Amazon EC2 Instances Now Can Boot from Amazon EBS

Posted on: Dec 3, 2009

Amazon EC2 has also announced the ability to boot instances directly from Amazon EBS snapshots, providing significantly increased flexibility in how customers can manage their instances. You can still save an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) in an Amazon S3 bucket and boot it from the local instance store, but you can now also choose to save AMIs as Amazon EBS snapshots and boot directly from an Amazon EBS volume. When an instance is booted from an Amazon EBS snapshot, the root partition of the instance is created on an Amazon EBS volume. Instances booted from Amazon EBS volumes can be stopped and later restarted, preserving any of the state that is saved to your volume and allowing you to modify some properties of your instances while it is stopped. For example, you can change your instance size or update the kernel it is using, or attach your root partition to a different running instance, making it easier to do debugging when you are creating new boot images. When booting from an Amazon EBS volume, AMIs and root partitions are no longer limited to 10GB, but can be up to 1TB in size, enabling significantly more complex images. Additionally, you are not charged for stopped instance hours and you will just incur charges for your Amazon EBS volumes while your instance is stopped, allowing you to reduce your Amazon EC2 costs when you do not need your instances running. Customers can now use a newly launched API that makes it easy to bundle images without using the command line tools, and can also take advantage of the fact that the content of an Amazon EBS volume is available to the instance immediately on volume creation which can lead to much faster instance boot times. For more details on this new addition to Amazon EC2, please see the Boot from Amazon EBS Feature Guide.