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Something like ec2-clone-instance or equivalent?

We've got suddenly quite high load and I want to drop another web node behind a load balancer, and I wasn't really prepared for this...

I should add that this an S3 backed instance.

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I think you mean "ephemeral" or "instance-store" EC2 instance (the kind that loses all data forever if you "stop" it). As far as I know there's no S3-backed instance (although if I recall correctly S3 is used to store EBS snapshots). – Adam Monsen Jun 17 '12 at 21:22
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I recommend running EBS boot instances for many reasons including this. However, it is possible to clone a running instance-store instance (run from an S3 backed AMI).

Here's an article I wrote over three years ago on how to do this:

WARNING: This is only for instance-store instances. Please use EBS boot instead!
Creating a New Image for EC2 by Rebundling a Running Instance

I haven't tested this method in years, so it's possible that the command line tools have changed to require new options, even though Amazon works hard to stay backwards compatible.

Note that this will only copy the data on the root disk into the new AMI. File stored on ephemeral storage (e.g., /mnt) are not copied.

Note that after cloning an instance you end up with two copies of the system that you'll need to manage. This is not good for things that need to have a single, central copy like databases or file stores.

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If you use the AWS Management Console -- the web based management console avaialble through, you can create a snapshot of your current system, then spin up new instances from this snapshot. It's quite fast to do so.

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This is an S3 backed instance, not an EBS one. Are you sure this still applies? If so, what's the exact process? – chrism2671 Oct 5 '11 at 20:35
I don't think there's such a thing as an S3 backed EC2 instance. As far as I know the two options are EBS and Instance Store. – jorfus May 6 '15 at 21:22

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