Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
User Guide (API Version 2014-02-01)
« PreviousNext »
View the PDF for this guide.Go to the AWS Discussion Forum for this product.Go to the Kindle Store to download this guide in Kindle format.Did this page help you?  Yes | No |  Tell us about it...

Creating an Amazon EBS Snapshot

After writing data to an Amazon EBS volume, you can periodically create a snapshot of the volume to use as a baseline for new volumes or for data backup. If you make periodic snapshots of a volume, the snapshots are incremental so that only the blocks on the device that have changed after your last snapshot are saved in the new snapshot. Even though snapshots are saved incrementally, the snapshot deletion process is designed so that you need to retain only the most recent snapshot in order to restore the volume.

Snapshots occur asynchronously and the status of the snapshot is pending until the snapshot is complete.

By default, only you can launch volumes from snapshots that you own. However, you can choose to share your snapshots with specific AWS accounts or make them public. For more information, see Sharing Snapshots.

When a snapshot is created, any AWS Marketplace product codes from the volume are propagated to the snapshot.

You can take a snapshot of an attached volume that is in use. However, snapshots only capture data that has been written to your Amazon EBS volume at the time the snapshot command is issued. This may exclude any data that has been cached by any applications or the operating system. If you can pause any file writes to the volume long enough to take a snapshot, your snapshot should be complete. However, if you can't pause all file writes to the volume, you should unmount the volume from within the instance, issue the snapshot command, and then remount the volume to ensure a consistent and complete snapshot. You may remount and use your volume while the snapshot status is pending.

To create a snapshot for Amazon EBS volumes that serve as root devices, you should stop the instance before taking the snapshot.

To unmount the volume in Linux/Unix, use the following command:

umount -d device_name

Where device_name is the device name (for example, /dev/sdh).

To unmount the volume in Windows, open Disk Management, right-click the volume to unmount, and select Change Drive Letter and Path. Select the mount point to remove, and then click Remove.

To create a snapshot using the console

  1. Open the Amazon EC2 console at

  2. Click Snapshots in the navigation pane.

    The console displays a list of current snapshots.

  3. Click Create Snapshot.

    The Create Snapshot dialog box appears.

  4. Select the volume to create a snapshot for and click Create.

    Amazon EC2 begins creating the snapshot.

To create a snapshot using the command line

You can use one of the following commands. For more information about these command line interfaces, see Accessing Amazon EC2.