Understanding the Lifecycle of Amazon EC2 Instance 

An AWS EC2 instance is the virtual server in Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) used to run applications on the AWS infrastructure. In this article, we will take you through the AWS EC2 instance lifecycle to let you know how it transitions through different phases. 

What is Amazon EC2 Instance Lifecycle?

AWS EC2 instance lifecycle helps to identify EC2 instance transformation through its different stages from launch to termination. The below figure illustrates the different transitions of EC2 instance between different instance states.

AWS EC2 Instance Transition States

EC2 instance lifecycle consists of the following transition states. Continue reading to go through the EC2 Instance lifecycle. 

Instance Launch

The moment you launch an instance, it goes to the pending phase. The type of instance specified by you at launch decides the host computer’s hardware for your AWS EC2 instance. To boot the EC2 instance, Amazon uses the Amazon Machine Image (AMI), specified at the launch. Once the EC2 instance has become ready, it goes to the running state. After that, it lets you connect to your instance that was running to use it just like you use your computer. 

Once your instance has transitioned to the running state, Amazon bills you for each second to the moment it is kept running, even if you haven’t connected to the instance and it remains idle.

Instance Stop and Start

In case your instance fails to run applications as it was expected or fails a status check, and its root volume is an Amazon EBS volume, you have to restart your instance to resolve the issue. Your instance goes into the stopping state, and after that, it goes into the stopped state once you stop it. The stopped state of the instance enables you to modify specific attributes of your instance, such as the type of instance. 

Your instance again goes into the pending phase as soon as you start it, and is shifted to another host system (in a few cases, it may remain on the same host). Your data on the former host will be lost while you stop and start your instance. 

Instance Hibernate

While hibernating your instance, your operating system performs hibernation. Hibernating the instance saves data from its memory to Amazon Elastic Block Storage root volume. When you start your instance again, it loads the data after restoring the Amazon Elastic Block Storage root volume to its former state. At this stage, the process in the instance stop and start phase is repeated. The usage of the instance that is hibernated is not charged by Amazon while being in the stopped state. However, they charge for it while in the stopping state. 

Instance Reboot

To reboot your instance, you can use an Amazon EC2 console, API, or a command line tool. To reboot your instance, it is recommended to use Amazon EC2 rather than running the reboot command of your operating system. Rebooting an instance is similar to that of an OS reboot process. 

The instance stays on the host system. While it may take some minutes to reboot, the time rebooting takes depends on your instance configuration.

Instance Retirement

When Amazon encounters any irreparable fault of the implicit hardware that hosts the instance, it schedules an instance retirement. Once the EC2 instance has reached its retirement date that was scheduled before, Amazon will stop or terminate it. If you were using Amazon EBS volume as your EC2 instance root tool, start your instance any time again. If your device was instance store volume, it will terminate the instance, and you can never use it.

Instance Termination

The moment you don’t need your instance anymore, you can terminate that instance. Once your instance’s status changes to terminated, you will be stopped billing. You can’t end your instance using CLI, console, or API if you have enabled termination protection. 

The instance will remain visible for a short time period in the console after you have terminated it. You can also define it using the API or CLI. As resources gradually disassociate from the instance that is terminated, they may not be evident once the instance is terminated. 

So this is how an amazon EC2 instance transitions through different phases in the instance lifecycle. 

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