AWS is retiring EC2-Classic soon: Here's what you need to know

Migration tools are available, but most EC2 customers won't be impacted, said Gartner researcher.

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Image: Amazon.com

Amazon Web Services has announced its plans to shut down its venerable EC2-Classic product, with some users unable to access the service beginning on October 30, 2021. 

Originally launched in 2006, Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) used a flat network model with public IP addresses. The flat model didn't give EC2 users as much control over their IP addresses and network topology as was ideal, and so in 2013, EC2 shifted to a virtual private cloud (VPC) model in which each EC2 instance was separated. EC2-Classic was born at the same time as the VPC shift.

"AWS's announcement about the retirement of EC2-Classic is an example of the on-going evolution of cloud service platforms where old architectures are being updated and replaced," said Ed Anderson, distinguished research vice president at Gartner. 

Anderson said that most EC2 customers won't be affected by the change. "EC2-Classic supported simple network configurations that worked well at the time, but which have been replaced by more sophisticated approaches. Most organizations already use hierarchical networking and other more advanced EC2 capabilities," Anderson said.

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Echoing that, many EC2 customers may not even be aware of EC2-Classic: Accounts created on or after December 4, 2013 were created as VPC-only, and were given access to EC2-Classic only upon request. 

Users who created EC2 accounts prior to December 4, 2013 may want to watch out for the coming changes, and should pay particular attention to two dates: October 30, 2021, at which point EC2-Classic will be disabled for all users who don't have an active EC2-Classic instance, and August 15, 2022, when all migrations should be completed, and EC2-Classic won't be available for anyone. 

AWS recommends all organizations using EC2-Class (or those who may have data living on an inactive cluster) should seek out and migrate the following resources: 

  • Running or stopped EC2 instances.
  • Running or stopped RDS database instances.
  • Elastic IP addresses–you can use the "move-address-to-vpc" command.
  • Classic Load Balancers.
  • Redshift clusters.
  • Elastic Beanstalk environments.
  • EMR clusters.
  • AWS Data Pipelines pipelines.
  • ElastiCache clusters.
  • Reserved Instances. 
  • Spot Requests.
  • Capacity Reservations.

A number of migration tools are available. The steps to finding the above resources and using migration tools are available on Amazon's announcement about EC2-Classic's end of life.

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"Rest assured that we are going to make this as smooth and as non-disruptive as possible. We are not planning to disrupt any workloads and we are giving you plenty of lead time so that you can plan, test, and perform your migration," said AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr.

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