Launching an Amazon ECS Linux container instance - Amazon Elastic Container Service
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Launching an Amazon ECS Linux container instance

You can create Amazon ECS container instances using the Amazon EC2 console.

You can launch an instance by various methods including the Amazon EC2 console, Amazon CLI, and SDK. For information about the other methods for launching an instance, see Launch your instance in the Amazon EC2 User Guide.

For more information about the launch wizard, see Launch an instance using the new launch instance wizard in the Amazon EC2 User Guide.

Before you begin, complete the steps in Set up to use Amazon ECS.

You can use the new Amazon EC2 wizard to launch an instance. The launch instance wizard specifies the launch parameters that are required for launching an instance.


Before you begin, complete the steps in Set up to use Amazon ECS.

  1. Open the Amazon EC2 console at

  2. In the navigation bar at the top of the screen, the current Amazon Region is displayed (for example, ). Select a Region in which to launch the instance.

  3. From the Amazon EC2 console dashboard, choose Launch instance.

Name and tags

The instance name is a tag, where the key is Name, and the value is the name that you specify. You can tag the instance, the volumes, and elastic graphics. For Spot Instances, you can tag the Spot Instance request only.

Specifying an instance name and additional tags is optional.

  • For Name, enter a descriptive name for the instance. If you don't specify a name, the instance can be identified by its ID, which is automatically generated when you launch the instance.

  • To add additional tags, choose Add additional tags. Choose Add tag, and then enter a key and value, and select the resource type to tag. Choose Add tag again for each additional tag to add.

Application and OS Images (Amazon Machine Image)

An Amazon Machine Image (AMI) contains the information required to create an instance. For example, an AMI might contain the software that's required to act as a web server, such as Apache, and your website.

Use the Search bar to find a suitable Amazon ECS-optimized AMI published by Amazon.

  1. Enter one of the following terms in the Search bar.

  2. Press Enter.

  3. On the Choose an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) page, select the Amazon Marketplace AMIs tab.

  4. From the left Refine results pane, select Amazon Web Services as the Publisher.

  5. Choose Select on the row of the AMI that you want to use.

    Alternatively, choose Cancel (at top right) to return to the launch instance wizard without choosing an AMI. A default AMI will be selected. Ensure that the AMI meets the requirements outlined in Linux instances.

Instance type

The instance type defines the hardware configuration and size of the instance. Larger instance types have more CPU and memory. For more information, see Instance types.

  • For Instance type, select the instance type for the instance.

    The instance type that you select determines the resources available for your tasks to run on.

Key pair (login)

For Key pair name, choose an existing key pair, or choose Create new key pair to create a new one.


If you choose the Proceed without key pair (Not recommended) option, you won't be able to connect to the instance unless you choose an AMI that is configured to allow users another way to log in.

Network settings

Configure the network settings, as necessary.

  • Networking platform: Choose Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), and then specify the subnet in the Network interfaces section.

  • VPC: Select an existing VPC in which to create the security group.

  • Subnet: You can launch an instance in a subnet associated with an Availability Zone, Local Zone, Wavelength Zone, or Outpost.

    To launch the instance in an Availability Zone, select the subnet in which to launch your instance. To create a new subnet, choose Create new subnet to go to the Amazon VPC console. When you are done, return to the launch instance wizard and choose the Refresh icon to load your subnet in the list.

    To launch the instance in a Local Zone, select a subnet that you created in the Local Zone.

    To launch an instance in an Outpost, select a subnet in a VPC that you associated with the Outpost.

  • Auto-assign Public IP: If your instance should be accessible from the internet, verify that the Auto-assign Public IP field is set to Enable. If not, set this field to Disable.


    Container instances need access to communicate with the Amazon ECS service endpoint. This can be through an interface VPC endpoint or through your container instances having public IP addresses.

    For more information about interface VPC endpoints, see Amazon ECS interface VPC endpoints (Amazon PrivateLink)

    If you do not have an interface VPC endpoint configured and your container instances do not have public IP addresses, then they must use network address translation (NAT) to provide this access. For more information, see NAT gateways in the Amazon VPC User Guide and Using an HTTP proxy for Amazon ECS Linux container instances in this guide.

  • Firewall (security groups): Use a security group to define firewall rules for your container instance. These rules specify which incoming network traffic is delivered to your container instance. All other traffic is ignored.

    • To select an existing security group, choose Select existing security group, and select the security group that you created in Set up to use Amazon ECS.

Configure storage

The AMI you selected includes one or more volumes of storage, including the root volume. You can specify additional volumes to attach to the instance.

You can use the Simple view.

  • Storage type: Configure the storage for your container instance.

    If you are using the Amazon ECS-optimized Amazon Linux 2 AMI, your instance has a single 30 GiB volume configured, which is shared between the operating system and Docker.

    If you are using the Amazon ECS-optimized AMI, your instance has two volumes configured. The Root volume is for the operating system's use, and the second Amazon EBS volume (attached to /dev/xvdcz) is for Docker's use.

    You can optionally increase or decrease the volume sizes for your instance to meet your application needs.

Advanced details

For Advanced details, expand the section to view the fields and specify any additional parameters for the instance.

  • Purchasing option: Choose Request Spot Instances to request Spot Instances. You also need to set the other fields related to Spot Instances. For more information, see Spot Instance Requests.


    If you are using Spot Instances and see a Not available message, you may need to choose a different instance type.


  • IAM instance profile: Select your container instance IAM role. This is usually named ecsInstanceRole.


    If you do not launch your container instance with the proper IAM permissions, your Amazon ECS agent cannot connect to your cluster. For more information, see Amazon ECS container instance IAM role.

  • (Optional) User data: Configure your Amazon ECS container instance with user data, such as the agent environment variables from Amazon ECS container agent configuration. Amazon EC2 user data scripts are executed only one time, when the instance is first launched. The following are common examples of what user data is used for:

    • By default, your container instance launches into your default cluster. To launch into a non-default cluster, choose the Advanced Details list. Then, paste the following script into the User data field, replacing your_cluster_name with the name of your cluster.

      #!/bin/bash echo ECS_CLUSTER=your_cluster_name >> /etc/ecs/ecs.config
    • If you have an ecs.config file in Amazon S3 and have enabled Amazon S3 read-only access to your container instance role, choose the Advanced Details list. Then, paste the following script into the User data field, replacing your_bucket_name with the name of your bucket to install the Amazon CLI and write your configuration file at launch time.


      For more information about this configuration, see Storing Amazon ECS container instance configuration in Amazon S3.

      #!/bin/bash yum install -y aws-cli aws s3 cp s3://your_bucket_name/ecs.config /etc/ecs/ecs.config
    • Specify tags for your container instance using the ECS_CONTAINER_INSTANCE_TAGS configuration parameter. This creates tags that are associated with Amazon ECS only, they cannot be listed using the Amazon EC2 API.


      If you launch your container instances using an Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling group, then you should use the ECS_CONTAINER_INSTANCE_TAGS agent configuration parameter to add tags. This is due to the way in which tags are added to Amazon EC2 instances that are launched using Auto Scaling groups.

      #!/bin/bash cat <<'EOF' >> /etc/ecs/ecs.config ECS_CLUSTER=your_cluster_name ECS_CONTAINER_INSTANCE_TAGS={"tag_key": "tag_value"} EOF
    • Specify tags for your container instance and then use the ECS_CONTAINER_INSTANCE_PROPAGATE_TAGS_FROM configuration parameter to propagate them from Amazon EC2 to Amazon ECS

      The following is an example of a user data script that would propagate the tags associated with a container instance, as well as register the container instance with a cluster named your_cluster_name:

      #!/bin/bash cat <<'EOF' >> /etc/ecs/ecs.config ECS_CLUSTER=your_cluster_name ECS_CONTAINER_INSTANCE_PROPAGATE_TAGS_FROM=ec2_instance EOF

    For more information, see Bootstrapping Amazon ECS Linux container instances to pass data.