AWS has recently announced the retirement of EC2-Classic, albeit a year from now. For those that follow AWS, this is quite unique. They have an utter propensity to not depreciate or retire anything. Google could learn a lesson or two or (a thousand) on that.

What the heck is EC2-Classic?

What is EC2-classic you might still be asking? Essentially it was the first attempt at cloud networking that has worked well enough that they apparently still need to remind customers to migrate off of it. It is a flat shared network where you can get public IP assigned to your instances. Cloud networking 1.0 that was no different than what virtual private servers (VPS) offerings that were the main competition at the time.

What EC2-Classic critically lacked was single-tenancy. Fortunately, the single-tenant Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) we all know and love today came out in 2009. VPC offers an abundance of features and functionality. This is overall a progressive move to rid the AWS platform of some tech debt.

The Obituary

I didn’t think twice about the announcement, other than “good for AWS, it has been a long time coming.” Then I got an email (screenshot below). This had me thinking; I indeed did play around in the early days of AWS in my ~12 year-old personal AWS account. Apparently I have had access to EC2-Classic in us-west-2 all this time.


EC2-Classic retirement email


What’s it look like?

A quick look into the console in us-west-2 showed a greyed-out option. That’s actually a lot closer than I ever got to it as a network specialist at AWS. Most customers were on, or had migrated to, VPC before I joined AWS around 5 years ago (in fact my internal accounts were never even whitelisted for EC2-Classic).


EC2-Classic option


I then thought about it a bit and realized that the “t2” series I was trying to launch isn’t an instance type supported on EC2-Classic. Fortunately, the docs still call out that “d2” instance types are supported and they can still be launched. So there you have it – screenshot following for what it looks like in the console included below.


EC2-Classic instance in the console


AWS doesn’t deprecate anything, like ever. However technology is rapidly changing, especially so in the cloud computing world. The impending death of EC2-Classic is a milestone and a reminder of the journey cloud computing has taken and is still on.