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Amazon Web Services|Cloud Computing

Amazon Retires EC2-Classic

It seems hard to believe but Amazon’s EC2 was first launched back in 2006. It was Amazon’s third major cloud service behind their Simple Storage Service (S3) and Simple Queue Service (SQS).  I think it’s fair to say that Amazon EC2 was the driving force behind many businesses’ initial move toward Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).

This July 28th 2021, Amazon announced they are officially retiring EC2-Classic. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that all of your Amazon EC2 instances will stop running. Amazon’s announcement was specifically referring to EC2-Classic. EC2-Classic is an older style of the virtual machine where instances run in a single, flat network that is shared with other customers. EC2-Classic required public IP addresses or tunneling to communicate with other AWS resources in a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC).

EC2-Classic was first available with original release of Amazon EC2. However, it has not been supported for accounts that were created after 2013. All AWS accounts created after December 4, 2013 are VPC-only, unless EC2-Classic was enabled as a result of a support request. Today most EC2 instances are VPC.

Retirement Schedule

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In order to minimize the impact on existing customers, EC2-Classic is being phased out over time. Amazon has stated there are two main targets:

  • October 30, 2021 — AWS will disable EC2-Classic in regions for AWS accounts that have no active EC2-Classic resources in the region. They will also stop selling 1-year and 3-year Reserved Instances for EC2-Classic.
  • August 15, 2022 — All EC2-Classic resources will no longer be supported for any AWS accounts.

If you think you might be using EC2-Classic instances you can use the EC2 Classic Resource Finder script to find any EC2-Classic resources that may be in your account. Amazon also offers its AWS Application Manager Service (AWS MGN) to help customers migrate instances and databases from EC2-Classic to VPC. You can learn more at EC2-Classic is Retiring – Here’s How to Prepare.


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Michael Otey is president of TECA, a technical content production, consulting and software development company in Portland,