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Is it possible to create a hardware virtual machine (HVM) AMI from an existing paravirtual (PV) AMI.

My initially thought was to start a new PV instance and use the ec2-create-image command to create a new image while specifying HVM as the virutalization type. However, ec2-create-image does not have a command line parameter to specify the virtualization type.

Is there another way to go about doing this?

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AWS has enabled this feature in the EC2 API. It is available as the --virtualization-type option to aws ec2 register-image in the new Boto based awscli.

Original answer

Yes! Unfortunately, there is not a direct way to do so. Also, some PV instances may need kernel and bootloader modifications.

  1. Create a volume from your existing PV AMI. If it was your own PV AMI, you can make a volume from the snapshot. If it is a 3rd party AMI, you will need to launch an instance and take a snapshot.
  2. Launch an HVM instance with any AMI.
  3. Stop that HVM instance.
  4. Detach the root volume from that instance.
  5. Attach the PV volume as the root volume(/dev/sda1 or /dev/sda if it was partitioned) to the HVM instance.
  6. Run ec2-create-image on the HVM instance.
  7. Launch other instances with your new HVM AMI.

If that doesn't work, then before step 5, you will need to attach that volume to a running instance, set up a chroot, and install a kernel and bootloader for your distribution. You may also want to clear logs and any cloud-init cache.

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