Convert an instance store backed AMI to an EBS backed AMI
written on Friday, March 2, 2012
At PythonAnywhere we recently decided to move all our development environments onto Amazon's AWS. Thie first step of that was to convert the base AMI, that we use for all our servers, into an EBS backed one. The reason for this is that micro instances can only be created from EBS backed AMIs. We use a lot of servers for each developer, but don't use each server very much, so this seemed like a natural cost saving to make.
- Use your instance store AMI to spin up a server on AWS
- Create a brand new EBS volume, 8 gigs oughta be enough
- Attach the new volume to the new instance
- SSH into the new machine
- Make a filesystem on the appropriate device
- Mount the new filesytem
- Rsync the contents of '/' to the mounted EBS volume
- Make necessary changes to /etc/fstab then unmount
- In the AWS console create a snapshot of the EBS volume
- Use the new snapshot to create an EBS backed image
The part that gave us the most trouble was getting that image to boot which came down to selecting the correct AKI. Each AKI is setup to boot a specific CPU architecture from a specific device or partition. hd00 means that PVgrub is going to look for a kernel to boot from on the first partition of the first device. If you follow the steps above you won't have a first partition and will have to use the AKI hd0. This took us a while to figure out...
I'll only bother going into a bit more depth on the parts that aren't completely obvious. The commands mentioned below should be run as root while logged into the instance you are trying to create an EBS AMI from.
- When you attach an EBS volume to a linux machine the the /dev/DEVICE is usually different. /dev/sdf becomes /dev/xvdf for example. You'll have to double check where the device is actually attached.
- Do this before mounting using the filesytem of your choice.
Will do the trick.
- We tried various methods of copying the root device. It turns out that rsync was the best. dd took much longer for no real benefit. /dev/xvdf was mounted on /mnt/ebs before running this command of course.
rsync -ax / /mnt/ebs mkfs.ext4 /dev/xvdf
- As I mentioned above you might need to modify your fstab in order for the new AMI to boot. Removing any references to anything other than /dev/xvda should be safe and you can always change it later.
Being lazy / efficient we automated this whole procedure using the Python libraries boto and fabric to create the function below.
from boto.ec2.blockdevicemapping import BlockDeviceMapping, EBSBlockDevice def create_ebs_image_from_running_instance(conn, instance, image_name): ebs_image_name = 'EBS - %s' % (image_name,) volume, snapshot, image = None, None, None try: volume = conn.create_volume(10, 'us-east-1a') volume.add_tag('Name', 'Base for %s' % (ebs_image_name,)) attach_ebs_volume(conn, instance.id, volume.id, '/dev/sdf') with fabric_settings(instance.dns_name, root_password): run('mkfs.ext4 /dev/xvdf') run('mkdir -p /mnt/ebs') run('mount /dev/xvdp /mnt/ebs') run('rsync -ax / /mnt/ebs') # Remove any unwanted entries from /etc/fstab run('grep -v xvdb /mnt/ebs/etc/fstab > /tmp/fstab') run('mv /tmp/fstab /mnt/ebs/etc/fstab') # umount to flush fs changes run('umount /mnt/ebs') snapshot = conn.create_snapshot(volume.id, description=ebs_image_name) if not snapshot: raise Exception('EBS image creation failed at the snapshot phase.') while snapshot.status != 'completed': time.sleep(10) snapshot.update() print '.', sys.stdout.flush() # Define the mapping for the images ephemeral drive mapping = BlockDeviceMapping() ebs_device = EBSBlockDeviceType() ebs_device.snapshot_id = snapshot.id ebs_device.delete_on_termination = True mapping['/dev/sda1'] = ebs_device image = conn.register_image( name=ebs_image_name, architecture='x86_64', kernel_id='aki-825ea7eb', root_device_name='/dev/sda1', block_device_map=mapping, ) return ebs_image_name, image