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Amazon Machine Image – Definition & Overview

Amazon Machine Image – Definition & Overview


The Amazon Machine Image is a pre-configured virtual machine image to create Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances. It summarizes the necessary information to launch a completely functioning and configured server, including the operating system, applications, and additional configurations. Machine Images are essential for creating and replicating instances within AWS.

Terminology of Amazon Machine Image:

Amazon Machine Images (AMIs), crucial terminology includes “Instance,” representing a virtual server launched from an AMI. Moreover, “Snapshot” refers to a point-in-time copy of an EBS volume secured to an instance, often used in AMI creation.

However, public Machine Images are openly shared, while private options limit to specific AWS accounts. Custom AMIs are user-configured images, and Community AMIs result from shared contributions.

Furthermore, Windows AMI’s supply to Windows operating systems and AWS Marketplace Machine Images offer various pre-configured software solutions. Understanding this terminology is pivotal for effective utilization and navigation within the AWS EC2 ecosystem.

Best Practices of Amazon Machine Image:

Regularly Update AMIs:

  • Keep Machine Images updated with the latest security patches and software updates to confirm the instances launched from them are secure and optimized.

Create Custom AMIs:

  • Modify them to specific application requirements, comprising software configurations and security settings, to streamline the launch of instances with particular functionalities.

Secure AMI Sharing:

  • Follow security best practices when sharing AMIs and limit access to known AWS accounts.

Version Control:

  • Uphold version control for Machine Images to monitor changes, updates, and improvements. Such facilitates rollback to previous versions if needed.

Types of Amazon Machine Image:

  1. Amazon Linux:

A Linux-based AMI maintained and provided by AWS to enhance its uses with Amazon EC2 instances.

  1. Windows:

They are specifically configured for Windows operating systems, including numerous Windows Server editions.

  1. Custom:

These are AMIs created and customized by users to meet detailed requirements, including installed software, configurations, and security settings.

  1. Community:

These are Machine Images created and shared by the AWS community. Users can contribute to and use AMIs shared in the AWS Marketplace.

  1. AWS Marketplace:

Machine Images within the AWS marketplace offers various pre-configured software and solutions from third-party vendors.


In conclusion, Amazon Machine Image is a cornerstone in the AWS ecosystem, easing the rapid deployment of virtual instances on Amazon EC2. With types ranging from Amazon Linux and Windows to custom and community-contributed AMIs, it offers flexibility to meet diverse user needs.

In addition, best practices, such as regular updates and version control, boost security and efficiency. The terminology, including instances, snapshots, and public/private AMIs, forms a crucial vocabulary for users navigating the AWS infrastructure.

Consequently, Amazon Machine Image’s role in simplifying and streamlining the creation and replication of virtual servers emphasizes its significance for developers, businesses, and the AWS community.

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