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I currently have this image:

High-CPU Extra Large Instance (Amazon Linux AMI)

7 GB of memory
20 EC2 Compute Units (8 virtual cores with 2.5 EC2 Compute Units each)
1690 GB of instance storage
64-bit platform
I/O Performance: High
API name: c1.xlarge

... and I've ran out of space. What's the process for getting more space? Is this done from the shell or the control panel? Does it require a reboot or some fancy mounting points? (fancy to a linux admin with modest abilities!)

By the way, this is a client's image so while I do have SSH access to the image, I don't have control panel access.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

share|improve this question
Wouldn't contacting Amazon work? – TylerShads Oct 3 '11 at 16:02
@ceejayoz Looks a little out of my league. I was expecting something more control-panel oriented but this has pointed me in the right direction. I may need to hire someone to do this for me. Thanks! – Julian Oct 3 '11 at 16:56
Shads0: Amazon provides tools for doing things like this so that customers don't have to wait for Amazon employees to get things done. – Eric Hammond Oct 3 '11 at 17:47
up vote 8 down vote accepted

You list "1690 GB of instance storage". It isn't clear if you were just quoting the specs of your instance type or if you have actually formatted and are using all that storage.

It isn't clear from the question exactly what storage you want to increase. Here are some thoughts on different situations:

It is not possible to increase instance-store beyond the limit you quote. However, by default, that storage is not all formatted and mounted on the instance, so you could get up to that limit as long as you wanted to use instance-store. Be aware, that instance-store disk is ephemeral and the contents are lost when the instance is stopped, terminated, or fails.

If your instance itself is running on an instance-store root disk, then you cannot increase the size of the root disk without starting another instance, and even then, instance-store root disks have a hard limit of 10GB on EC2.

It is possible to create and attach EBS volumes to either instance-store or EBS boot instances if you simply want to add space and move your data there (recommended). It is also possible to increase the size of attached EBS volumes up to a limit of 1TB (and beyond using RAID0 of multiple EBS volumes).

All that said, I'm going to guess that the most likely situation you're in is that you are running an EBS boot instance and need to increase the size of the EBS boot volume.

You can increase the size of an EBS boot volume without control panel access (email/password for Amazon account), however you will need to have access to the AWS credentials in order to create snapshots and volumes, to detach and attach volumes, and to stop and start the instance. You will also need ssh access in order to resize the filesystem on the larger EBS volume.

Here's an article I wrote about this process:

Resizing the Root Disk on a Running EBS Boot EC2 Instance

In related topic to permissions, here's an article I wrote explaining the different types of AWS credentials:

Understanding Access Credentials for AWS/EC2

Providing more details in your question about your situation and what you want to accomplish would help improve the relevance of the answers.

share|improve this answer
thank you for your detailed answer! I need a little time to read (and understand) your articles but in the meantime let me just shed more light into the matter. I was indeed quoting the specs of what I found in Amazon docs. The actual server returns this when I go sudo df -h: /dev/xvda1 Size: 7.9G Used: 7.6G Avail: 0.3G Mounted on: /. (I reformatted the output here). Now I need to find out whether this is instance store or EBS (not clear on the differences). The only thing I know is this is an out of the box image (that's what my client says, anyways), nothing customized. – Julian Oct 3 '11 at 20:14
Since your root disk is 8GB, it is almost certainly EBS boot and can be resized following the approach described in the above article. That size is not forced by EBS vs. instance-store, it's just my opinion based on the most common default sizes for standard public AMIs. – Eric Hammond Oct 3 '11 at 20:27
Finally spent a LOT of time trying to understand your article and ended up making this work. Thanks! – Julian Oct 13 '11 at 18:29
Julian: Glad you got it working. If there is anything about the article that caused you confusion, please add a comment on the blog and I'll take a look. – Eric Hammond Oct 13 '11 at 21:01

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