them ideal for High Performance Computing (HPC) applications. G2 instances use NVIDIA GRID GPUs and provide a cost-effective, high-performance platform for graphics applications using DirectX or OpenGL. NVIDIA GRID GPUs also support NVIDIA’s fast capture and encode APIs. Example applications include video creation services, 3D visualizations, streaming graphics-intensive applications, and other server-side workloads requiring massive parallel processing power. In addition, Graphics instances can also be used for general purpose computing using CUDA or OpenCL, but are not recommended for network-intensive HPC applications.

Q. What APIs and programming models are supported by GPU instances?

With the initial driver release, G2 instances support DirectX 9, 10, and 11, OpenGL 4.3, CUDA 5.5, OpenCL 1.1, and DirectCompute. With the latest driver release, CG1 instances support CUDA 5.5, OpenCL 1.1, and DirectCompute.

Q. Where do I get NVIDIA drivers?

There are two methods by which NVIDIA drivers may be obtained. NVIDIA has listings on the AWS Marketplace which offer Amazon Linux AMIs and Windows Server AMIs with the NVIDIA drivers pre-installed. You may also launch 64 bit, HVM AMIs and install the drivers yourself. You must visit the NVIDIA drivers website and search for the NVIDIA GRID K520 for the G2, and the Tesla M2050 for the CG1.

Q. Which AMIs can I use with G2 instances?

You can currently use Windows Server, SUSE Enterprise Linux, Ubuntu, and Amazon Linux AMIs on G2 instances. If you want to launch AMIs with operating systems not listed here, contact AWS Customer Support with your request or reach out through EC2 Forums.

Q. Where do I get the NVIDIA GRID SDK?

The NVIDIA GRID SDK is available from NVIDIA directly. Please visit http://www.nvidia.com/object/cloud-get-started.html for information about obtaining the full SDK. NVENC, the frame capture and encoding portion of the GRID SDK, is available on the NVIDIA Developers Zone at https://developer.nvidia.com/nvidia-video-codec-sdk.

Q. Does use of G2 instances require third-party licenses?

Aside from the NVIDIA drivers and GRID SDK, the use of G2 instances does not necessarily require any third-party licenses. However, you are responsible for determining whether your content or technology used on G2 instances requires any additional licensing. For example, if you are streaming content you may need licenses for some or all of that content. If you are using third party technology such as operating systems, audio and/or video encoders and decoders from Microsoft, Thomson, Fraunhofer IIS, Sisvel S.p.A., MPEG-LA, and Coding Technologies, please consult these providers to determine if a license is required. For example, if you leverage the on-board h.264 video encoder on the NVIDIA GRID GPU you should reach out to MPEG-LA for guidance, and if you use mp3 technology you should contact Thomson for guidance..

Q. Why am I unable to see the GPU when using Microsoft Remote Desktop?

When using Remote Desktop, GPUs using the WDDM driver model are replaced with a non-accelerated Remote Desktop display driver. In order to access your GPU hardware, you need to utilize a different remote access tool, such as VNC.


Q. What is a Cluster Compute Instance?

Cluster Compute Instances combine high compute resources with a high performance networking for High Performance Compute (HPC) applications and other demanding network-bound applications. Cluster Compute Instances provide similar functionality to other Amazon EC2 instances but have been specifically engineered to provide high performance networking.

Amazon EC2 cluster placement group functionality allows users to group Cluster Compute Instances in clusters – allowing applications to get the low-latency network performance necessary for tightly-coupled node-to-node communication typical of many HPC applications. Cluster Compute Instances also provide significantly increased network throughput both within the Amazon EC2 environment and to the Internet. As a result, these instances are also well suited for customer applications that need to perform network-intensive operations.

Learn more about use of this instance type for HPC applications.

Q. What is a Cluster GPU Instance?

Cluster GPU Instances provide general-purpose graphics processing units (GPUs) with proportionally high CPU and increased network performance for applications benefiting from highly parallelized processing that can be accelerated by GPUs using the CUDA and OpenCL programming models. Common applications include modeling and simulation, rendering and media processing.

Cluster GPU Instances give customers with HPC workloads an option beyond Cluster Compute Instances to further customize their high performance clusters in the cloud for applications that can benefit from the parallel computing power of GPUs.

Cluster GPU Instances use the same cluster placement group functionality as Cluster Compute Instances for grouping instances into clusters – allowing applications to get the low-latency, high bandwidth network performance required for tightly-coupled node-to-node communication typical of many HPC applications.

Learn more about HPC on AWS.

Q. What is a High Memory Cluster Instance?

High Memory Cluster instances provide customers with large amounts of memory and CPU capabilities per instance in addition to high network capabilities. These instance types are ideal for memory intensive workloads including in-memory analytics systems, graph analysis and many science and engineering applications

High Memory Cluster instances use the same cluster placement group functionality as Cluster Compute Instances for grouping instances into clusters – allowing applications to get the low-latency, high bandwidth network performance required for tightly-coupled node-to-node communication typical of many HPC and other network intensive applications.

Q. Does use of Cluster Compute and Cluster GPU Instances differ from other Amazon EC2 instance types?

Cluster Compute and Cluster GPU Instances use differs from other Amazon EC2 instance types in two ways.

First, Cluster Compute and Cluster GPU instances use Hardware Virtual Machine (HVM) based virtualization and run only Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) based on HVM virtualization. Paravirtual Machine (PVM) based AMIs used with other Amazon EC2 instance types cannot be used with Cluster Compute or Cluster GPU Instances.

Second, in order to fully benefit from the available low latency, full bisection bandwidth between instances, Cluster Compute and Cluster GPU Instances must be launched into a cluster placement group through the Amazon EC2 API or AWS Management Console.

Q. What is a cluster placement group?

A cluster placement group is a logical entity that enables creating a cluster of instances by launching instances as part of a group. The cluster of instances then provides low latency, full bisection 10 Gigabit Ethernet bandwidth connectivity between instances in the group. Cluster placement groups are created through the Amazon EC2 API or AWS Management Console.

Q. Are all features of Amazon EC2 available for Cluster Compute and Cluster GPU Instances?

Currently, Amazon DevPay is not available for Cluster Compute or Cluster GPU Instances.

Q. Is there a limit on the number of Cluster Compute or Cluster GPU Instances I can use and/or the size of cluster I can create by launching Cluster Compute Instances or Cluster GPU into a cluster placement group?

There is no limit specific for Cluster Compute Instances. For Cluster GPU Instances, you can launch 2 Instances on your own. If you need more capacity, please complete the Amazon EC2 instance request form (selecting the appropriate primary instance type).

Q. Are there any ways to optimize the likelihood that I receive the full number of instances I request for my cluster via a cluster placement group?

We recommend that you launch the minimum number of instances required to participate in a cluster in a single launch. For very large clusters, you should launch multiple placement groups, e.g. two placement groups of 128 instances, and combine them to create a larger, 256 instance cluster.

Q. Can Cluster GPU and Cluster Compute instances be launched into a single cluster placement group?

While it may be possible to launch different cluster instance types into a single placement group, at this time we only support homogenous placement groups.

Q. If an instance in a cluster placement group is stopped then started again, will it maintain its presence in the cluster placement group?

Yes. A stopped instance will be started as part of the cluster placement group it was in when it stopped. If capacity is not available for it to start within its cluster placement group, the start will fail.


Q. What is a High I/O Instance?

High I/O instances use SSD-based local instance storage to deliver very high, low latency, I/O capacity to applications, and are optimized for applications that require tens of thousands of IOPS. Like Cluster instances, High I/O instances can be clustered via cluster placement groups for high bandwidth networking.

Q. Are all features of Amazon EC2 available for High I/O Instances?

High I/O instance support all Amazon EC2 features with the exception of Spot Instances. Currently you can only purchase High I/O instances as On Demand or Reserved Instances.

Q. Is there a limit on the number of High I/O Instances I can use?

Currently, you can launch 2 hi1.4xlarge instances by default. If you wish to run more than 2 On-Demand Instances, please complete the Amazon EC2 instance request form.

Q. How many IOPS can hi1.4xlarge instances deliver?

Using Linux PV AMIs, High I/O instances can deliver more than 120,000 4K random read IOPS and 10,000-85,000 4K random write IOPS (depending on active LBA span) to applications across 2 * 1 TiB data volumes. For HVM and Windows AMIs, performance will be around 90,000 4K random read IOPS and 9,000-75,000 4K random write IOPS.

Q. What is the sequential throughput of hi1.4xlarge instances?

Sequential throughput on all AMI types (Linux PV, Linux HVM and Windows) is approximately 2 GB/s read and 1.1 GB/s write.

Q. AWS has other database and Big Data offerings. When or why should I use High I/O instances?

High I/O instances are ideal for applications that require access to tens of thousands of low latency IOPS, and can leverage data stores and architectures that manage data redundancy and availability. Example applications are:

  • NoSQL databases like Cassandra and MongoDB.
  • Clustered databases
  • OLTP systems

Q. Do High I/O instances provide any failover mechanisms or redundancy?

Like other Amazon EC2 instance types, instance storage on hi1.4xlarge instances persists during the life of the instance. Customers are expected to build resilience into their applications. We recommend using databases and file systems that support redundancy and fault tolerance. Customers should back up data periodically to Amazon S3 for improved data durability.

Q. Do High I/O instances support TRIM?

The TRIM command allows the operating system to inform SSDs which blocks of data are no longer considered in use and can be wiped internally. In the absence of TRIM, future write operations to the involved blocks can slow down significantly. Currently HI1.4xlarge instances do not support TRIM, but TRIM support will be deployed within the next few months. Customers with extremely intensive full LBA random write workloads should plan accordingly. Please note that the current disk provisioning scheme for High I/O instances minimizes the impact of write amplification and most customers will not experience any issues.


Q: How are Burstable Performance Instances different?

Amazon EC2 allows you to choose between Fixed Performance Instances (e.g. M3, C3, and R3) and Burstable Performance Instances (e.g. T2). Burstable Performance Instances provide a baseline level of CPU performance with the ability to burst above the baseline. T2 instances are for workloads that don’t use the full CPU often or consistently, but occasionally need to burst.

T2 instances’ baseline performance and ability to burst are governed by CPU Credits. Each T2 instance receives CPU Credits continuously, the rate of which depends on the instance size. T2 instances accrue CPU Credits when they are idle, and use CPU credits when they are active. A CPU Credit provides the performance of a full CPU core for one minute. The following table shows the maximum credit balance and baseline performance for each T2 instance size. Each vCPU of a T2 instance can consume CPU Credits at a maximum rate of 60 per hour when bursting to full core performance.

 

Model

vCPUs

CPU Credits / hour

Maximum CPU Credit Balance

Baseline CPU Performance

t2.micro

1

6

144

10% of a core

t2.small

1

12

288

20% of a core

t2.medium

2

24

576

40% of a core*

* Single threaded applications can use 40% of 1 core, or if needed, multithreaded applications can use 20% each of 2 cores.

For example, a t2.small instance receives credits continuously at a rate of 12 CPU Credits per hour. This capability provides baseline performance equivalent to 20% of a CPU core. If at any moment the instance does not need the credits it receives, it stores them in its CPU Credit balance for up to 24 hours. If and when your t2.small needs to burst to more than 20% of a core, it draws from its CPU Credit balance to handle this surge seamlessly. Over time, if you find your workload needs more CPU Credits that you have, or your instance does not maintain a positive CPU Credit balance, we recommend either a larger T2 size, such as the t2.medium, or a Fixed Performance Instance type.

Many applications such as web servers, developer environments and small databases don’t need consistently high levels of CPU, but benefit significantly from having full access to very fast CPUs when they need them. T2 instances are engineered specifically for these use cases. If you need consistently high CPU performance for applications such as video encoding, high volume websites or HPC applications, we recommend you use Fixed Performance Instances. T2 instances are designed to perform as if they have dedicated high-speed Intel cores available when your application really needs CPU performance, while protecting you from the variable performance or other common side effects you might typically see from over-subscription in other environments.

Q: When should I choose a Burstable Performance Instance, such as T2?

Workloads ideal for Burstable Performance Instances (e.g. web servers, developer environments, and small databases) don’t use the full CPU often or consistently, but occasionally need to burst. If your application requires sustained high CPU performance, we recommend our Fixed Performance Instances, such as M3, C3, and R3.

Q: How can I see the CPU Credit balance for each T2 instance?

You can see the CPU Credit balance for each T2 instance in EC2 per-Instance metrics in Amazon CloudWatch. T2 instances have two new metrics, CPUCreditUsage and CPUCreditBalance. CPUCreditUsage indicates the amount of CPU Credits used. CPUCreditBalance indicates the balance of CPU Credits.

Q: What happens to CPU performance if my T2 instance is running low on credits (CPU Credit balance is near zero)?

If your T2 instance has a zero CPU Credit balance, performance will remain at baseline CPU performance. For example, the t2.micro provides baseline CPU performance of 10% of a physical CPU core. If your instance’s CPU Credit balance is approaching zero, CPU performance will be lowered to baseline performance over a 15-minute interval.

Q: Does my T2 instance credit balance persist a stop / start?

No, a stopped instance does not retain its previously earned credit balance.

Q: Can T2 instances be purchased as Reserved Instances or Spot Instances?

On-Demand Instances and Reserved Instances are the only purchase options available for T2 Instances.

Q: How is T2 different from the T1?

Compared to the t1.micro, the t2.micro features better CPU performance, more memory, and lower prices. The T2 family also offers more than one size.


Q. What is a High Storage Instance?

High I/O instances provide customers with proportionally high instance storage and fast sequential I/O performance. Like Cluster instances, High Storage instances can be clustered via cluster placement groups for high bandwidth networking.

Q. Are all features of Amazon EC2 available for High Storage Instances?

High Storage instances support all Amazon EC2 features with the exception of Spot Instances. Currently you can only purchase High Storage instances as On Demand or Reserved Instances. Also, For customers using Microsoft Windows Server, High I/O Instances are only supported with the Microsoft Windows Server AMIs for Cluster Instances or Windows Server 2012.

Q. Is there a limit on the number of High Storage Instances I can use?

Currently, you can launch 2 hs1.4xlarge instances by default. If you wish to run more than 2 On-Demand Instances, please complete the Amazon EC2 instance request form.

Q. How much I/O can hs1.8xlarge instances deliver?

hs1.8xlarge instances are capable of delivering 2.4 GB/s of 2 MiB sequential read performance and 2.6 GB/s of 2 MiB sequential write performance.

Q. AWS has other database and Big Data offerings. When or why should I use High Storage instances?

High Storage instances are ideal for applications that require fast access to very large data sets, and can leverage data stores and architectures that manage data redundancy and availability. Example applications are:

  • Hadoop
  • Data warehousing
  • Cluster file systems

Q. Do High Storage instances provide any failover mechanisms or redundancy?

Like other Amazon EC2 instance types, instance storage on hs1.8xlarge instances persists during the life of the instance. Customers are expected to build resilience into their applications. We recommend using databases and file systems that support redundancy and fault tolerance. Customers should back up data periodically to Amazon S3 for improved data durability.


Q: Why don’t I see M1, C1, CC2, HI1, and CG1 Instance on the pricing pages any more?

These have been moved to the Previous Generation Instance page

Q: Are these Previous Generation Instances still being supported?

Yes. Previous Generation instances are still fully supported.

Q: Can I still use/add more Previous Generation Instances?

Yes. Previous Generation instances are still available as On-Demand, Reserved Instances, and Spot Instance, from our APIs, CLI, and Console interface.

Q: Are my Previous Generation Instances going to be deleted?

No. Your M1, C1, CC2, HI1, and CG1 instances are still fully functional and will not be deleted because of this change.

Q: Are Previous Generation Instances being discontinued soon?

Currently, there are no plans to end of life previous generation instances. However, with any rapidly evolving technology the latest generation will typically provide the best performance for the price and we encourage our customers to take advantage of technological advancements.

Q: Will my Previous Generation Instances I purchased as a Reserved Instance be affected or changed?

No. Your Reserved Instances will not change, and the Previous Generation Instances are not going away.


Q. What is VM Import/Export?

VM Import/Export enables customers to import Virtual Machine (VM) images in order to create Amazon EC2 instances. Customers can also export previously imported EC2 instances to create VMs. Customers can use VM Import/Export to leverage their previous investments in building VMs by migrating their VMs to Amazon EC2.

Q. What operating systems are supported?

VM Import/Export currently supports Windows and Linux VMs, including Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012 R1, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.1-6.5 (using Cloud Access), Centos 5.1-6.5, Ubuntu 12.04, 12.10, 13.04, 13.10, and Debian 6.0.0-6.0.8, 7.0.0-7.2.0. For more details on VM Import, including supported file formats, architectures, and operating system configurations, please see the VM Import/Export section of the Amazon EC2 User Guide.

Q. What virtual machine file formats are supported?

You can import VMware ESX VMDK images, Citrix Xen VHD images, Microsoft Hyper-V VHD images and RAW images as Amazon EC2 instances. You can export EC2 instances to VMware ESX VMDK, VMware ESX OVA, Microsoft Hyper-V VHD or Citrix Xen VHD images. For a full list of support operating systems, please see What operating systems are supported?.

Q. What is VMDK?

VMDK is a file format that specifies a virtual machine hard disk encapsulated within a single file. It is typically used by virtual IT infrastructures such as those sold by VMware, Inc.

Q. How do I prepare a VMDK file for import using the VMware vSphere client?

The VMDK file can be prepared by calling File-Export-Export to OVF template in VMware vSphere Client. The resulting VMDK file is compressed to reduce the image size and is compatible with VM Import/Export. No special preparation is required if you are using the Amazon EC2 VM Import Connector vApp for VMware vCenter.

Q. What is VHD?

VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) is a file format that that specifies a virtual machine hard disk encapsulated within a single file. The VHD image format is used by virtualization platforms such as Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix Xen.

Q. How do I prepare a VHD file for import from Citrix Xen?

Open Citrix XenCenter and select the virtual machine you want to export. Under the Tools menu, click on Virtual Appliance Tools and select Export Appliance to initiate the export task. When the export completes, you can locate the VHD image file in the destination directory you specified in the export dialog.

Q. How do I prepare a VHD file for import from Microsoft Hyper-V?

Open the Hyper-V Manager and select the virtual machine you want to export. In the Actions pane for the virtual machine, select Export to initiate the export task. Once the export completes, you can locate the VHD image file in the destination directory you specified in the export dialog.

Q. Are there any other requirements when importing a VM into Amazon EC2?

The virtual machine must be in a stopped state before generating the VMDK or VHD image. The VM cannot be in a paused or suspended state. Virtual machines with multiple virtual hard disks are not supported. We suggest that you export the virtual machine with only the boot volume attached. You can import additional disks using the ImportVolume command and attach them to the virtual machine using AttachVolume. Additionally, encrypted disks (e.g. Bit Locker) and encrypted image files are not supported. You are also responsible for ensuring that you have all necessary rights and licenses to import into AWS and run any software included in your VM image.

Q. Does the virtual machine need to be configured in any particular manner to enable import to Amazon EC2?

Ensure Remote Desktop (RDP) or Secure Shell (SSH) is enabled for remote access and verify that your host firewall (Windows firewall, iptables, or similar), if configured, allows access to RDP or SSH. Otherwise, you will not be able to access your instance after the import is complete. Please also ensure that Windows VMs are configured to use strong passwords for all users including the administrator and that Linux VMs and configured with a public key for SSH access.

Q. How do I import a virtual machine to an Amazon EC2 instance?

You can import your VM images using the Amazon EC2 API tools:

  • Import the VMDK, VHD or RAW file via the ec2-import-instance API. The import instance task captures the parameters necessary to properly configure the Amazon EC2 instance properties (instance size, availability zone, and security groups) and uploads the disk image into Amazon S3.
  • If ec2-import-instance is interrupted or terminates without completing the upload, use ec2-resume-import to resume the upload. The import task will resume where it left off.
  • Use the ec2-describe-conversion-tasks command to monitor the import progress and obtain the resulting Amazon EC2 instance ID.
  • Once your import task is completed, you can boot the Amazon EC2 instance by specifying its instance ID to the ec2-run-instances API.
  • Finally, use the ec2-delete-disk-image command line tool to delete your disk image from Amazon S3 as it is no longer needed.

Alternatively, if you use the VMware vSphere virtualization platform, you can import your virtual machine to Amazon EC2 using a graphical user interface provided through the Amazon EC2 VM Import Connector. To get started with the Connector:

  • Download the Amazon EC2 VM Import Connector vApp for VMware vCenter
  • Install the Connector vApp on your vCenter Server.
  • Using your VMware vSphere Client, select the VM image you’d like to import to Amazon EC2
  • On the Import to EC2 tab, select the Region, Availability Zone, operating system, instance size, security group, and VPC details (if desired) into which the image should be imported and initiate the import process.
  • Launch the Amazon EC2 instance when the import process has completed.

Q. How do I export an Amazon EC2 instance back to my on-premise virtualization environment?

You can export your Amazon EC2 instance using the Amazon EC2 CLI tools:

  • Export the instance using the ec2-create-instance-export-task command. The export command captures the parameters necessary (instance ID, S3 bucket to hold the exported image, name of the exported image, VMDK, OVA or VHD format) to properly export the instance to your chosen format. The exported file is saved in an S3 bucket that you previously created
  • Use ec2-describe-export-tasks to monitor the export progress
  • Use ec2-cancel-export-task to cancel an export task prior to completion

Q. Are there any other requirements when exporting an EC2 instance using VM Import/Export?

You can export running or stopped EC2 instances that you previously imported using VM Import/Export. If the instance is running, it will be momentarily stopped to snapshot the boot volume. EBS data volumes cannot be exported. EC2 instances with more than one network interface cannot be exported.

Q. Can I export Amazon EC2 instances that have one or more EBS data volumes attached?

Yes, but VM Import/Export will only export the boot volume of the EC2 instance.

Q. What does it cost to import a virtual machine?

You will be charged standard Amazon S3 data transfer and storage fees for uploading and storing your VM image file. Once your VM is imported, standard Amazon EC2 instance hour and EBS service fees apply. If you no longer wish to store your VM image file in S3 after the import process completes, use the ec2-delete-disk-image command line tool to delete your disk image from Amazon S3.

Q. What does it cost to export a virtual machine?

You will be charged standard Amazon S3 storage fees for storing your exported VM image file. You will also be charged standard S3 data transfer charges when you download the exported VM file to your on-premise virtualization environment. Finally, you will be charged standard EBS charges for storing a temporary snapshot of your EC2 instance. To minimize storage charges, delete the VM image file in S3 after downloading it to your virtualization environment.

Q. When I import a VM of Windows Server 2003 or 2008, who is responsible for supplying the operating system license?

When you launch an imported VM using Microsoft Windows Server 2003 or 2008, you will be charged standard instance hour rates for Amazon EC2 running the appropriate Windows Server version, which includes the right to utilize that operating system within Amazon EC2. You are responsible for ensuring that all other installed software is properly licensed.

So then, what happens to my on-premise Microsoft Windows license key when I import a VM of Windows Server 2003 or 2008?Since your on-premise Microsoft Windows license key that was associated with that VM is not used when running your imported VM as an EC2 instance, you can reuse it for another VM within your on-premise environment.

Q. Can I continue to use the AWS-provided Microsoft Windows license key after exporting an EC2 instance back to my on-premise virtualization environment?

No. After an EC2 instance has been exported, the license key utilized in the EC2 instance is no longer available. You will need to reactivate and specify a new license key for the exported VM after it is launched in your on-premise virtualization platform.

Q. When I import a VM with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), who is responsible for supplying the operating system license?

When you import Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) VM images, you can use license portability for your RHEL instances. With license portability, you are responsible for maintaining the RHEL licenses for imported instances, which you can do using Cloud Access subscriptions for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Please contact Red Hat to learn more about Cloud Access and to verify your eligibility.

Q. How long does it take to import a virtual machine?

The length of time to import a virtual machine depends on the size of the disk image and your network connection speed. As an example, a 10 GB Windows Server 2008 SP2 VMDK image takes approximately 2 hours to import when it’s transferred over a 10 Mbps network connection. If you have a slower network connection or a large disk to upload, your import may take significantly longer.

Q. In which Amazon EC2 regions can I use VM Import/Export?

VM Import/Export is available for use in US East (N. Virginia), US West (N. California), US West (Oregon), EU (Ireland), EU (Frankfurt) region, Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), Asia Pacific (Sydney), and São Paulo.

Q. How many simultaneous import or export tasks can I have?

Each account can have up to five active import tasks and five export tasks per region.

Q. Can I run imported virtual machines in Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)?

Yes, you can launch imported virtual machines within Amazon VPC.

Q. Can I use the AWS Management Console with VM Import/Export?

  • No. VM Import/Export commands are available via EC2 CLI and API. You can also use the VM Import Connector to import VMs into Amazon EC2. Once imported, the resulting instances are available for use via the AWS Management Console.

Q. Can I use my existing Windows Server license with EC2?

No. Microsoft Windows Server licensing does not currently support using your existing Windows license in Amazon EC2 or any other cloud environment. We encourage you to work with your Microsoft account representative to understand licensing options.

Q. What software licenses can I bring to the Windows environment?

Specific software license terms vary from vendor to vendor. Therefore, we recommend that you check the licensing terms of your software vendor to determine if your existing licenses are authorized for use in Amazon EC2.


Q. How am I billed for my use of Amazon EC2 running IBM?

You pay only for what you use and there is no minimum fee. Pricing is per instance-hour consumed for each instance type. Partial instance-hours consumed are billed as full hours. Data transfer for Amazon EC2 running IBM is billed and tiered separately from Amazon EC2. There is no Data Transfer charge between two Amazon Web Services within the same region (i.e. between Amazon EC2 US West and another AWS service in the US West). Data transferred between AWS services in different regions will be charged as Internet Data Transfer on both sides of the transfer.

For Amazon EC2 running IBM pricing information, please visit the pricing section on the Amazon EC2 running IBM detail page.

Q. Can I use Amazon DevPay with Amazon EC2 running IBM?

No, you cannot use DevPay to bundle products on top of Amazon EC2 running IBM at this time.


Q. What does your Amazon EC2 Service Level Agreement guarantee?

Our SLA guarantees a Monthly Uptime Percentage of at least 99.95% for Amazon EC2 and Amazon EBS within a Region.

Q. How do I know if I qualify for a SLA Service Credit?

You are eligible for a SLA credit for either Amazon EC2 or Amazon EBS (whichever was Unavailable, or both if both were Unavailable) if the Region that you are operating in has an Monthly Uptime Percentage of less than 99.95% during any monthly billing cycle. For full details on all of the terms and conditions of the SLA, as well as details on how to submit a claim, please see http://aws.amazon.com/ec2-sla.