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NAME ^ Copy an EBS-backed Amazon Image from one region to another


  % --from us-east-1 --to ap-southeast-1 ami-123456


This script copies an EBS-backed Unix/Linux AMI located in the EC2 region indicated by --from to the region indicated by --to. All associated volume snapshots, including LVM and RAID volumes, are migrated as well.

If --from is omitted, then the source region is derived from the endpoint URL contained in the EC2_URL environment variable. The --to option is required.

This script will ONLY work with EBS backed Linux images. It does not work with Windows images due to fundamental limitations of the EC2 API.


Options can be abbreviated. For example, you can use -l for --list-regions and -b for --block-device-mapping:

      --from         Region in which the AMI is currently located (e.g. "us-east-1")
      --to           Region to which the AMI is to be copied (e.g. "us-west-1") REQUIRED
      --access_key   EC2 access key
      --secret_key   EC2 secret key
                     Add additional block devices to the image.
      --endpoint     EC2 URL (defaults to
      --kernel       Force assignment of kernel in destination image.
      --ramdisk      Force assignment of ramdisk in destination image.
      --quiet        Quench status messages
      --list-regions List the EC2 regions

The --block-device-mapping (-b) option is used to add ephemeral storage to the destination image. Amazon's API doesn't describe ephemeral volumes that are associated with images, and so this information is not copied from the source to the destination image, requiring you to add it back manually. The value of the argument is a block device mapping string in the same format as described for the command line program ec2-register: -f us-east-1 -t ap-southeast-1 \
                      -b /dev/sdy=ephemeral0 \

Ordinarily the script attempts to guess the correct matching kernel and ramdisk for the destination image based on approximate string matching. You can override these values by manually specifying the kernel and/or ramdisk ID in the destination region. Note that no checking is performed that the values you provide are correct.


The following environment variables are used if the corresponding options are not present:

 EC2_ACCESS_KEY     your access key
 EC2_SECRET_KEY     your secret key
 EC2_URL            the desired region endpoint


This script is part of the Perl VM::EC2 package. To install from the command line:

 % perl -MCPAN -e 'install VM::EC2'
 % --from us-east-1 --to ap-southeast-1 ami-123456


This script launches two "m1.small" instances, one each in the source and destination regions. It also creates transient volumes in both regions to hold the root volume and all other EBS snapshots associated with the image. Running it will incur charges for instance run time and data storage.

In addition, this script will transfer data from one region to another across the internet, incurring internet data out fees on the source side, and internet data in fees on the destination side. Volumes that contain a filesystem, such as ext4 or ntfs, are copied from source to destination using rsync. Volumes that are part of a RAID or LVM volume are copied at the block level using gzip and dd via the secure shell. In general, rsync will be much faster and parsimonious of network bandwidth than block copying!


VM::EC2, VM::EC2::Staging::Manager


Lincoln Stein,

Copyright (c) 2012 Ontario Institute for Cancer Research

This package and its accompanying libraries is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GPL (either version 1, or at your option, any later version) or the Artistic License 2.0. Refer to LICENSE for the full license text. In addition, please see DISCLAIMER.txt for disclaimers of warranty.

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