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I have an EC2 instance that I spent a lot of time setting up to run my Ruby on Rails application. The project is currently not under development and I need to take it down so we can eliminate the monthly cost. Is there a way I can download or backup the image so when the project resumes I don't have to setup a new instance?

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That depends on what sort of EC2 instance you're running.

If it's an AMI on S3, you'll need to build a new AMI with all your changes + backup anything on your ephemeral stores. You can do the AMI build by using the ec2 toolkit pretty easily (don't forget to store it back on S3 after building it), and the ephemeral storage is probably a matter of using tar+gzip and sticking the resulting .tar.gz onto S3 (which, again, you can do with command-line tools).

If you're using EBS volumes, this is much easier. You can just snapshot your EBS volume(s) and they'll be there for when you get back.

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Is my goal to convert my instance to an EBS volume then take a snap shot of my new volume? Do you know of any examples of this? – jspooner Dec 4 '10 at 0:44
There are a lot of benefits to going with an EBS volume instead, such as faster boot times, but I can't tell you if it'll work for your use case or not. There is documentation out there on how to convert - but make sure you've backed up your ephemeral storage first or you may lose it if you don't make the transition right. – Don MacAskill Dec 4 '10 at 1:37

You can create an EBS AMI image from the AWS management console. This is very simple. Log into AWS Management console, go to Amazon EC2 tab at the top, select your instance you want to make persistent and go to "Instance Actions" button then select "Create Image (EBS AMI)."

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