Copy an AMI - Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
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Copy an AMI

You can copy an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) within or across Amazon Regions. You can copy both Amazon EBS-backed AMIs and instance store-backed AMIs. You can copy EBS-backed AMIs with encrypted snapshots, and also change encryption status during the copy process. You can copy AMIs that are shared with you.

Copying a source AMI results in an identical but distinct new AMI that we also refer to as the target AMI. The target AMI has its own unique AMI ID. You can change or deregister the source AMI with no effect on the target AMI. The reverse is also true.

With an EBS-backed AMI, each of its backing snapshots is copied to an identical but distinct target snapshot. If you copy an AMI to a new Region, the snapshots are complete (non-incremental) copies. If you encrypt unencrypted backing snapshots or encrypt them to a new KMS key, the snapshots are complete (non-incremental) copies. Subsequent copy operations of an AMI result in incremental copies of the backing snapshots.

Considerations

  • Permission to copy AMIs – You can use IAM policies to grant or deny users permission to copy AMIs. Resource-level permissions specified for the CopyImage action apply only to the new AMI. You cannot specify resource-level permissions for the source AMI.

  • Launch permissions and Amazon S3 bucket permissions – Amazon does not copy launch permissions or Amazon S3 bucket permissions from the source AMI to the new AMI. After the copy operation is complete, you can apply launch permissions and Amazon S3 bucket permissions to the new AMI.

  • Tags – You can only copy user-defined AMI tags that you attached to the source AMI. System tags (prefixed with aws:) and user-defined tags that are attached by other Amazon Web Services accounts will not be copied. When copying an AMI, you can attach new tags to the target AMI and its backing snapshots.

Costs

There are no charges for copying an AMI. However, standard storage and data transfer rates apply. If you copy an EBS-backed AMI, you will incur charges for the storage of any additional EBS snapshots.

IAM permissions

To copy an EBS-backed or instance store-backed AMI, you need the following IAM permissions:

  • ec2:CopyImage – To copy the AMI. For EBS-backed AMIs, it also grants permission to copy the AMI's backing snapshots.

  • ec2:CreateTags – To tag the target AMI. For EBS-backed AMIs, it also grants permission to tag the target AMI’s backing snapshots.

If you're copying an instance stored-backed AMI, you need the following additional IAM permissions:

  • s3:CreateBucket – To create the S3 bucket in the target Region for the new AMI

  • s3:GetBucketAcl – To read the ACL permissions for the source bucket

  • s3:ListAllMyBuckets – To find an existing S3 bucket for AMIs in the target Region

  • s3:GetObject – To read the objects in the source bucket

  • s3:PutObject – To write the objects in the target bucket

  • s3:PutObjectAcl – To write the permissions for the new objects in the target bucket

Example IAM policy for copying an EBS-backed AMI and tagging the target AMI and snapshots

The following example policy grants you permission to copy any EBS-backed AMI and tag the target AMI and its backing snapshots.

{ "Version": "2012-10-17", "Statement": [{ "Sid": "PermissionToCopyAllImages", "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "ec2:CopyImage", "ec2:CreateTags" ], "Resource": "arn:aws:ec2:*::image/*" }] }

Example IAM policy for copying an EBS-backed AMI but denying tagging the new snapshots

The ec2:CopySnapshot permission is automatically granted when you get the ec2:CopyImage permission. This includes the permission to tag the new backing snapshots of the target AMI. Permission to tag the new backing snapshots can be explicitly denied.

The following example policy grants you permission to copy any EBS-backed AMI, but denies you from tagging the new backing snapshots of the target AMI.

{ "Version": "2012-10-17", "Statement": [{ "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "ec2:CopyImage", "ec2:CreateTags" ], "Resource": "arn:aws:ec2:*::image/*" }, { "Effect": "Deny", "Action": "ec2:CreateTags", "Resource": "arn:aws:ec2:::snapshot/*" } ] }

Example IAM policy for copying an instance store-backed AMI and tagging the target AMI

The following example policy grants you permission to copy any instance store-backed AMI in the specified source bucket to the specified Region, and tag the target AMI.

{ "Version": "2012-10-17", "Statement": [{ "Sid": "PermissionToCopyAllImages", "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "ec2:CopyImage", "ec2:CreateTags" ], "Resource": "arn:aws:ec2:*::image/*" }, { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": "s3:ListAllMyBuckets", "Resource": [ "arn:aws:s3:::*" ] }, { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": "s3:GetObject", "Resource": [ "arn:aws:s3:::ami-source-bucket/*" ] }, { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "s3:CreateBucket", "s3:GetBucketAcl", "s3:PutObjectAcl", "s3:PutObject" ], "Resource": [ "arn:aws:s3:::amis-for-account-in-region-hash" ] } ] }

To find the Amazon Resource Name (ARN) of the AMI source bucket, open the Amazon EC2 console at https://console.amazonaws.cn/ec2/, in the navigation pane choose AMIs, and locate the bucket name in the Source column.

Note

The s3:CreateBucket permission is only needed the first time that you copy an instance store-backed AMI to an individual Region. After that, the Amazon S3 bucket that is already created in the Region is used to store all future AMIs that you copy to that Region.

Copy an AMI

You can copy an AMI using the Amazon Web Services Management Console, the Amazon Command Line Interface or SDKs, or the Amazon EC2 API, all of which support the CopyImage action.

Prerequisite

Create or obtain an AMI to copy. Note that you can use the Amazon EC2 console to search a wide variety of AMIs provided by Amazon. For more information, see Create a custom Windows AMI and Finding an AMI.

Console
To copy an AMI
  1. Open the Amazon EC2 console at https://console.amazonaws.cn/ec2/.

  2. From the console navigation bar, select the Region that contains the AMI.

  3. In the navigation pane, choose AMIs to display the list of AMIs available to you in the Region.

  4. If you don't see the AMI you want to copy, choose a different filter. You can filter by AMIs Owned by me, Private images, Public images, and Disabled images.

  5. Select the AMI to copy, and then choose Actions, Copy AMI.

  6. On the Copy AMI page, specify the following information:

    1. AMI copy name: A name for the new AMI. You can include the operating system information in the name because Amazon EC2 does not provide this information when displaying details about the AMI.

    2. AMI copy description: By default, the description includes information about the source AMI so that you can distinguish a copy from its original. You can change this description as needed.

    3. Destination Region: The Region in which to copy the AMI. For more information, see Cross-Region copying.

    4. Copy tags: Select this check box to include your user-defined AMI tags when copying the AMI. System tags (prefixed with aws:) and user-defined tags that are attached by other Amazon Web Services accounts will not be copied.

    5. (EBS-backed AMIs only) Encrypt EBS snapshots of AMI copy: Select this check box to encrypt the target snapshots, or to re-encrypt them using a different key. If encryption by default is enabled, the Encrypt EBS snapshots of AMI copy check box is selected and cannot be cleared. For more information, see Encryption and copying.

    6. (EBS-backed AMIs only) KMS key: The KMS key to used to encrypt the target snapshots.

    7. Tags: You can tag the new AMI and the new snapshots with the same tags, or you can tag them with different tags.

      • To tag the new AMI and the new snapshots with the same tags, choose Tag image and snapshots together. The same tags are applied to the new AMI and every snapshot that is created.

      • To tag the new AMI and the new snapshots with different tags, choose Tag image and snapshots separately. Different tags are applied to the new AMI and the snapshots that are created. Note, however, that all the new snapshots that are created get the same tags; you can't tag each new snapshot with a different tag.

      To add a tag, choose Add tag, and enter the key and value for the tag. Repeat for each tag.

    8. When you're ready to copy the AMI, choose Copy AMI.

      The initial status of the new AMI is Pending. The AMI copy operation is complete when the status is Available.

Amazon CLI
To copy an AMI using the Amazon CLI

You can copy an AMI using the copy-image command. You must specify both the source and destination Regions. You specify the source Region using the --source-region parameter. You can specify the destination Region using either the --region parameter or an environment variable. For more information, see Configuring the Amazon Command Line Interface.

(EBS-backed AMIs only) When you encrypt a target snapshot during copying, you must specify these additional parameters: --encrypted and --kms-key-id.

For example commands, see the Examples under copy-image in the Amazon CLI Command Reference.

PowerShell
To copy an AMI using the Tools for Windows PowerShell

You can copy an AMI using the Copy-EC2Image command. You must specify both the source and destination Regions. You specify the source Region using the -SourceRegion parameter. You can specify the destination Region using either the -Region parameter or the Set-AWSDefaultRegion command. For more information, see Specifying Amazon Regions.

(EBS-backed AMIs only) When you encrypt a target snapshot during copying, you must specify these additional parameters: -Encrypted and -KmsKeyId.

Stop a pending AMI copy operation

You can stop a pending AMI copy using the Amazon Web Services Management Console or the command line.

Console
To stop an AMI copy operation using the console
  1. Open the Amazon EC2 console at https://console.amazonaws.cn/ec2/.

  2. From the navigation bar, select the destination Region from the Region selector.

  3. In the navigation pane, choose AMIs.

  4. Select the AMI to stop copying, and then choose Actions, Deregister AMI.

  5. When asked for confirmation, choose Deregister AMI.

Command line
To stop an AMI copy operation using the command line

You can use one of the following commands. For more information about these command line interfaces, see Access Amazon EC2.

Cross-Region copying

Copying an AMI across geographically diverse Regions provides the following benefits:

  • Consistent global deployment: Copying an AMI from one Region to another enables you to launch consistent instances in different Regions based on the same AMI.

  • Scalability: You can more easily design and build global applications that meet the needs of your users, regardless of their location.

  • Performance: You can increase performance by distributing your application, as well as locating critical components of your application in closer proximity to your users. You can also take advantage of Region-specific features, such as instance types or other Amazon services.

  • High availability: You can design and deploy applications across Amazon Regions, to increase availability.

The following diagram shows the relationship between a source AMI and two copied AMIs in different Regions, as well as the EC2 instances launched from each. When you launch an instance from an AMI, it resides in the same Region where the AMI resides. If you make changes to the source AMI and want those changes to be reflected in the AMIs in the target Regions, you must recopy the source AMI to the target Regions.

AMIs copied in different Regions

When you first copy an instance store-backed AMI to a Region, we create an Amazon S3 bucket for the AMIs copied to that Region. All instance store-backed AMIs that you copy to that Region are stored in this bucket. The bucket names have the following format: amis-for-account-in-region-hash. For example: amis-for-123456789012-in-us-west-2-yhjmxvp6.

Prerequisite

Prior to copying an AMI, you must ensure that the contents of the source AMI are updated to support running in a different Region. For example, you should update any database connection strings or similar application configuration data to point to the appropriate resources. Otherwise, instances launched from the new AMI in the destination Region might still use the resources from the source Region, which can impact performance and cost.

Limitations
  • Destination Regions are limited to 100 concurrent AMI copies.

Cross-account copying

You can share an AMI with another Amazon account. Sharing an AMI does not affect the ownership of the AMI. The owning account is charged for the storage in the Region. For more information, see Share an AMI with specific Amazon accounts.

If you copy an AMI that has been shared with your account, you are the owner of the target AMI in your account. The owner of the source AMI is charged standard Amazon EBS or Amazon S3 transfer fees, and you are charged for the storage of the target AMI in the destination Region.

Resource permissions

To copy an AMI that was shared with you from another account, the owner of the source AMI must grant you read permissions for the storage that backs the AMI. The storage is either the associated EBS snapshot (for an Amazon EBS-backed AMI) or an associated S3 bucket (for an instance store-backed AMI). If the shared AMI has encrypted snapshots, the owner must share the key or keys with you as well. For more information about granting resource permissions, for EBS snapshots, see Share an Amazon EBS snapshot in the Amazon EBS User Guide, and for S3 buckets, see Identity and access management in Amazon S3 in the Amazon Simple Storage Service User Guide.

Note

To copy an AMI with its tags, you must have launch permissions for the source AMI.

Encryption and copying

The following table shows encryption support for various AMI-copying scenarios. While it is possible to copy an unencrypted snapshot to yield an encrypted snapshot, you cannot copy an encrypted snapshot to yield an unencrypted one.

Scenario Description Supported
1 Unencrypted-to-unencrypted Yes
2 Encrypted-to-encrypted Yes
3 Unencrypted-to-encrypted Yes
4 Encrypted-to-unencrypted No
Note

Encrypting during the CopyImage action applies only to Amazon EBS-backed AMIs. Because an instance store-backed AMI does not rely on snapshots, you cannot use copying to change its encryption status.

By default (i.e., without specifying encryption parameters), the backing snapshot of an AMI is copied with its original encryption status. Copying an AMI backed by an unencrypted snapshot results in an identical target snapshot that is also unencrypted. If the source AMI is backed by an encrypted snapshot, copying it results in an identical target snapshot that is encrypted by the same Amazon KMS key. Copying an AMI backed by multiple snapshots preserves, by default, the source encryption status in each target snapshot.

If you specify encryption parameters while copying an AMI, you can encrypt or re-encrypt its backing snapshots. The following example shows a non-default case that supplies encryption parameters to the CopyImage action in order to change the target AMI's encryption state.

Copy an unencrypted source AMI to an encrypted target AMI

In this scenario, an AMI backed by an unencrypted root snapshot is copied to an AMI with an encrypted root snapshot. The CopyImage action is invoked with two encryption parameters, including a customer managed key. As a result, the encryption status of the root snapshot changes, so that the target AMI is backed by a root snapshot containing the same data as the source snapshot, but encrypted using the specified key. You incur storage costs for the snapshots in both AMIs, as well as charges for any instances you launch from either AMI.

Note

Enabling encryption by default has the same effect as setting the Encrypted parameter to true for all snapshots in the AMI.

Copy AMI and encrypt snapshot on the fly

Setting the Encrypted parameter encrypts the single snapshot for this instance. If you do not specify the KmsKeyId parameter, the default customer managed key is used to encrypt the snapshot copy.

For more information about copying AMIs with encrypted snapshots, see Use encryption with EBS-backed AMIs.