EC2 is an AWS web service that provides scalable and resizable compute capacity in the cloud. Using Amazon EC2 eliminates your need to invest in hardware upfront, so you can develop and deploy applications faster. You can use Amazon EC2 to launch as many or as few virtual servers as you need, configure security and networking, and manage storage. Amazon EC2 enables you to scale up or down to handle changes in requirements or spikes in popularity, reducing your need to forecast traffic.

EC2 Options

On-Demand – allows to pay a fixed rate by the hour with no upfront commitment.

Reserved – provides you with a capacity reservation and offer a discount on the hourly charge for an instance. This requires an upfront commitment.

Spot – enables you to bid whatever price you like for an instance. This is a great fit if your application is flexible with start and end time. If a sport instance is terminated by AWS you will be charged for a partial hour of usage. However, if you terminate it yourself then you will be charged the full hour.

Dedicated Hosts – physical servers dedicated for your use. This can help you reduce cost as you will use your own software license.

EC2 Instance Types – FIGHT MC PIX
F – FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array)
I – IOPS (High-Speed Storage)
G – Graphics Intensive
H – High disk throughput
D – Density (Dense Storage)
M – Main choice for general-purpose apps
C – Compute (Compute Optimize)
P – Graphics (think pics) (General Purpose GPU)
X – Extreme Memory


Amazon EBS allows you to create storage volumes and attach them to EC2 instances. Once attached, you can create a file system on top of these volumes such as installing a database. EBS volumes are placed in multiple AZ to protect you from data loss.

EBS Types

  • General Purpose SSD – General purpose SSD volume that balances price and performance for a wide variety of workloads.
  • Provisioned IOPS SSD – Highest-performance SSD volume for mission-critical low-latency or high-throughput workloads. It is designed for high-intensity applications such as SQL or NoSQL database servers.
  • Throughput Optimized HDD – Low-cost HDD volume designed for frequently accessed, throughput-intensive workloads. It can handle big data and data warehousing. It can’t be a boot volume.
  • Cold HDD – Lowest cost HDD volume designed for less frequently accessed workloads. It can’t be a boot volume. It can be a file server.
  • Magnetic – Lowest cost per gigabyte of all EBS types that is bootable. Magnetic volumes are a good fit for data that is accessed infrequently.

Best Practices

  • Use instance storage to store temporary data.
  • Understand the implications of the root device type for data persistence, backup, and recovery.
  • Use separate Amazon EBS volumes for the operating system versus your data. Ensure that the volume with your data persists after instance termination.
  • Use the instance store available for your instance to store temporary data. Remember that the data stored in instance store is deleted when you stop or terminate your instance.
  • Regularly patch, update, and secure the operating system and applications on your instance.
  • Implement the least permissive rules for your security group.
  • Manage access to AWS resources and APIs using identity federation, IAM users, and IAM roles. Establish credential management policies and procedures for creating, distributing, rotating, and revoking AWS access credentials.
  • View your current limits for Amazon EC2. Plan to request any limit increases in advance of the time that you’ll need them.
  • Ensure that you are prepared to handle failover. For a basic solution, you can manually attach a network interface or Elastic IP address to a replacement instance.
  • Regularly test the process of recovering your instances and Amazon EBS volumes if they fail.
  • Deploy critical components of your application across multiple Availability Zones, and replicate your data appropriately.
  • Regularly back up your EBS volumes.

AWS EC2 Developer Guide

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