iPXE in Amazon EC2

You can use iPXE to boot Amazon (AWS) EC2 instances using a public iPXE AMI. You can use an iPXE script to direct the EC2 instance to boot via any means supported by iPXE. For example, you could boot a set of diskless EC2 instances using HTTPS or iSCSI from a single server hosted in the same AWS region.


The EC2 iPXE images are published outside of the AWS Marketplace and are shared directly from account 833372943033.

Launch the latest iPXE AMI for your AWS region and CPU architecture from the table below:

AWS region CPU architecture AMI ID
ap-northeast-1 x86_64 ami-01365f5f735f468f4
ap-northeast-1 arm64 ami-0c167a32556475043
ap-northeast-2 x86_64 ami-0dbedb8942ae2e9f5
ap-northeast-2 arm64 ami-04d68c1abe0fddb3c
ap-northeast-3 x86_64 ami-01c0528692e1d0d70
ap-northeast-3 arm64 ami-0e82ff68bd48737e6
ap-south-1 x86_64 ami-082e214d2748bf6f3
ap-south-1 arm64 ami-06fc2d42f05bdb759
ap-southeast-1 x86_64 ami-04e4f0f7d1cba8488
ap-southeast-1 arm64 ami-0086d1736caf50df2
ap-southeast-2 x86_64 ami-0e8b3f8c2d1127b11
ap-southeast-2 arm64 ami-0c7fcd1068b94456d
ca-central-1 x86_64 ami-01bc6085c58e1aa13
ca-central-1 arm64 ami-0a605dbdebaca1abf
eu-central-1 x86_64 ami-012342fd95ac40ba7
eu-central-1 arm64 ami-09960e482ae0ce11f
eu-north-1 x86_64 ami-09d3e11f2cc5ece51
eu-north-1 arm64 ami-0359f098b7ae4c3f0
eu-west-1 x86_64 ami-088649962284f6542
eu-west-1 arm64 ami-05d2d3280fd7a4de2
eu-west-2 x86_64 ami-06a86968bae20c57e
eu-west-2 arm64 ami-0058524a8619e2d00
eu-west-3 x86_64 ami-071cf6cef7ed37242
eu-west-3 arm64 ami-0207bcc437f3b2ef3
sa-east-1 x86_64 ami-0a84787f72a10de5a
sa-east-1 arm64 ami-0bf193e28ed543a97
us-east-1 x86_64 ami-074deaa123225bad0
us-east-1 arm64 ami-0d333003508ca02c0
us-east-2 x86_64 ami-0aef4e7d6e6c2385a
us-east-2 arm64 ami-0b225014b33b9212b
us-west-1 x86_64 ami-04e796129670df7f1
us-west-1 arm64 ami-0c587bcea3c929a59
us-west-2 x86_64 ami-0e35359b5622cb1c3
us-west-2 arm64 ami-09ac04c94d530b4f1

You can use any compatible EC2 instance type (including instance types with Enhanced or SR-IOV networking).


iPXE EC2 instances are controlled via an iPXE script stored as the instance user-data. The iPXE AMI includes an embedded script that will automatically obtain an IP address via DHCP, print out some useful diagnostic information, and then download and execute

You can use this user-data iPXE script to direct the remainder of the network boot process. For example, to download and boot Tiny Core Linux, you could set your instance's user data to contain:

  set base http://tinycorelinux.net/12.x/x86/release/distribution_files/
  kernel ${base}/vmlinuz64 initrd=rootfs.gz initrd=modules64.gz
  initrd ${base}/rootfs.gz
  initrd ${base}/modules64.gz

EC2 iPXE boot

Congratulations on successfully booting an EC2 instance using iPXE!



You can use your user-data script to direct iPXE to boot from an iSCSI target. For example: to boot from an iSCSI target hosted on another EC2 instance within the same VPC, you could set your instance's user data to contain:

  sanboot iscsi:

Note that the operating system on the iSCSI target disk will need to include the appropriate software and configuration to allow it to identify its own iSCSI root disk. You can install software such as sanbootable to help set up the required configuration.


The iPXE AMI will include support for both IPv4 and IPv6. You should enable IPv6 in your VPC to speed up the boot, since otherwise iPXE will spend several seconds attempting to obtain an IPv6 address.


You can view the iPXE output via the EC2 system log or instance screenshot. For example:

  aws ec2 get-console-output --query Output --output text \
          --instance-id i-04549ed5e420eae6e

You should see output similar to:

  iPXE 1.21.1+ (gfa012) -- Open Source Network Boot Firmware -- http://ipxe.org
  Amazon EC2 - iPXE boot via user-data
  CPU: GenuineIntel Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2676 v3 @ 2.40GHz
  net0: 06:ee:8d:98:cc:67 using netfront on vif/0 (Ethernet) [closed]
    [Link:up TX:0 TXE:0 RX:0 RXE:0]
  Configuring (net0 06:ee:8d:98:cc:67)...... ok
  net0: gw
  net0: fe80::4ee:8dff:fe98:cc67/64 ok


Note that there is often a time delay of several minutes in obtaining system logs or instance screenshots from EC2 - this is a longstanding problem with EC2 itself and is not related to iPXE. You may need to retry the command several times (or possibly stop the instance) in order to obtain any output.

Building from source

You can build your own version of the public iPXE AMIs using:

  make CONFIG=cloud EMBED=config/cloud/aws.ipxe bin/ipxe.usb
  make CONFIG=cloud EMBED=config/cloud/aws.ipxe \
       CROSS=aarch64-linux-gnu- bin-arm64-efi/ipxe.usb

and import them using the aws-import tool (found in the contrib directory in the iPXE source tree).

howto/ec2.txt ยท Last modified: 2021/05/19 09:11 by mcb30
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