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So I am having trouble working out what, specifically is the difference between these two.

As I understand it, a snapshot is simply a backup of the disk drive, whereas the AMI is a backup of the entire system (or instance I should say), but isn't the entire system technically wholly located on the disk drive? and if that's the case then there is no clear difference and I am missing something?

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  • Most basic difference between AMIs and snapshots are the type of services they are associated with. Snapshots are associated with EBS while AMIs are associared with EC2 instances.
  • Snapshots are the backup of the data on EBS volumes, whereas AMIs are bootable copy of the whole EC2 instances.
  • AMIs are used to store the current instance configuration
  • Taking snapshots of non EBS backed instances are not possible but AMI of a non EBS backed instances can be created.

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