Parul shows you how to
prepare for the scheduled retirement
of an Amazon EC2 instance


My Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance is scheduled for retirement. What does that mean?

An EC2 instance is scheduled to be retired when AWS detects an irreparable failure in the infrastructure that's hosting your instance, such as:

  • Software-related issues that are unrecoverable and the software must be replaced.
  • Hardware failures that require replacement, such as a faulty power supply, hard disk, or other server components.

As a result, there's no way to avoid instance retirement completely. However, there are ways to build for a fault tolerant infrastructure that can eliminate or reduce downtime.

There are a number of actions available to you when your instance is scheduled for retirement. The action you take depends on whether your instance root device is an Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) volume or an instance store volume.

For more information, see:

When an EBS-backed instance has been stopped and started

When a retirement notification is received, the underlying host has already entered a state that blocks any additional launches of instances onto the hardware. Therefore, the stop and start operation will move your instance to new underlying hardware and no further action is required from you. However, a retirement notice might appear in your Personal Health Dashboard until the actual event time.

Instances that become unreachable before the retirement date

Because instance retirement is often the result of unexpected software or hardware failure, the underlying host can sometimes become inaccessible before the scheduled retirement date. Attempts are made to keep the instance accessible until the date provided, and in some cases the host can be restored to working condition.

Building for fault tolerance

Downtime can be eliminated or reduced with proper architecture by building for fault tolerance. For more information on recommended architectural best practices, see the Well-Architected Framework.

Stop and Start Your Instance

Instance Retirement (Amazon EC2 User Guide for Windows Instances)

Instance Retirement (Amazon EC2 User Guide for Linux Instances)

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Published: 2015-04-16

Updated: 2019-03-08