Menu
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
User Guide for Linux Instances

Importing a VM into Amazon EC2 as an Instance

There are two ways you can launch an instance in Amazon EC2. You can launch an instance from an Amazon Machine Image (AMI), or, you can launch an instance from a virtual machine (VM) that you imported from a virtualization environment such as Citrix Xen, Microsoft Hyper-V, or VMware vSphere. This section covers importing a VM and launching it as an Amazon EC2 instance. This method only supports single-volume VMs. To import VMs with multiple volumes, see Importing a VM into Amazon EC2 as an Image.

To use your VM as an instance in Amazon EC2, you must first export it from the virtualization environment, and then import it to Amazon EC2 using the Amazon EC2 command line interface (CLI) or API tools. If you're importing a VM from VMware vCenter, you can also use the AWS Connector for vCenter to export a VM from VMware and import it into Amazon EC2. For more information, see Migrating Your Virtual Machine to Amazon EC2 Using AWS Connector for vCenter in the AWS Management Portal for vCenter User Guide.

Important

You cannot use ec2-import-instance to import Microsoft Windows instances that use the bring your own license (BYOL) model. To import these instance types, see Importing a VM into Amazon EC2 as an Image.

The following diagram shows the process of exporting a VM from your on-premises virtualization environment to AWS.

VM Import/Export Architecture

Whether you use the CLI or the API, you will follow the same steps for importing VMs or volumes into Amazon EC2. This is the process for using the CLI.

To import a VM into Amazon EC2

  1. Install the CLI. For more information, see Step 1: Install the Amazon EC2 CLI.

  2. Prepare the VM for import to Amazon EC2. For more information, see Step 2: Prepare Your VM.

  3. Export the VM from the virtualization environment. For more information, see Step 3: Export Your VM from Its Virtual Environment.

  4. Import the VM into Amazon EC2. For information, see Step 4: Importing Your VM into Amazon EC2.

  5. Launch the instance in Amazon EC2. For more information, see Step 5: Launch the instance in Amazon EC2.