How to increase ec2 storage without shutting down the system

SecOps Solution
3 min readApr 20, 2024
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In today’s cloud-driven world, managing resources like EC2 instances efficiently is crucial for businesses of all sizes. Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) provides scalable computing capacity in the AWS cloud, allowing users to easily adjust their compute resources based on demand. One common need that EC2 users encounter is the requirement to increase storage capacity without disrupting their running systems. In this blog, we’ll explore methods to achieve this seamlessly.

Understanding EC2 Storage

Before diving into the process, it’s essential to understand the storage options available with EC2 instances:

  • EBS Volumes: Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) provides block-level storage volumes that you can attach to EC2 instances. These volumes persist independently of the EC2 instance lifecycle.
  • Instance Store Volumes: Also known as ephemeral storage, instance store volumes are directly attached to the host computer that runs the EC2 instance. They are temporary and lose data when the instance is stopped or terminated.

Given that instance store volumes are temporary and not suitable for persistent data storage, we’ll focus on increasing EBS volume sizes without downtime.

Steps to Increase EC2 Storage Without Downtime

1. Identify the EBS Volume

First, log in to the AWS Management Console and navigate to the EC2 Dashboard. Select your EC2 instance and note down the ID and size of the EBS volume you want to resize.

2. Create a Snapshot (Optional but Recommended)

While not mandatory, creating a snapshot of your EBS volume before resizing adds an extra layer of data protection. To create a snapshot, select the volume in the EC2 console, click on “Actions,” and choose “Create Snapshot.”

3. Modify the Volume Size

  1. Select the EBS volume you wish to resize in the EC2 console.
  2. Click on “Actions” and choose “Modify Volume.”
  3. Enter the new size for the volume and confirm the changes.

4. Extend File System (If Required)

If you’ve resized the volume to a larger size, you may need to extend the file system on the EC2 instance to utilize the additional space. The steps for this vary based on the operating system:

Linux: Use commands like resize2fs for ext2/ext3/ext4 file systems or xfs_growfs for XFS file systems.

Windows: Open Disk Management, right-click on the volume, and choose “Extend Volume” to add the unallocated space.

5. Verify the Changes

After completing the above steps, log into your EC2 instance and verify that the increased storage is reflected in the file system. Run commands like df -h (Linux) or check Disk Management (Windows) to confirm the new storage size.

Best Practices and Considerations

  1. Snapshot Before Resizing: Always consider creating a snapshot before making changes to EBS volumes for data protection.
  2. Backup Critical Data: Ensure you have backups of critical data, especially when dealing with volume modifications.
  3. Monitor Performance: Increasing storage size can impact performance, so monitor your EC2 instance post-resize for any performance changes.


Increasing EC2 storage without shutting down the system is a straightforward process when leveraging Amazon EBS volumes. By following best practices and utilizing AWS tools, businesses can scale their storage resources seamlessly, ensuring uninterrupted operations and data integrity.

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