Posted On: Jan 8, 2013

We are pleased to announce that starting today you can use Amazon CloudWatch alarms to detect and shut down unused Amazon EC2 instances automatically. Whether you are an individual developer who uses an Amazon EC2 instance for occasional projects, or an IT professional who manages many Amazon EC2 instances for multiple developers, you can now use Amazon CloudWatch to avoid accumulating unnecessary usage charges.

Stop or Terminate EC2 Instances That are Unused or Underutilized

Amazon CloudWatch collects monitoring data for your AWS resources and applications. Amazon CloudWatch alarms help you react quickly to issues by emailing a notification to you or executing automated tasks when data values reach a threshold you set. Starting today, you can also set alarms that automatically stop or terminate Amazon EC2 instances that have gone unused or underutilized for too long. For example, a student who wants to stay within the AWS Free Usage Tier can set an alarm that automatically stops an instance once it has been left idle for an hour. Or, if you are a corporate IT administrator, you can create a group of alarms that first sends an email notification to developers whose instances have been underutilized for 8 hours, then terminates an instance and emails both of you if utilization doesn't improve after 24 hours.

Get Started Using Automated Shutdown Alarms Today

It's easy to set Amazon CloudWatch alarms that detect and shut down idle Amazon EC2 instances. To get started, first visit Amazon EC2 in the AWS Management Console, select an instance, and click the 'Create Alarm' button in the Monitoring tab that appears in the lower panel. Then, enter an email address to notify, choose 'Stop' or 'Terminate', set a utilization threshold that suits your needs, and you're done. If the threshold is ever reached, Amazon CloudWatch will shut down the instance and email you a notification.

You can also set these alarms using the Amazon CloudWatch console, AWS SDKs, Amazon CloudWatch API, and command-line interface. For more information, visit Create Alarms That Stop or Terminate an Instance in the Amazon CloudWatch Developer Guide.