Amazon Machine Image

What is Amazon Machine Image (AMI)

An Amazon Machine Image (AMI) is a special type of pre-configured virtual machine image that is used to create virtual servers
(EC2 instances) in the AWS environment. You must specify an AMI during the launch of EC2 instance. This is a faster way to setup an EC2 instance with pre-configured software, no manual setup is required. Multiple EC2 instances can be launched from a single AMI.

Amazon Machine Image Includes the following :

  • A template for the root volume of the instance (for example operating system, application server, and other applications).
  • Launch permissions that control which Amazon Web Services (AWS) accounts can use the machine images to setup an instance.
  • A block device that specifies the root volume to attach to the instance when it’s launched.
  • You can keep incremental changes to your OS, Application code, and system software packages using AMIs.
  • Using System Manager Automation, you can patch your Amazon Machine Image (AMIs) with security and other software updates.

AMI Types

You can select your AMI’s based on:

  • Region
  • Operating system
  • Architecture (32-bit or 64-bit)
  • Storage for the Root Device(Backed by Amazon EBS or instance store)
  • Launch Permissions
    • Launch permissions fall into the following categories:
      • Public: The owner grants launch permissions to all AWS accounts.
      • Explicit: The owner grants launch permissions to specific AWS accounts.
      • Implicit: The owner has implicit launch permissions for an AMI.

Best practices for building AMIs

  • Ensure that your AMI should meet all AWS Marketplace policies, including disabling root login.
  • You can create your AMI in any AWS region but it is recommended to create in the US East (N. Virginia) Region.
  • Build AMIs using the latest version of operating systems, packages, and software.
  • All AMIs must start with a public AMI that uses hardware virtual machine (HVM) virtualization and 64-bit architecture.
  • To keep AMIs updated, develop a repeatable process for building, updating, and republishing AMIs.
  • Use a consistent operating system (OS) username across all versions and products. AWS recommends ec2-user.
  • Test all installation methods, features, and performance before AMI submission to AWS Marketplace.
  • Clearly define the AMI lifecycle provided by trusted, reputable sources such as AWS Marketplace.
  • Check the following port settings
    • Linux-based AMIs – Ensure that a valid SSH port (default SSH port 22) is open.
    • Windows-based AMIs – Ensure that an RDP port (default RDP port is 3389) is open.
Amazon Machine Image
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