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Amazon Machine Image (AMI) | How It Works In Detail

Basically, a virtual machine image is a template for creating new instances like in the case of Amazon Machine Image (AMI). Whereby, you can choose images from a catalog to create images or save your own images from running instances.

In reality, specialists in those platforms often create catalog images, making sure that they are created with the proper patches. And that any software is installed and configured with good default settings.

Above all, the images can be plain operating systems or can have the software installed on them. Such as databases, application servers, or other applications.

Amazon Machine Images (AMI)

Not forgetting, images usually remove some data related to runtime operations. Such as swap data and configuration files with embedded IP addresses or hostnames.

You can deregister an AMI when you have finished with it. After you deregister an AMI, it can’t be used to launch new instances. Existing instances launched from the AMI are not affected. For more information, see Deregistering Your Linux AMI.

What is the Amazon Machine Image (AMI)?

An Amazon Machine Image (AMI) provides the information required to launch an instance. But, you must specify an AMI when you launch an instance.

For instance, you can launch multiple instances from a single AMI when you need multiple instances with the same configuration. And you can use different AMIs to launch instances when you need instances with different configurations.

Read also more about Amazon EC2: (Secure and resizable compute capacity in the cloud. Launch applications when needed without upfront commitments.)

An AMI includes the following:
  • One or more EBS snapshots, or, for instance-store-backed AMIs, a template for the root volume of the instance (for example, an operating system, an application server, and applications).
  • Launch permissions that control which AWS accounts can use the AMI to launch instances.
  • A block device mapping that specifies the volumes to attach to the instance when it’s launched.
The following diagram summarizes the AMI lifecycle.

Whereby, after you create and register an AMI, you can use it to launch new instances. (And you can also launch instances from an AMI if the AMI owner grants you launch permissions.)

You can also copy an AMI within the same region or to different regions. When you no longer require an AMI, you can deregister it.

Amazon Machine Images (AMI)

By the same token, you can search for an AMI that meets the criteria for your instance. You can search for AMIs provided by AWS or AMIs provided by the community. For more information, see AMI Types and Finding a Linux AMI. After you launch an instance from an AMI, you can connect to it.

When you are connected to an instance, you can use it just like you use any other server. For information about launching, connecting, and using your instance, see Amazon EC2 Instances.

How do I Create my Own AMI?

You can launch an instance from an existing AMI, customize the instance, and then save this updated configuration as a custom AMI. Instances launched from this new custom AMI include the customizations that you made when you created the AMI.

The root storage device of the instance determines the process you follow to create an AMI. The root volume of an instance is either an Amazon EBS volume or an instance store volume. For information, see Amazon EC2 Root Device Volume.

Amazon Machine Image (AMI)

Eventually, to create an Amazon EBS-backed AMI, see Creating an Amazon EBS-Backed Linux AMI. And to create an instance store-backed AMI, see Creating an Instance Store-Backed Linux AMI.

In addition, to help categorize and manage your AMIs, you can assign custom tags to them. And in that case, for more information, see Tagging Your Amazon EC2 Resources.

Buying, Sharing, and Selling AMIs

After you create an AMI, you can keep it private so that only you can use it, or you can share it with a specified list of AWS accounts.

You can also make your custom AMI public so that the community can use it. Building a safe, secure, usable AMI for public consumption is a fairly straightforward process if you follow a few simple guidelines. For information about how to create and use shared AMIs, see Shared AMIs.

You can purchase AMIs from a third party, including AMIs that come with service contracts from organizations such as Red Hat. You can also create an AMI and sell it to other Amazon EC2 users. For more information about buying or selling AMIs, see Paid AMIs.

Amazon Linux 2 and Amazon Linux AMI

The following are some of the features of Amazon Linux 2 and Amazon Linux AMI as provided by AWS:

  • A stable, secure, and high-performance execution environment for apps running on Amazon EC2.
  • Provided at no additional charge to Amazon EC2 users.
  • Repository access to multiple versions of MySQL, PostgreSQL, Python, Ruby, Tomcat, and many more common packages.
  • Updated on a regular basis to include the latest components, and these updates are also made available in the yum repositories for installation on running instances.
  • Includes packages that enable easy integration with AWS services, such as the AWS CLI, Amazon EC2 API, and AMI tools, the Boto library for Python, and the Elastic Load Balancing tools.

For more information, see Amazon Linux.

Is the Amazon Machine Image (AMI) useful?

Of course, image development is becoming a larger and more specialized area. As an example, one of the outstanding features of the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise is the image asset catalog.

The asset catalog stores a set of additional data about images. Including a “Getting Started” page, a parameter file that specifies additional parameters needed when creating an instance, and additional files to inject into the instance at startup.

It also hosts forums related to assets. To enable feedback and questions from users of images to the people who created those images.

Saving your own images from running instances is easy, but making images that other people use requires more effort; the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise asset catalog provides you with tools to do this.

Read Also: IBM SmartCloud Enterprise | How Do You Get Started?

Because many users share clouds, the cloud helps you track information about images, such as ownership, history, and so on. The IBM SmartCloud Enterprise knows what organization you belong to when you log in.

You can choose whether to keep images private, exclusively for your own use or to share with other users in your organization. And if you are an independent software vendor, you can also add your images to the public catalog. Some differences between Linux and Windows exist.

The file-like description of the Linux operating system makes it easy to prepare for virtualization. An image can be manipulated as a file system even when the instance is not running. Different files, such as a user’s public SSH key and runtime parameters, can be injected into the image before booting it.

Cloud operators take advantage of this for ease of development and to make optimizations. The same method of manipulating files systems without booting the OS cannot be done in Windows.


By all means, I hope the above-revised guide on Amazon Machine Image (AMI) towards your brand, product or business cloud computing needs was helpful and supportive enough.

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Having said that, below are more useful and related to the topic blog links;

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