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Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2)

Explore the basics of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2).
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud as Amazon EC2 instances.

Imagine you are responsible for the architecture of your company’s resources and need to support new websites. With traditional on-premises resources, you have to do the following:

  • Spend money upfront to purchase hardware.
  • Wait for the servers to be delivered to you.
  • Install the servers in your physical data center.
  • Make all the necessary configurations.

By comparison, with an Amazon EC2 instance you can use a virtual server to run applications in the AWS Cloud.

  • You can provision and launch an Amazon EC2 instance within minutes.
  • You can stop using it when you have finished running a workload.
  • You pay only for the compute time you use when an instance is running, not when it is stopped or terminated.
  • You can save costs by paying only for server capacity that you need or want.

How Amazon EC2 works

Graphic showing how EC2 works with the words Launch, Connect, and Use


First, you launch an instance. Begin by selecting a template with basic configurations for your instance. These configurations include the operating system, application server, or applications. You also select the instance type, which is the specific hardware configuration of your instance.

As you are preparing to launch an instance, you specify security settings to control the network traffic that can flow into and out of your instance. Later in this course, we will explore Amazon EC2 security features in greater detail.


Next, connect to the instance. You can connect to the instance in several ways. Your programs and applications have multiple different methods to connect directly to the instance and exchange data. Users can also connect to the instance by logging in and accessing the computer desktop.


After you have connected to the instance, you can begin using it. You can run commands to install software, add storage, copy and organize files, and more.

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