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Here is an easy but effective tip for managing micro instances in AWS.

Micro instances can be a challenge to install software or do application build upgrades due to the limited amount of CPU given to this instance size. Micro instances can make fantastic web servers, but when you need to do work on the server it can take more time than the typical IT pro has patience for.

Here is a quick tip: Change the instance size for patching and installs.

1) Stop the micro instance for your maintenance or install work.
2) Change the instance size to Large (or X-Large if you need a huge box for the install).
3) Start the instance
4) Run your install, upgrade, etc. I’ve found that I can usually do most of my maintenance or installs in less than an hour on a Large instance = $0.52
5) Stop the instance
6) Change the instance size back to Micro
7) Start the instance again.

The starting and stopping take seconds, and the upgrade to Large is instantaneous. Following these steps will lead to pain free patching, installs and upgrades for less than the price of a latte.