Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
User Guide for Linux Instances

Creating an Amazon EBS Volume

You can create an Amazon EBS volume that you can then attach to any EC2 instance within the same Availability Zone. You can choose to create an encrypted EBS volume, but encrypted volumes can only be attached to selected instance types. For more information, see Supported Instance Types.

You can also create and attach EBS volumes when you launch instances by specifying a block device mapping. For more information, see Launching an Instance and Block Device Mapping. You can restore volumes from previously created snapshots. For more information, see Restoring an Amazon EBS Volume from a Snapshot.

If you are creating a volume for a high-performance storage scenario, you should make sure to use a Provisioned IOPS SSD (io1) volume and attach it to an instance with enough bandwidth to support your application, such as an EBS-optimized instance or an instance with 10 Gigabit network connectivity. The same advice holds for Throughput Optimized HDD (st1) and Cold HDD (sc1) volumes. For more information, see Amazon EC2 Instance Configuration.

New EBS volumes receive their maximum performance the moment that they are available and do not require initialization (formerly known as pre-warming). However, storage blocks on volumes that were restored from snapshots must be initialized (pulled down from Amazon S3 and written to the volume) before you can access the block. This preliminary action takes time and can cause a significant increase in the latency of an I/O operation the first time each block is accessed. For most applications, amortizing this cost over the lifetime of the volume is acceptable. Performance is restored after the data is accessed once. For more information, see Initializing Amazon EBS Volumes.

To create an EBS volume using the console

  1. Open the Amazon EC2 console at

  2. From the navigation bar, select the region in which you would like to create your volume. This choice is important because some Amazon EC2 resources can be shared between regions, while others can't. For more information, see Resource Locations.

    Launch instance start
  3. In the navigation pane, choose Volumes.

  4. Above the upper pane, choose Create Volume.

  5. In the Create Volume dialog box, for Volume Type, select General Purpose SSD, Provisioned IOPS SSD, or Magnetic. For more information, see Amazon EBS Volume Types.


    Some AWS accounts created before 2012 might have access to Availability Zones in us-east-1, us-west-1, or ap-northeast-1 that do not support Provisioned IOPS SSD (io1) volumes. If you are unable to create an io1 volume (or launch an instance with an io1 volume in its block device mapping) in one of these regions, try a different Availability Zone in the region. You can verify that an Availability Zone supports io1 volumes by creating a 4 GiB io1 volume in that zone.

  6. For Size, enter the size of the volume, in GiB.

  7. For io1 volumes, in the IOPS field, enter the maximum number of input/output operations per second (IOPS) that the volume should support.

  8. For Availability Zone, select the Availability Zone in which to create the volume.

  9. (Optional) To create an encrypted volume, select the Encrypted box and choose the master key you want to use when encrypting the volume. You can choose the default master key for your account, or you can choose any Customer Master Key (CMK) that you have previously created using the AWS Key Management Service. Available keys are visible in the Master Key drop down menu, or you can paste the full ARN of any key that you have access to. For more information, see the AWS Key Management Service Developer Guide.


    Encrypted volumes can only be attached to selected instance types. For more information, see Supported Instance Types.

  10. Choose Yes, Create.


    If you receive one of the following errors, the current volume creation would exceed the default storage limit for your account:

    Maximum number of active volumes bytes, 20, exceeded.
    Maximum number of active gp2 volumes bytes, 20, exceeded.
    Maximum number of active io1 volumes bytes, 20, exceeded.

    To view the default service limits for Amazon EBS, see Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) Limits in the Amazon Web Services General Reference. To request an increase in your storage limits, see Request to Increase the Amazon EBS Volume Limit.

To create an EBS volume using the command line

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