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I need to shrink a Server 2008 m1.large instance to an m1.small instance on EC2. I know that the large is a 64-bit OS while the small is 32-bit. Both are EBS volumes. My questions are as follows:

  1. Can I simply make an AMI or take a snapshot of the large instances and create small instances from the AMI or snapshots? Or do I need to rebuild from scratch and with a 32-bit AMI and move all of my software over manually?

  2. Is there anything I need to watch out for in terms of the EBS volume being deleted when the instance is terminated? Or is it enough to simply create a snapshot of the instance to act as a backup to create future instances from?


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m1.small instances can be built on 64-bit systems as of a few weeks ago, so just create an AMI from the large instance and launch a small instance with your AMI. – Rowlf Mar 24 '12 at 22:41
up vote 0 down vote accepted
  1. You select the instance type at startup rather than baking it into the AMI, so theoretically you could launch your existing AMI as an m1.small instance. However, if the AMI has a 64-bit version of Windows installed, I don't know if it will work on 32-bit.
  2. EBS volumes are permanent and will continue to exist when theinstances using them are shut down, so you should be fine using snapshots.
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I'll have to try it out. Thanks. – meppum Feb 17 '11 at 21:19
  1. Yes, simply take a snapshot of the root device of your m1.large instance (in your case Server 2008). Then find the snapshot you just created in the snapshots panel and launch an m1.small instance using that snapshot.
    I just ground-truthed this by moving a 64-bit Windows Server 2008 R2 Data Center to an m1.small from an m1.large instance. I was able to login using RDP and noted that the task manager now showed only one processor instead of one. In other words, the m1.small instance doesn't seem to restrict an OS to 32-bit.

  2. I'm quite certain that when you terminate an instance, the EBS volume that is its root device does indeed get deleted automatically. In other words, you need to take a snapshot if you intend to later launch another instance based on that volume.

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