So with an Amazon EC2 isntance, I am correct in thinking that when the instance is stopped, then everything that isn't bundled with the AMI is gone forever?

So lets assuming that I am wanting to provide some hosting services, and install a tonne of sites.

Lets take this hypothetical.. as in I want to install a tonne of Drupal sites... how do I actually do this? If I shut down the instance I lose all of my files. The databases aren't an issue. I can use RDS for that, but the actual site files?


In EC2, there's three operations:

Start, stop, terminate.

to 'Stop', you'd simply be turning the machine off, in a sense. The data is still there, the AMI image doesn't reset itself as you might've suggested.

If you 'terminate', that will destroy the instance including the data (Unless you're leveraging EBS)

One side effect of starting and stopping instances in EC2, is their EC2/public ARPA-style address changes, unless you associate an elastic IP with the instance/s.

  • Not sure this answer helps me understand my question. Or does it? Are you saying that my usecase require Elastic Beanstalk? if I use EBS then is my instance save data secured against loss? – Laykes Jun 7 '11 at 23:13
  • Sorry I was still adding on after re-reading - if you "terminate" an instance and you are -not- using EBS for your image or data, then your data will be lost. For example: A micro EC2 instance runs on EBS only. So if you 'terminate' the instance, the EBS volume is still present; your data is not lost - however you won't be able to bind a new EC2 instance to that volume, you can only mount it. – thinice Jun 7 '11 at 23:16
  • Ah, EBS = Elastic Block Storage, not Elastic Beanstalk. Too many TLAs for my liking! How will I know if my micro EC2 instance (that I set up for free uses EBS). I don't want to stop the instance and see that the instance has lost my entire set up. It took me 6 hours to configure everything – Laykes Jun 7 '11 at 23:18
  • If you're still learning the ropes with AWS/EC2, I'd say you probably don't need elastic beanstalk. I'd suggest you simply test with some small/micro instances. Launch one, tinker with it by stop/start/terminate, watch what happens to EBS volumes, etc. – thinice Jun 7 '11 at 23:18
  • Edited my comment above.. also where can I view my EBS volumes? – Laykes Jun 7 '11 at 23:21

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