Note: Please go to to access the current RightScale documentation set. Also, feel free to Chat with us!
Home > Clouds > AWS > Tutorials > Create an EBS Snapshot

Create an EBS Snapshot


To safely create an EBS snapshot and store it on S3

Table of Contents


As stated in more detail below, although not a true prerequisite, it is recommended you detach or freeze all writes to the volume prior to taking the snapshot.


An EBS snapshot represents an EBS volume at a particular point in time. You can take an EBS snapshot of an EBS volume regardless of whether or not the volume is attached to a running instance, although it is strongly recommended that you either detach or freeze all writes to a volume before taking a snapshot in order to prevent any data loss or corruption. If you do not take these necessary precautions, your data will not be in synch and you could possibly lose or corrupt data on the disk. 

EBS snapshots are a series of data blocks that are saved to S3. You cannot attach the same volume to multiple instances, but you can take a snapshot of the volume, create a clone of the volume from the snapshot and specify the appropriate availability zone. 

EBS volumes and snapshots are EC2 region-specific. You cannot use a volume/snapshot that you created in EC2-US in a different region like EC2-EU. This tutorial assumes you are creating an EBS snapshot for EC2-US.



WARNING!  The data on your volume can be corrupted if you do not properly detach/freeze a volume before taking a snapshot. As a best practice, you should always make sure that no writes are being made to a volume before taking a snapshot. Both the EBS Toolbox and MySQL EBS ServerTemplates issue an 'xfs_freeze' on the EBS volume prior to taking the snapshot, which stops all write activity before the snapshot is taken.


Before you Create a Snapshot of an EBS Volume

  1. Freeze the volume (if supported by the file system)
  2. Make sure that all files are closed and that there are no pending writes to the disk

Create an EBS snapshot

You can take EBS Snapshots of a volume at a particular point in time and then create multiple volumes from a snapshot and place them into any zone. You can see the lineage of a volume/snapshot to see when it was created, as well as any parent/child relationships. 

  • Go to Clouds -> AWS Region -> EBS Volumes
  • Find your volume of choice and click the Snapshot icon




Alternatively, you can also click the Snapshot action button from an EBS Volume's homepage.



Provide a short description of the volume. By default, the Nickname will include a timestamp of the snapshot (yymmdd - hhmm). Click Create.



A confirmation window will track the progress of your snapshot.


Depending on the size of the volume, it might take several minutes to create the snapshot. You must wait for its status to become "completed" before you can launch it and create a volume from the new snapshot.

See also

You must to post a comment.
Last modified
22:11, 16 May 2013



This page has no classifications.



© 2006-2014 RightScale, Inc. All rights reserved.
RightScale is a registered trademark of RightScale, Inc. All other products and services may be trademarks or servicemarks of their respective owners.