Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I currently have a micro-tier EC2 instance, and several snapshots of my drive.

I'm running compilations that are taking a long time on the micro instance. I was wondering, is it feasible to shutdown my instance, fire up a more powerful tier of EC2, run my compiles on this more powerful instance, shut it down, and switch back to my original instance?

share|improve this question
Yes, you can do this. – ceejayoz Jul 23 '12 at 17:57
You received two good answers and need to clarify what you were really asking. Matt Houser's answer is the best if your EBS is your root volume, and you simply want to upsize your CPU for the compiles. Michael Hampton's answer is the best if your truly want to switch your EBS volume from one instance to another (although note that you need not shut down an instance to detach a non-root EBS volume). – khoxsey Jul 23 '12 at 18:48
up vote 6 down vote accepted

You can change the instance type of an existing instance without the need to duplicate and create a new instance. From the AWS Management Console:

  1. Stop your instance
  2. From the menu, select "Change Instance Type" to change your instance to a more powerful type
  3. Start your instance

Do your work and revert when done.

share|improve this answer
Thanks! Are there any issues with device drivers, etc, or will it "just work"? – steve8918 Jul 23 '12 at 18:50
It has always "just worked" for me. One thing you can do is verify that the AMI you used to create your original instance is available to create an instance of your new desired size. If so, then there shouldn't be any problems. – Matt Houser Jul 24 '12 at 11:23


  1. Stop your existing instance and detach the EBS volume from it.

  2. Create a new instance but do not start it. The new instance should use the same AKI/AMI as the original instance, or puppies will die.

  3. Attach your EBS volume to it.

  4. Start the new instance and run your job.

  5. When done, stop the new instance, detach the EBS volume and reattach it to the original instance.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.