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Links: 101 AWS SAA Index

  • Scale in removing, scale out adding.
  • We can specify the minimum, desired and maximum number of EC2 instances running in an ASG. If desired == maximum then alarms won't add any new EC2 instances.
  • We can automatically register new instances to the load balancer. ASGs and Load Balancers work hand in hand.
  • To launch new instances we provide Launch Configuration-Template. In this launch configuration/template we provide details like AMI type, volume size etc.
  • ASGs are free to use.
  • It works with both ALBs and NLBs.
A role applied to ASG will be applied to all the EC2 instances in the ASG.
If you have an EC2 Auto Scaling group (ASG) with running instances and you choose to delete the ASG, the instances will be terminated and the ASG will be deleted.
  • Having instances under an ASG means that if for some reason they get terminated then ASG will automatically create new ones for replacement.
If EC2 instances are marked unhealthy by the load balancer then they are terminated by ASG and then relaunched.

Instances are not restarted but terminated.

  • We can add running instances to an ASG.
You can edit ASGs after they have been created but you cannot edit launch configurations. You can edit launch templates.

So if you want your instances to use a new AMI and they are using launch configuration then you can just create a new launch configuration and update the ASG.

  • While creating an ASG we have to specify the subnets. Make sure you specify all the subnets. Otherwise EC2 instances will only be balanced in the subnets provided and it won't be HA.
What happens if a scaling activity causes me to reach my Amazon EC2 limit of instances?

Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling cannot scale past the Amazon EC2 limit of instances that you can run

If I have data installed in an EC2 Auto Scaling group, and a new instance is dynamically created later, is the data copied over to the new instances?

Data is not automatically copied from existing instances to new instances. You can use lifecycle hooks to copy the data.

Health Checks

  • If using an ELB it is best to enable ELB health checks as otherwise EC2 status checks may show an instance as being healthy that the ELB has determined is unhealthy. In this case the instance will be removed from service by the ELB but will not be terminated by Auto Scaling.

    • This can happen when the Auto Scaling group is using EC2 based health check and the Application Load Balancer is using ALB based health check.
  • By default uses EC2 status checks.

  • Can also use ELB health checks and custom health checks.
  • ELB health checks are in addition to the EC2 status checks.
  • If any health check returns an unhealthy status the instance will be terminated.
  • With ELB an instance is marked as unhealthy if ELB reports it as OutOfService
  • A healthy instance enters the InService state.
  • If connection draining is enabled, Auto Scaling waits for in-flight requests to complete or timeout before terminating instances.
  • The health check grace period allows a period of time for a new instance to warm up before performing a health check (300 seconds by default).

Auto Scaling Alarms

  • These alarms trigger scaling.
  • We can scale ASGs based on CloudWatch alarms. We need 2 alarms, one for scaling in and other for scaling out.
  • A monitoring unit for CloudWatch alarms can be CPU usage. Metrics are the average of all the ASG instances.
  • We can define better auto scaling rules that are directly managed by EC2. These rules are easier to set than the CloudWatch alarms. Some of these rules include average CPU usage, network in/out etc.
  • We can also auto scale on a custom metric (ex no of connected users). We send the parameter of our custom metric to cloud watch alarms via the PutMetric API. Now we can create cloud watch alarms with this metric to scale in or out. So ASG is not just limited to the metrics AWS exposes.

Rebalancing and Scaling

  • Actions like explicitly terminating an instance can lead to an ASG becoming unbalanced across an ASG.
  • Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling compensates by rebalancing the Availability Zones.
When rebalancing, Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling launches new instances before terminating the old ones, so that rebalancing does not compromise the performance or availability of your application.
  • Scaling activity of Auto Scaling works in a different sequence compared to the rebalancing activity.
Auto Scaling creates a new scaling activity for terminating the unhealthy instance and then terminates it. Later, another scaling activity launches a new instance to replace the terminated instance.

First Termination then new instances.

Impaired Status

  • If any health check returns an unhealthy status the instance will be terminated.
  • For the impaired status, the ASG will wait a few minutes to see if the instance recovers before taking action.
  • If the “impaired” status persists, termination occurs.
Unlike AZ rebalancing and just like scaling, termination of unhealthy instances happens first, then Auto Scaling attempts to launch new instances to replace terminated instances.

Suspending Scaling

  • You can suspend and then resume one or more of the scaling processes for your Auto Scaling group. This is done using SuspendProcesses and ResumeProcesses API.
  • This can be useful when you want to investigate a configuration problem or other issue with your web application and then make changes to your application, without invoking the scaling processes.

Standby State

  • You can manually move an instance from an ASG and put it in the standby state. In general it is in InService state.
  • Instances in standby state are still managed by Auto Scaling, are charged as normal, and do not count towards available EC2 instance for workload/application use i.e. they do not handle application traffic.
  • Auto scaling does not perform health checks on instances in the standby state.
  • Standby state can be used for performing updates/changes/troubleshooting etc without health checks being performed or replacement instances being launched.
  • Suspending scaling and standby state go hand in hand for troubleshooting an ASG.

Last updated: 2022-06-09