Amazon EC2 instance

An EC2 instance is a virtual server in Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) for running applications on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure.  

AWS is a comprehensive, evolving cloud computing platform; EC2 is a service that allows business subscribers to run application programs in the computing environment. The EC2 can serve as a practically unlimited set of virtual machines. 

Amazon provides a variety of types of instances with different configurations of CPU, memory, storage, and networking resources to suit user needs. Each type is also available in two different sizes to address workload requirements.

Instance types are grouped into families based on target application profiles. These groups include: general purpose, compute-optimized, GPU instances, memory optimized, storage optimized and micro instances.

Instances are created from Amazon Machine Images (AMI). The machine images are like templates that are configured with an operating system and other software, which determine the user’s operating environment. Users can select an AMI provided by AWS, the user community, or through the AWS Marketplace. Users can also create their own AMIs and share them.

This was last updated in April 2014

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