I want to prepare a backup of the instance store volume on my Amazon EC2 instance by creating an Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) volume. How do I do that?

It’s a best practice to keep backups of all data stored in your AWS infrastructure, allowing you to roll back changes and helping to protect your data against failures of underlying infrastructure. Disk storage is ephemeral by nature, and so it should not be used to store data for the long term.

Although you can’t create a snapshot of an instance store volume like you can for an EBS volume, you can create a new EBS volume and migrate the data on your instance store volume to the EBS volume:

  1. Create an EBS volume, and be sure to choose a size large enough to hold the data you’re migrating.
  2. Attach the EBS volume to your instance.
  3. Make the volume available to your operating system, and create a compatible file system on the volume.
    For Linux instances, see Making the Volume Available on Linux.
    For Windows instances, see Making the Volume Available on Windows.
  4. Copy the data using the disk management or a migration tool you prefer for your operating system, such as rsync for Linux or robocopy for Windows.

Note: It’s a best practice to keep both volumes available until you’re sure that the copy operation has succeeded. EBS volumes created from instance store volumes might require additional configuration before they're usable with your instance.

For information on backing up EBS volumes, see Creating an Amazon EBS Snapshot.

You might also consider backing up individual files stored on an EBS volume, instead of or in addition to backing up the volume itself. For an example solution using Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), see Getting the Most out of the Amazon S3 CLI.

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Published: 2016-09-30

Updated: 2017-10-26