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[Safely] Update an Ubuntu EC2 instance on Amazon AWS

May 19, 2013

Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS was released and that meant it was time to upgrade my Ubuntu EC2 instances from 11.10 to 12.04.1 LTS.

When I logged in via SSH I saw the nag to upgrade and thought, “crap…the last time I did this, I destroyed my EC2 instance”. The upgrade went flawlessly this time because I created an AMI first, and after a few days I will delete that AMI and associated EBS volumes.

1) Create a backup

Create an Amazon Image (AMI) of your existing EC2 instance. If anything fails, you can simply launch the newly created AMI and re-associate your Elastic IP. (You’re using an Elastic IP right?)

2) Upgrade

When it’s finished, go ahead with the upgrade:

$ sudo apt-get update -y && do-release-upgrade


Director of Engineering @WebDevStudios / Author & Editor @WileyGlobal. Read more about me.