AWS Official Blog

Cross Region EC2 AMI Copy

by Jeff Barr | on | in Amazon EC2 | | Comments

We know that you want to build applications that span AWS Regions and we’re working to provide you with the services and features needed to do so. We started out by launching the EBS Snapshot Copy feature late last year. This feature gave you the ability to copy a snapshot from Region to Region with just a couple of clicks. In addition, last month we made a significant reduction (26% to 83%) in the cost of transferring data between AWS Regions, making it less expensive to operate in more than one AWS region.

Today we are introducing a new feature: Amazon Machine Image (AMI) Copy. AMI Copy enables you to easily copy your Amazon Machine Images between AWS Regions. AMI Copy helps enable several key scenarios including:

  • Simple and Consistent Multi-Region Deployment – You can copy an AMI from one region to another, enabling you to easily launch consistent instances based on the same AMI into different regions.
  • Scalability – You can more easily design and build world-scale applications that meet the needs of your users, regardless of their location.
  • Performance – You can increase performance by distributing your application and locating critical components of your application in closer proximity to your users. You can also take advantage of region-specific features such as instance types or other AWS services.
  • Even Higher Availability – You can design and deploy applications across AWS regions, to increase availability.

Console Tour
You can initiate copies from the AWS Management Console , the command line tools, the EC2 API or the AWS SDKs. Let’s walk through the process of copying an AMI using the Console.

From the AMIs view of the AWS Management console select the AMI and click on Copy:

Choose the Copy AMI operation and the Console will ask you where you would like to copy the AMI:

After you have made your selections and started the copy you will be provided with the ID of the new AMI in the destination region:

Once the new AMI is in an Available state the copy is complete.

A Few Important Notes
Here are a few things to keep in mind about this new feature:

  • You can copy any AMI that you own, EBS or instance store (S3) backed, and with any operating system.
  • The copying process doesn’t copy permissions or tags so you’ll need to make other arrangements to bring them over to the destination region.
  • The copy process will result in a separate and new AMI in the destination region which will have a unique AMI ID.
  • The copy process will update the Amazon RAM Image and Amazon Kernel Image references to point to equivalent images in the destination region.
  • You can copy the same AMI to multiple regions simultaneously.
  • The console-based interface is push-based; you log in to the source region and select where you’d like the AMI to end up. The API and the command line are, by contrast, are pull-based and you must run them against the destination region and specify the source region.

— Jeff;