What is AWS AMI?

Last Update: July 23, 2024 Post Views: 400

An Amazon Machine Image (AMI) also known as AWS AMI is a template that contains a software configuration (for example, an operating system, an application server, and applications). From an AMI, you launch an instance, which is a copy of the AMI running as a virtual server in the cloud. An Amazon Machine Image (AMI) provides the information required to launch an instance. You must specify an AMI when you launch an instance. You can launch multiple instances from a single AMI when you need multiple instances with the same configuration.

AMI, or Amazon Machine Image, is also known as AWS AMI.

In the Amazon Web Services (AWS) environment, an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) creates virtual servers called EC2 instances.

You can launch a particular instance based on the root volume template with an AMI. The root volume template will typically contain operating systems, application servers, and applications.

Instances are launched from AMIs after they are created and registered. After copying an AMI to another region, it can be de-registered.

You can launch multiple instances using the same AMI when the configuration for each is the same. There is an option to launch instances with different configurations based on various AMIs.

Types of Amazon Machine Images​

AWS AMI Images come in three types that everyone is familiar with:

  • Public: An AMI that is available to everyone.
  • Paid: An AMI that anyone can purchase through Amazon DevPay and access.
  • Shared: AMI is accessible only to Amazon EC2 users to whom the developer has permitted access.

Types of AWS AMI​

The following features make it possible to select an AMI.

  • It promotes fault tolerance and stability by making each region distinct from the others. Your account will determine the areas available to you.

AMIs in that area can be used to create EC2 instances. To install any other AMI from another region, you may have to copy it to your part.

  • Operating System – AWS offers a variety of operating systems such as Linux, macOS, Raspbian, and Windows Server.
  • Architecture – A user can select from 32-bit or 64-bit versions of the application.
  • Provides launch permission, which allows the AMI owner to specify the availability. There are three different types of launch permissions.
    • Public - Anyone can use AMI.
    • Explicit - A user can grant permissions direct to another user.
    • Implicit - The administrator of an AMI has full control over the launch.
  • Storage For the Root Device
  • Root device storage creates two different types of AMIs.
  • Based on Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) - An AMI classified as backing Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) means that the instance launched from an AMAZON AMI is a standalone instance that runs on the Amazon Elastic Block Store.
  • When an instance store backs an instance, the root device launched from the AMI is a volume created from an Amazon S3 template.


Difference b/w Instance store & EBS - Backed instance​


LifecycleAllows the user to stop and restart instances by saving the state on an EBS volume.If such a state is saved, an instance cannot be stopped. If it is running, or if it is terminated, it cannot be stopped.
Data PersistenceData persists in EBS volume. No data is lost when instances are terminated.When an instance is terminated, data is lost because the data does not persist.
Boot timeIs less than one minute.Most of the time, it takes less than five minutes.
Size limit1 TB10 - 16 TB
AMI creationAMI is extremely easy using just a single command.AMI tools must be installed in order to create an AMI.
ExpensiveIt is less expensive.However, it is more expensive than instances backed by the instance store.

 Buying, Selling and Deregistering AWS AMIs​

AMIs are private so that only their owners can use them or share them with specific AWS accounts. Alternatively, AMIs can be made public so that anyone can use them.

A shared AMI must be used at the user's own risk, as Amazon cannot guarantee the integrity or security of publicly shared AMIs. An AMI shared over the internet should be treated as any other foreign code, and users are responsible for performing their due diligence before using a publicly available AMI.

You can also purchase AMIs from a third party, including those that come with service contracts from companies such as Red Hat, a Linux distribution based on the Linux kernel.
The deregistration of an AMI will not affect the current instance; however, it cannot be used to launch new models. AMI instances that are already running will not be affected and will continue to be charged. It means that it should be closed when an instance is no longer needed.

Learn More About AWS AMI​

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