A launch configuration is a template that an Auto Scaling group uses to launch EC2 instances. When you create a launch configuration, you specify information for the instances such as the ID of the Amazon Machine Image (AMI), the instance type, a key pair, one or more security groups, and a block device mapping. If you've launched an EC2 instance before, you specified the same information in order to launch the instance.
When you create an Auto Scaling group, you must specify a launch configuration. You can specify your launch configuration with multiple Auto Scaling groups. However, you can only specify one launch configuration for an Auto Scaling group at a time, and you can't modify a launch configuration after you've created it. Therefore, if you want to change the launch configuration for your Auto Scaling group, you must create a launch configuration and then update your Auto Scaling group with the new launch configuration. When you change the launch configuration for your Auto Scaling group, any new instances are launched using the new configuration parameters, but existing instances are not affected.