Light on Dark -:- User Guides

Create a Server Image

OK, we have a working server, so let’s save our work by creating a new image.  We will explain what you can do with this later.

Log in to the AWS management console, make sure you are on the 'instances' tab and you have the correct instance selected, and click 'Instance Actions'. As with most things in the AWS management console, you can also do this by right clicking on the instance – you will get a similar menu.
Instance Actions

This will pop up a box showing the instance ID and that very useful tag name we entered earlier, and it lets us enter an image name and description. Note that creating an image actually snapshots the attached EBS volumes, and the snapshots will automatically be attached to any new servers based on this image. In this first picture, only the default (8 GB) volume is shown.
Image Name

If you have added extra disk, it will look like this:
Extra Disks

Note the default disk will just disappear on termination, so this is not a good place to store anything – unless it is backed up regularly. This is particularly a problem for your database, which in this install is held on the default disk – you will lose data in the event of a server crash.

Having filled in the name and description, click 'create this image' to proceed
Create Image

Here we can see the new image being created, notice status is pending. What is actually happening here is the server is being shut down to ensure all files are closed, a snapshot is taken of the default EBS volume and this is stored as the AMI (note this is the AMIs page we are looking at, as you can see on the left)
Pending Image

Here we can see one of those design glitches which occasionally happen when products evolve. When we created this image, we were required to give it a name, but if you notice that name column in the above image says 'empty'. This is because the name column is consistent across all screens, and is actually looking for a tag called 'name'. If we look at the details for this AMI,
AMI Name

we can see it has a name, and the name has actually been displayed in the 'source' column, along with the owners reference. In order to avoid confusion in future, copy the AMI name into the name column – you can paste it straight into the column just by clicking on it.It will then look like this:
AMI name

If we go to the snapshots page, we can see the snapshots created as well.
Snapshots view

Snapshots are stored in S3, but you would normally manage them through the snapshots screen here in AWS management console. If you remember, there is an allowance in the free tier for S3, but this is only 5 GB, so storing several snapshots may end up costing you some money – possibly as much as $2 per image per month. I will let you know better, once I receive my first bill.

What next

You should reimage your server whenever you make any changes to it, such as installing extra software or security updates. Images are incremental, so several images should not take up a great deal of space (at least, that's what AWS say!), but remember your server will be off line for a minute or two each time.

just making sure we have a vertical scroll bar, otherwise it jitters sideways.