Create EC2 from snapshots and save on EBS costs

Published on September 4, 2018
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Many times we encounter situations where people stop the EC2 service thinking it will stop all cost, but fail to realize that the storage (EBS), networking components (IP) and other items can incur cost even when the EC2 isn’t running. The easiest way to lower your costs, if you need to restart the EC2 in the future is to bring the EC2 up from a snapshot. This way the EBS and IP costs do not incur, you incur a small cost for a snapshot which relative to EBS cost is fractional.

Once an EC2 is started it will begin incurring a cost due to its Compute component, so normally for started instances first you pay the compute price. On top of that, there is also the storage component and network (Elastic IP).

To avoid extra costs for unused EC2s it is recommended to stop that EC2 and start it whenever you plan to use it again. Problem is that the EBS that is being used by that instance will incur costs. In order to save some amount it is a good practice to create a snapshot of that EBS and whenever you need to start that instance again you start it from the snapshot.

In order to do that, steps are:

  1. Login into your AWS account then pick EC2 and also the desired region where you have the EC2 running;
  2. Pick the EC2 instance that is stopped then identify the root volume used by that instance by clicking in the Description tab on the Root device. Once clicked you will get a popup with the EBS ID used by that EC2;How to identify root volume
  3. Once you click on the EBS ID, you should be redirected to the Volumes page where you can see the name of the instance where that volume is attached;Volumes of an EBS
  4. Next step is to create a snapshot of that volume by going to Actions->Create Snapshot;how to create snapshot of an EBS
  5. In Create Snapshot screen set a description and click on Create Snapshot;create the snapshot of an EBS
  6. Next step might take some time depending on the size of the volume. On the left pick Snapshots and look for the Description that you have set. As long as the Status shows In progress and Progress is not 100% it means that the snapshot creating is being made;wait for snapshot being made
  7. Once finished Status changes to completed. This is the state the Snapshot can be preserved;snapshot completed
  8. To start the server from this EBS Snapshot first you need to create an AMI Image from Actions->Create image; create an AMI Image from
  9. Then in next section set a Name and pick Hardware-assisted virtualization in Virtualization type then click Create;pick Hardware-assisted virtualization
  10. Normally this process occurs instantly and once you switch to the AMIs page you should be able to see the newly created image;AMIs from image
  11. To start an instance from that image just click on Actions-> Launch. From this point onwards it is the normal process of starting a new instance where you have to pick the EC2 type, EBS size, Security group and so on;Launch via AMI

If you encounter an issue where you had issues with step 1 – 11 please reach out to us or add a comment and will add this to the FAQs. If you would like to partner with us and develop AWS open source scripts for these steps, reach out to us.

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