What do I need to know when my Amazon EC2 instance is scheduled for retirement?

Last updated: 2019-08-29

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

Short Description

An EC2 instance is scheduled for retirement when Amazon Web Services (AWS) detects an irreparable failure in the infrastructure that is hosting your instance.

Issues that can lead to a scheduled retirement include:

  • Software-related issues that aren't recoverable and require a software replacement.
  • Hardware failures that require replacement, such as a faulty power supply, hard disk, or other server components.


Actions to take before the instance retirement date

Warning: Before you stop an instance, be aware of the following:

  • If you're not using an Elastic IP Address, the public IP address is released when you stop the instance.
  • If this instance has an instance store volume, any data on it is lost when the instance is stopped. See the Stopping an instance with instance store volume attached section for more information.
    Note (Windows only): Instance store volumes are labeled as Temporary Storage in My Computer on the instance.
  • If the instance shutdown behavior is set to Terminate, the instance terminates when it is stopped.
  • If the instance is part of an Auto Scaling group, first detach the instance from the Auto Scaling Group. After you stop and start the instance, attach the instance back to the Auto Scaling group.

For more information, see Stop and Start Your Instance.

To prevent unforeseen downtime and data loss, take action to prepare before the instance retirement date. The action you take depends on your instance root device type. For more information, and to determine if your instance root device is an Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) volume or an instance store volume, see:

Stopping and starting an EBS-backed instance

When you receive an instance retirement notification, the underlying host is already in a state that blocks additional launches of instances on the hardware. The stop and start operation moves your instance to new underlying hardware, and you don’t need to take any further action.

Note: A retirement notice might appear in your Personal Health Dashboard until the actual event time.

Due to underlying hardware degradation, an EBS-backed instance can get stuck in a stopping state. You can force the instance to stop using the console or AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI). This action can take up to 10 minutes. For more information, see Troubleshooting Stopping Your Instance.

Stopping an instance with instance store volume attached

Data stored on an instance store volume doesn't persist if an instance is stopped. To prevent data loss, connect to your instance using Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). Then, move data located on the instance store volume to an attached EBS volume. For more information, see Instance Store Lifetime.

Building for fault tolerance

Reduce or eliminate downtime with proper architecture by building for fault tolerance. For more information, see AWS Well-Architected.

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 become inaccessible before the scheduled retirement date. AWS attempts to keep the instance accessible until the date provided, and in some cases can restore the host to working condition.

Instance Retirement (Amazon EC2 User Guide for Windows Instances)

Instance Retirement (Amazon EC2 User Guide for Linux Instances)

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