Switching between free(t2.micro) and paid(p2.xlarge) on AWS

(Arjun Rajkumar) #1


I’ve setup both t2.micro and p2.xlarge instances on my AWS.

I git cloned the fast.ai lesson while I was on the (free) t2.micro instance. The directories and all the lessons appear on my AWS instance (ubuntu@ip-ABC:~$.) terminal. But when I stop the t2.micro instance and switch to the p2.xlarge instance, the local bash termianl (ubuntu@ip:-XYZ~$) IP changes and none of the directories which I cloned in the previous t2.micro is available on the p2.xlarge.

Does this mean I have to to git clone the fast.ai repo again? I wanted to just experiment and play on the free instance and only switch to the p2.xlarge while needing GPUs. Thought that whatever directories/notebooks I created on the t2.micro will automatically be there when I shift to the p2.xlarge. But that is not happening. Am I doing something wrong? Or is this how it works where each instance is like a new directory by itself. New to this - so just testing AWS. Help please. Thanks!

Deep Learning Brasília - Revisão (lições 1, 2, 3 e 4)
(Steeve Brechmann) #2

Yes. The local disk on the free-tier will be wipe out when you terminate the t2 instance.

You can use a S3 bucket for the git repo or a EBS (elastic block store) volume in order to have your data with any AWS instances.


(Vishal Pandey) #3

Hi @arjunrajkumar … As per my knowledge both the instances are separate from each other. It’s like two different computers. So if do something on one computer the other one is totally unaware about it. That’s why when you git cloned the repo on t2.micro instance , it didn’t get transferred on p3.xlarge as they both are different from each other in terms of memory and locations. There is no inner connection between them. Hope it explains ur situation.

(Arjun Rajkumar) #4

Hi Steeve… It isn’t getting wiped out - as when I log back into the t2 instance, the directories are still there.

(Arjun Rajkumar) #5

Thanks! Makes sense.

(Vishal Pandey) #6

Yeah the directories will be there of course. Apply the two different computers analogy.

(Steeve Brechmann) #7

It will be wiped out if you terminate the instance.

(Nikhil B ) #8

Hey @arjunrajkumar, I think you’ll need to reclone the dir structure in each instance, unless you create some kind of persistent storage on AWS.

BTW, were you able to access the pytorch libs etc in t2.micro? I think I wasn’t able to, I’ll be installing p2.xlarge anyway.

(Arjun Rajkumar) #9

Got it… Been stopping the instance and not terminating it, so its still there.
I’ll check the EBS volume you mentioned to see if I can share data between instances. That’ll make things much easier. Thanks!

(Bevan Cole) #10

If I understand what you are trying to do - Only use P2 instance when training larger models and use T2 for coding and basic testing of samples, instead of setting up two instances, I have used one instance, but I change the instance type.

To do this you need to stop the instance, and then using the AWS console --> EC2 instance screen to change the instance type from T2 to P2 and visa versa as required. I have found that this has worked quite well.

(Nikhil B ) #11

This sounds like a good idea. When you change an instance the Volume attached is still the same? I.e you don’t need to do a git clone every time you change?

(Steeve Brechmann) #12

I don’t think so, in AWS you have two types of storage. The local HDD will be wiped out if you terminate the instance (it’s mainly storage for the OS).

The best is to look for a EBS, it’s a storage volume that you can detach from one instance and attach to one other.

If you put your data in this kind of volume, you are okay.

Or use a S3 bucket and give access to your instance to this bucket (via a role in the IAM).


(Arjun Rajkumar) #13

Thanks @bevanc … THis is just what I was looking for.

(Arjun Rajkumar) #14

@beecoder You don’t need to git clone the second time when you do it this way. The directories / notebooks etc are all the same between T2 and P2 if you do it the way Bevan mentioned above.

(Moses Soh) #15

hey arjun, i actually worked on a few scripts to automate these steps over the weekend. it’s kind of like rolling your own crestle — i wanted to do that so i could use the $500 AWS credits we got. sharing these here in case anyone else wants to use these.

basically, the end goal is to be able to

  • start my servers with aws-start
  • stop my servers with aws-end
  • ssh into my servers with aws-ssh
  • check whether my servers are running with aws-check

Both my servers are connected to the same EBS volume, so I work on a jupyter notebook until I’m pretty sure everything kinda works, then I start the GPU and run the experiments.

the only setup you need is:

  1. I started a p2 and m4 via the console and then got their instance-id numbers.
  2. I also got the volume-id from the console of the EBS drive that comes attached to either of them. I unmounted the other.

for aws-check --> save the following to check_aws.sh and alias it in your bash_rc / bash_profile. do similar things for the commands below.

aws ec2 describe-instances --query 'Reservations[*].Instances[*].[Placement.AvailabilityZone, State.Name, InstanceId, InstanceType]' --output text

for aws-start -->


read -p "Start? (cpu/gpu): " AWS_INSTANCE_TYPE

if [ "$AWS_INSTANCE_TYPE" == "cpu" ]
if [ "$AWS_INSTANCE_TYPE" == "gpu" ]

aws ec2 wait volume-available --volume-ids $EBS_VOL_ID
aws ec2 attach-volume --device /dev/sda1 --volume-id $EBS_VOL_ID --instance-id $AWS_INSTANCE_ID
aws ec2 start-instances --instance-ids $AWS_INSTANCE_ID
aws ec2 wait instance-running --instance-ids $AWS_INSTANCE_ID


for aws-ssh -->

export AWS_PUBLIC_DNS=$(aws ec2 describe-instances --instance-ids $AWS_INSTANCE_ID --filters "Name=instance-id,Values='$AWS_INSTANCE_ID'" --query 'Reservations[*].Instances[*].PublicDnsName' --output text)
ssh -L localhost:8888:localhost:8888 -i <key-file.pem> ubuntu@$AWS_PUBLIC_DNS -o "StrictHostKeyChecking no"

for aws-end -->


read -p "Stop? (cpu/gpu): " AWS_INSTANCE_TYPE
if [ "$AWS_INSTANCE_TYPE" == "cpu" ]
if [ "$AWS_INSTANCE_TYPE" == "gpu" ]
aws ec2 stop-instances --instance-ids $AWS_INSTANCE_ID
aws ec2 wait instance-stopped --instance-id $AWS_INSTANCE_ID
aws ec2 detach-volume --volume-id $EBS_VOL_ID
aws ec2 wait volume-available --volume-id $EBS_VOL_ID
echo $AWS_INSTANCE_TYPE stopped.

Remember to also export your GPU instance ID, CPU instance ID and EBS volume ID in your bash_profile file.

It’s not the best it could be. These are still all on-demand instances. Crestle is great because it manages provision spot instances for you. But it got the headache of remembering to unmount my EBS when I was switching between my GPU and CPU instances out of the way, so it’s a start.

Hope these help!