Skip To Content

Create your own AMI

An Amazon Machine Image (AMI) defines the programs and settings that will be applied when you launch an EC2 instance. Once you have finished configuring the data, services, and applications on your ArcGIS Server instance, you can save your work as a custom AMI stored in Amazon EC2. You can scale out your site by using this custom AMI to launch additional instances.


When you build a site using ArcGIS Server Cloud Builder on Amazon Web Services, you don't have to know how to save a custom AMI. You create and use site templates, which manage the custom AMIs for you behind the scenes. See Create a site template to learn how to get started.

If you decide to build your ArcGIS Server site using the AWS Management Console, use the instructions in this topic to create a custom AMI and launch the instances manually.

Once you have launched new instances using the custom AMI, place them beneath an Amazon Load Balancer, thereby creating a siloed architecture. However, this architecture does not provide any way for the GIS servers to communicate with each other. If you want the full benefits of the newer ArcGIS Server architecture, build your site using ArcGIS Server Cloud Builder on Amazon Web Services.

Creating a custom AMI copies any Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes that you may have attached. Be aware that this affects your costs when the custom AMI is deployed. For example, you may have a 100 GB attached EBS volume on your current EC2 instance. If you create a custom AMI from your instance and deploy it five times, you will be charged for five new EC2 instances and five 100 GB EBS volumes.

Use the following procedure to create your own AMI using the AWS Management Console:

  1. Configure an EC2 instance and its attached EBS volumes in the exact way you want them created in the custom AMI.

    Creating a custom AMI makes an exact copy of the current state of your EC2 instance. Before you continue, remove all personal information from your EC2 instance, including stored information such as web browser cookies and temporary files.

  2. Log out of your instance, but do not stop or terminate it.
  3. Log in to the AWS Management Console, display the EC2 page for your region, then click Instances.
  4. Choose the instance from which you want to create a custom AMI.
  5. Click Actions and click Create Image.
  6. Type a name for Image Name that is easily identifiable to you and, optionally, input text for Image Description.
  7. Click Create Image.
  8. Read the message box that appears. To view the AMI status, go to the AMIs page. Here you can see your AMI being created. It can take a while to create the AMI. Plan for at least 20 minutes, or longer if you've installed a lot of additional applications or data.

You launch an instance from a custom AMI the same way you launch an instance from the ArcGIS Server AMI; however, in the first page of the Request Instances Wizard, click the My AMIs tab and choose your custom AMI. If there are many AMIs in the list, you should be able to discern your AMI using the Name field, which includes the image name you typed when you created the AMI.


AMIs that you create with ArcGIS software are for individual use and are allowed only for the purpose of configuring your own ArcGIS Server deployment on Amazon. They are not to be redistributed or shared with any other parties.