Amazon Machine Image: Simplify Cloud Management

What is Amazon Machine Image (AMI)?

A visual representation of working of an Amazon Machine Image (AMI)

An 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.

AMI 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 AMIs with security and other software updates.
Difference of versions of Amazon Machine Image

Types of AMI

You can select your Type of 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.

AMI best practices

  • 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: Simplify Cloud Management
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