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Expanding EBS root volume: Amazon EC2 Instance

by | Sep 10, 2021

Wondering how to expand EBS root volume? We can help you with this!

As a part of our AWS Support Services, we often receive similar requests from our AWS customers.

Today, let’s see the steps followed by our Support Techs to help our customers for expanding EBS root volume.


Expanding EBS root volume

By using the Amazon EBS Elastic Volumes feature, we can expand the EBS root volume of EC2 Linux running on current generation instance without detaching and reattaching the volume.

For expanding the EBS root volume of EC2 Linux in the case of previous generation instances, we must detach and then reattach the volume.

Note the following points before modifying EBS volume:

  1. To avoid failure during modification we need to review the requirements when modifying volumes.

2. To make sure that the modified volume provides the performance characteristics required, we need to review the Amazon EBS volume performance on Linux instances.

3. Also we need to review requesting modifications to our EBS volumes to identify and address any potential issues before expanding the volume.

For example, volumes attached to current generation instances before November 3, 2016 require that we detach and reattach the volume to initialize the Amazon EBS Elastic Volumes feature.

To find the volume’s creation date, from the Amazon EC2 console, select Volumes. The Created field lists the volume’s creation date.

To see the volume’s most recent attachment time, we can use the following command:

aws ec2 describe-volumes --region us-east-1 --query "Volumes[?Attachments[?AttachTime<='2016-11-01']].{ID:VolumeId}" --output text

The output is a text list of IDs for volumes:



How to modify the EBS Volume

If we can’t use Amazon EBS Elastic Volumes, then expand the EBS root volume of the EC2 Linux instances by completing the following steps.

Request modification to EBS volumes

Let’s see the steps to expand the EBS root volume of our EC2 Linux instance.

We can dynamically increase the size, increase or decrease the performance, and change the volume type of our Amazon EBS volumes without detaching them  Elastic Volumes.

Use the following process when modifying a volume:

1. It is always better to create a snapshot of the volume in case we need to roll back the changes before modifying a volume that contains valuable data.

2. Then request the volume modification.

3. Then we should monitor the progress of the volume modification.

4. Then extend the volume’s file system to take advantage of the increased storage capacity if the size of the volume was modified.

Extending a Linux file system after resizing a volume

We can use the following methods described after expanding the EBS root volume of EC2 Linux instance.

The process for extending a file system on Linux is as follows:

  1. Our EBS volume might have a partition that contains the file system and data. Increasing the size of a volume does not increase the size of the partition.  We should check whether the volume has a partition that must be extended to the new size of the volume before extending the file system on a resized volume.

2. Then use a file system-specific command to resize each file system to the new volume capacity.

[Need help with more AWS queries? We’d be happy to assist] 


To conclude, today we discussed the steps followed by our Support Engineers to help our customers for expanding EBS root volume.


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