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Amazon EC2 is AWS primary web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. Compute refers to the amount of computational power required to fulfill your workload.
It depends on what you need and want Amazon EC2 allows you to acquire compute through the launching of virtual servers called instances. When you launch an instance, you can make use of the compute as you wish, just as you would with an on-premises server. Because you are paying for the computing power of the instance, you are charged per hour while the instance is running.
The instance type defines the virtual hardware supporting an Amazon EC2 instance. There are dozens of instance types available, varying in the following dimensions:
- Virtual CPUs (vCPUs)
- Storage (size and type)
- Network performance
Amazon Machine Image
The Amazon Machine Image (AMI) defines the initial software that will be on an instance when it is launched. An AMI defines every aspect of the software state at instance launch, including:
- The Operating System (OS) and its configuration
- The initial state of any patches
- Application or system software
All AMIs are based on x86 OSs, either Linux or Windows.