DevOps and Security Glossary Terms

Glossary Terms

What is AWS EC2 - definition & overview

In this article
What is AWS EC2?
What's the difference between EC2 and other Amazon AWS offerings?
The use and basics of AWS EC2
Amazon EC2 features
How does EC2 autoscaling work?
AWS EC2 benefits
Managing EC2 clusters with ECS
What is AWS EC2?
What's the difference between EC2 and other Amazon AWS offerings?
The use and basics of AWS EC2
Amazon EC2 features
How does EC2 autoscaling work?
AWS EC2 benefits
Managing EC2 clusters with ECS

What is AWS EC2?

Amazon Web Service EC2 (Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud), one of Amazon Web Services' most well-known services, offers businesses the ability to run applications on the public cloud. An EC2 instance is simply a virtual server in Amazon Web Services terminology. With an EC2 instance, AWS subscribers can request and provision a computer server within the AWS cloud.

Key takeaways

  • EC2 also allows users to build apps to automate scaling according to changing needs and peak periods. It makes deploying virtual servers and managing storage simple, lessening the need to invest in hardware and helping streamline development processes.
  • EC2 setup involves creating an Amazon Machine Image (AMI), which includes an operating system, apps, and configurations.
  • AWS provides an autoscaling service designed to provide automatic scalability for its various services, including EC2.

What's the difference between EC2 and other Amazon AWS offerings?

Amazon has several product offerings. Here we'll quickly describe the differences between EC2 and other AWS products like S3 and ECS.

EC2 and S3: Where EC2 is like a remote computer running Windows or Linux, S3 is simply a storage service for storing large binary files.

EC2 and ECS: AWS EC2 lets you launch several instances, whereas ECS is a container service similar to Docker. ECS allows you to launch container applications.

EC2 and Amazon EBS: Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) provides block-level storage volumes for an EC2 instance.

EC2 and AWS Lambda: AWS Lambda can be considered an EC2 Container Service (ECS) framework that uses containers to run a piece of code representing your application.

EC2 and Amazon RDS: Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) database instances are similar to Amazon EC2 instances because there are different families to suit different workloads. RDS automatically manages time-consuming tasks, such as configuration, backups, and patches, and the Amazon EC2 cloud computing platform lets you create as many virtual servers as you need.

EC2 and Amazon CloudWatch: The CloudWatch agent collects metrics and logs from Amazon EC2 instances and on-premises servers.

EC2 and Amazon Linux AMI: The Amazon Linux AMI is a supported and maintained Linux image provided by Amazon Web Services for use on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2).

The use and basics of AWS EC2

Is EC2 a virtual machine?

Developers can create virtual machine instances and easily configure models' capacity scaling using the EC2 web interface. An Amazon EC2 instance also allows users to build apps to automate scaling according to changing needs and peak periods. It makes deploying virtual servers and managing storage simple, requiring less hardware and helping streamline development processes

How is EC2 billed?

EC2 pricing depends on the hours and size of an instance, region, and operating system

How do you set up AWS EC2?

EC2 setup involves creating an Amazon Machine Image (AMI), which includes an operating system, apps, and configurations. That AMI is loaded to the Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) and registered with EC2. Users can then launch virtual machines as needed.

Amazon offers different instance types of EC2 for varying requirements and budgets in the AWS Marketplace, including hourly, reserved, and spot rates.

How many EC2 instances can you have per region?

AWS has a limit of 20 instances per region.

How much does a stopped EC2 instance cost?

Stopped EC2 instances do not incur any charges. However, you will be charged for Elastic IP addresses, EBS volume, or used S3 storage. You'll want to pause or delete these services to mitigate extra charges.

How to access the EC2 instance?

Connecting to your AWS EC2 console is very straightforward. You'll want to:

Begin by opening your Amazon EC2 console

Choose the instance that you want to connect to

Click "Connect"

How to add EBS volume to the EC2 instance?

Adding EBS volume to your EC2 instance is done in 4 steps.

In EC2, select Volumes

Choose your preferred size and type

Select your newly created volume, and right-click to attach the volume

Select the EC2 instance from the menu

What are the AWS EC2 instance sizes?

A1: a1.medium| a1.large | a1.xlarge | a1.2xlarge | a1.4xlarge | 1.metal

C4: c4.large | c4.xlarge | c4.2xlarge | c4.4xlarge | c4.8xlarge

C5: c5.large | c4.xlarge | c4.2xlarge | c5.4xlarge | c5.9xlarge | c5.12xlarge | c5.18xlarge | c5.24xlarge | c5.metal

C5a: c5a.large | c5a.xlarge | c5a.2xlarge | c5a.4xlarge | c5a.8xlarge | c5a.12xlarge | c5a.16xlarge | c5a.24xlarge

C5d: c5d.large | c5d.xlarge | c5d.2xlarge | c5d.4xlarge | c5d.9xlarge | c5d.12xlarge | c5d.18xlarge | c5d.24xlarge | c5d.metal

C5n: c5n.large | c5n.xlarge | c5n.2xlarge | c5n.4xlarge | c5n9xlarge | c5n.18xlarge | c5n.metal

C6g: c6g.medium | c6g.large | c6g.xlarge | c6g.2xlarge | c6g.4xlarge | c6g.8xlarge | c6g.12xlarge | c6g.16xlarge | c6g.metal

D2: d2.xlarge | d2.2xlarge | d2.4xlarge |d2.8xlarge

Are EC2 instances resizable?

You can resize instances in Amazon EC2 if the new instance types are compatible by:

Linux AMIs are paravirtual (PV) or hardware virtual machines (HVM). You cannot resize an instance launched as a PV to an instance of HVM.

New instance types can only launch to the same processor architecture. For example, 32-bit AMIs can only resize to other 32-bit instances.

You cannot resize to an EC2-Classic from newer instance types. More unique instance types must launch in a VPC. Enhanced networking requires necessary drivers, and you cannot resize to an instance that does not support them.

To resize to instances that use NVMe, you must first install the NVMe drivers on your existing instance.

Amazon EC2 features

Several benefits and features draw developers to EC2 for cloud computing. Chief among these are:

Responsiveness to changing capacity requirements: The easy scaling of EC2 eliminates development obstacles when applications require more resources.

Flexibility in configurations: Users can choose memory size, CPU, and boot partition size optimized for their OS.

Integration: EC2 can integrate with other AWS services, such as RDS, SimpleDB, and SQS.

Precise control: Users get administrative access to their instances, can stop and start instances while retaining boot partition data, and can access console output for the instance.

Security: Users can control which instances remain private and have internet exposure. EC2 leverages Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) for security, and businesses can connect their secure IT infrastructure to resources in VPC.

Cost: Among several pricing options, EC2 offers affordable hourly rates.

How does EC2 autoscaling work?

AWS provides an auto-scaling group service designed to provide automatic scalability for its various services, including EC2. Autoscaling ensures that you have enough EC2 instances to run applications, and before running a service, you designate autoscaling groups. These groups can have a minimum or a maximum number of EC2 instances that kick in automatically if an instance has an error or failure.

CPU credits are a form of currency that allows T2 instances to expand CPU performance beyond the standard baseline of EC2. T2 instances earn CPU credits every hour, equaling one full minute of the full CPU core. Once your T2 instance runs out of CPU credits, its performance reduces to the limited baseline.

AWS EC2 benefits

EC2 has several benefits. One of the main benefits of AWS EC2 is its elastic load balancing, which automatically distributes incoming application traffic across several instances while identifying unhealthy instances, and reroutes traffic to the healthy versions until restored.

Additional benefits include:

  • EC2 reduces the time to boot new servers
  • Scaling capacity based on changes to computing requirements
  • Complete control of servers
  • Flexibility with operating systems
  • Built-in security

Click here to learn more about Sumo Logic EC2 Container Monitoring Tools.

Managing EC2 clusters with ECS

The EC2 Container Service (ECS) uses EC2 instances for a quick and easy way to set up and scale a container cluster. Doing this removes the headaches involved with managing an internal cluster management infrastructure and makes it simple to establish containers as the foundation of an application. Explore the Sumo Logic app for real-time analysis of ECS data, which provides metrics collection from the instances of your choice.

Like EC2, the ECS service is easy to scale, so it can readily adapt to an application's changing capacity needs. It allows for scheduling ongoing batch processes, services and applications and offers integration through its API with other AWS products and external programs. Interested in learning more about AWS services? Click here to learn more about AWS Monitoring.


How can I choose the right EC2 instance type for my specific workload?

When selecting the optimal EC2 instance type for your workload, consider the following factors:

1. Compute requirements: Determine the CPU and memory resources your application requires to run efficiently.

2. Storage needs: Assess the amount of storage space and the performance characteristics (e.g., SSD, HDD) needed for your workload.

3. Networking requirements: Evaluate the network bandwidth and latency demands of your application.

4. Instance size: Choose between different instance sizes based on your workload's scalability and performance needs.

5. Specialized workloads: If your workload is specialized (e.g., for data science or machine learning), consider instances tailored for those tasks.

6. Cost considerations: Balance performance requirements with cost efficiency by selecting instances that meet your needs without unnecessary overhead.

By analyzing these factors, you can make an informed decision on the most suitable EC2 instance type for your specific workload.

What are the best practices for optimizing EC2 performance and managing resources effectively?

To optimize EC2 performance and manage resources effectively, follow these best practices:

1. Right-sizing: Choose the correct instance type based on your workload requirements to avoid underutilization or performance bottlenecks.

2. Monitor performance: Utilize Amazon CloudWatch to monitor CPU utilization, network traffic, and disk performance to identify any performance issues proactively.

3. Auto scaling: Set up auto-scaling groups to automatically adjust the number of EC2 instances based on traffic patterns to optimize performance and costs.

4. Use spot instances: Leverage EC2 Spot Instances for non-time-sensitive workloads to benefit from cost savings while maintaining performance.

5. Optimize storage: Utilize Amazon EBS and instance storage efficiently by choosing the appropriate type and size for your workload.

6. Networking optimization: Configure Security Groups and Network ACLs to secure your instances and manage network traffic effectively.

7. Update regularly: Keep your EC2 instances up to date with the latest patches and updates to ensure optimal performance and security.

8. Backup and restore: Implement regular backups of your data and create Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) for easy restoration in case of failures.

By following these best practices, you can enhance the performance of your EC2 instances and manage resources effectively to achieve optimal results for your workloads.

How can I enhance security within my EC2 instances using Security Groups and Amazon VPC?

To enhance security within your EC2 instances using Security Groups and Amazon VPC, follow these key steps:

1. Utilize security groups: Define security group rules to control inbound and outbound traffic to your EC2 instances based on protocols, ports, and IP addresses. Restrict access to only necessary resources to reduce the attack surface.

2. Implement network ACLs: Set up Network Access Control Lists (ACLs) at the subnet level to filter traffic and provide an additional layer of security for your VPC.

3. Follow least privilege principle: Grant only the minimum required permissions to each EC2 instance by configuring security group rules and avoid unnecessarily open ports or protocols.

4. Regularly review and update rules: Periodically review and update security group rules and network ACLs to ensure they align with your current security requirements and best practices.

5. Use bastion hosts: Employ bastion hosts to securely administer your EC2 instances in private subnets by controlling SSH or RDP access through the bastion host.

6. Monitor and log activities: Enable VPC Flow Logs to capture information about the IP traffic going to and from network interfaces in your VPC for security analysis and troubleshooting.

By implementing these security measures using Security Groups and Amazon VPC, you can enhance the protection of your EC2 instances against potential security threats and unauthorized access.

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