What Will Happen When an Amazon EC2 Instance?

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When an Amazon EC2 instance is launched, it enters the running state based on the chosen Amazon Machine Image (AMI). If stopped, any data on the ephemeral storage is lost, but data on attached Amazon EBS volumes remains intact. Rebooting an instance doesn’t affect the data on attached EBS volumes. When an instance is terminated, it’s permanently deleted, and any attached EBS volumes with the DeleteOnTermination block device mapping parameter set to true are also deleted.


Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a critical component of Amazon Web Services (AWS) that offers scalable computing capacity in the cloud. EC2 has revolutionized how companies of all sizes deploy, scale, and manage applications and services. But what happens when an Amazon EC2 instance is launched, stopped, or terminated? This comprehensive guide will answer these questions and more, providing a deep dive into the world of Amazon EC2 instances.

What is an Amazon EC2 Instance?

An Amazon EC2 instance is a virtual server in Amazon’s cloud computing platform, used for running applications on the AWS infrastructure. It provides on-demand, scalable computing capacity, allowing businesses to develop and deploy applications faster without upfront investment in hardware.

EC2 instances are created from Amazon Machine Images (AMIs), which are preconfigured templates that package the components needed for a server, including the operating system and additional software. AWS offers various types of instances with different configurations of CPU, memory, storage, and networking resources to suit user needs.

The Lifecycle of an Amazon EC2 Instance

Understanding what happens when you launch, stop, or terminate an EC2 instance is essential.

Launching an EC2 Instance

When you launch an instance, it enters the running state. You can choose the instance type and the Amazon Machine Image (AMI), which forms the basis of your virtual server.

Stopping an EC2 Instance

When you stop an instance, any data on the ephemeral storage of your instance is lost. However, the data on any attached Amazon EBS volumes remains intact, and the instance retains its ID.

Rebooting an EC2 Instance

Rebooting an instance is similar to rebooting an operating system; the instance remains in the running state, and the data on attached EBS volumes is not affected.

Terminating an EC2 Instance

When you terminate an instance, it is permanently deleted, and any attached EBS volumes with the DeleteOnTermination block device mapping parameter set to true are also deleted.

Types of Amazon EC2 Instances

Amazon offers a variety of EC2 instances, each designed for specific workloads and use cases:

1. General Purpose Instances: Suitable for applications like web servers and code repositories.

2. Compute Optimized Instances: Ideal for compute-intensive workloads like batch processing and gaming.

3. Memory Optimized Instances: Designed for memory-intensive applications like real-time big data analytics.

4. Storage Optimized Instances: Perfect for workloads requiring high, sequential read and write access to large datasets.

5. Accelerated Computing Instances: These instances use hardware accelerators or co-processors to perform functions such as floating-point number calculations, graphics processing, or data pattern matching more efficiently.

Setting Up an Amazon EC2 Instance

Setting up an EC2 instance involves selecting the desired AMI, choosing an instance type, configuring instance details, adding storage, configuring a security group, and then launching the instance. This process can be done through the AWS Management Console or the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI).

Security Measures for EC2 Instances

Amazon EC2 instances are designed to be secure. AWS provides several measures to ensure the security of data, including data encryption, infrastructure security, controlling network access, IAM roles, regular updates and patches, monitoring and logging, and protection from cloud operators.

Scaling Amazon EC2 Instances

To match the growing needs of a business, you can scale an EC2 instance using Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling. This service maintains application availability and automatically adjusts capacity to maintain steady, predictable performance at the lowest possible cost.


Amazon EC2 instances provide a flexible, cost-effective, and secure way to run applications in the cloud. Understanding the lifecycle of an EC2 instance, the different types of instances available, how to set them up, secure them, and scale them is essential for leveraging the full potential of AWS’s cloud computing capabilities. By following best practices and utilizing the robust features provided by AWS, you can ensure the efficient operation of your EC2 instances and the security of your data.

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