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Is there any way to create a link or "saved profile" for launching an EC2 instance with a given configuration?

I'm aware of the mechanism where you can create a link to launch a given AMI, i.e. http://console.aws.amazon.com/ec2/home?region=us-east-1#launchAmi=ami-XXXXXX. However, there are still a lot of configuration steps left (instance type, security group, etc).

Is there anyway to automate this process, in such a way that it can be launched by an arbitrary Amazon account?

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You should look into AWS CloudFormation.

The idea is that you create a JSON "template" document that describes the resources (EC2 instance, EBS volumnes, security groups, RDS services, etc) for a given "stack". The JSON document can be more-or-less independent of a specific account. You can also specify configuration prompts (which region to launch in, etc) to collect additional information from whomever is actually launching the stack.

From the AWS CloudFormation page:

Create additional stacks (if needed) by simply using existing templates you’ve created, choosing from one of our sample templates, or creating a new one from scratch. Since templates are text files that can be created and managed outside of CloudFormation, you can share them easily through email, source control repositories, or services such as Amazon S3.

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  • Good call, I hadn't thought of this.
    – ceejayoz
    Dec 19 '12 at 20:52

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