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Forgive me if this seems like a dumb question, but I'm wondering how do I increase the processing power (cpu, memory) of an instance I already have running.

Right now I have a web server running on a m1.small type instance and it's performing poorly at peak times, is it possible to increase the amount of memory on the instance somehow, or do I need to create a new EC2 install. What are my options.

Please advise.

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Hi Philip, As you were saying "it's performing poorly at peak times, is it possible to increase the amount of memory on the instance somehow", i would suggest you to have a look at the Auto Scaling - which can "scale" your instance power as per the load. you can have a look at "… if AutoScaling is what you are looking for, then we can provide more info on that... – Invent Sekar Oct 29 '12 at 5:07

I believe the way to do this is to:

  • Stop the instance
  • Create a new AMI from it (right-click on it in the panel, there is an option for Create AMI)
  • Deploy a new instance from the new AMI, just with a larger instance type (perhaps m1.large)

If your instance is EBS backed, I believe it is also possible to stop the instance, detach the EBS volume from that instance, and attach it to a new, larger one in the Create Instance dialog.

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Okay this is helpful, but what it my instance in this case is a production machine. I don't want to bring it down right now. Can I clone it some how and then use the cloned instance to work from? – Philip Isaacs Oct 27 '12 at 14:34
You can clone it without stopping the instance, but that's not recommended due the fact that you'll be cloning live filesystems. The cloned filesystems will likely need to be fsck'ed on first boot, and some data may be lost. – EEAA Oct 27 '12 at 15:52
Hmm. Okay, so my best best would be to take the system offline first. Okay this is helpful. – Philip Isaacs Oct 27 '12 at 19:29
If the instance isn't EBS-backed, then you can't stop it, only terminate it. And you can't create an AMI from it after you've terminated it. – Mike Scott Oct 29 '12 at 6:23

You can modify the class of instance and upgrade to a larger one with more ram/cpu.

To do this you'll need to stop the instance, then select "Change Instance Type" and select the bigger instance class. Instance types are define at

I understand you don't want to shut it down because it's a production server, but it's a pretty quick process. If a few minutes of downtime isn't acceptable, you shouldn't be only running one server to start with.

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Indeed, two small instances and a load balancer gives you the same compute power as one medium instance but more resilience. It also gives you the ability to shut one of them down during the quiet times. If you are CPU-bound, the c1.medium instance would be worth a look. – Ladadadada Jan 5 '13 at 19:30

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