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It seems that by default EC2 instances get launched with an 8G EBS volume attached.

Is there an easy way to launch an instance with a bigger EBS volume?

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Sure - you can define the volume size at launch time. If you're using the web console, it's step 4 of the launch ec2 instance wizard ("Step 4: Add Storage"). Simply edit the "Size (GiB)" value for the root ebs volume and launch as you otherwise would.

The OS will come up with an 8gb filesystem on a volume of whatever size you specified - simply resize the filesystem (amazon linux defaults to ext4, so that'd be resize2fs /dev/xvda1 - amazon linux 2 defaults to xfs, so that'd be xfs_growfs /).

Voila

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