AWS Retiring Flagship EC2-Classic

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is retiring its flagship cloud computing infrastructure services, Elastic Compute Cloud, known as EC2-Classic, the company disclosed this week.

"EC2-Classic has served us well," said Jeff Barr, chief evangelist for AWS, in a blog post, "but we're going to give it a gold watch and a well-deserved sendoff!"

Current users of EC2-Classic will have about a year to make the transition to Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), and the company wants to make that transition as painless as possible.

"Rest assured that we are going to make this as smooth and as non-disruptive as possible," Barr said in his post. "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."

AWS is putting its resources behind that promise with migration tools and support, including the AWS Application Migration Service (MGN) and the AWSSupport-MigrateEC2ClassicToVPC runbook. The MGN uses block-level replication and runs on multiple versions of Linux and Windows. (The first 90 days of replication are free for each server migrated, the company says.) The runbook supports simple, instance-level migration.

AWS does plan to disable EC2-Classic on Oct. 31, 2021, for accounts that don't currently use the service, the company says, and it will stop selling reserved instances for the network environment.

Essentially, EC2-Classic is the original release of the Elastic Compute Cloud, first unveiled in a public beta in 2006. Barr himself announced that beta release while on vacation in Cabo San Lucas. (His post is worth reading for historical context and his explanation of how of this new "virtual CPU" would work.)

With EC2-Classic, instances run in a single, flat network that is shared among its users. With the VPC, instances run in a virtual private cloud that is logically isolated to only one AWS account.

AWS launched its VPC in 2009 to accommodate growing user demand to connect EC2 instances to corporate networks, to exercise additional control over IP address ranges, and to construct more sophisticated network topologies. In 2013 the company's VPC model effectively became transparent with the advent of Virtual Private Clouds for Everyone.

Barr offers a list of resources that will be affected by the migration from EC2-Classic to VPC on his blog post. AWS is advising EC2-Classic users to read an online user guide for the migration to VPC.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at


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