Recently, Amazon announced support for user provided Linux kernels in Amazon EC2.

Since they provided a list of supported distributions but Debian was not included, I decided to give a try to this new feature to see if I could boot a Linux kernel provided by Debian.

Following the instructions available in EC2 documentation and the recommendations for Xen usage at Debian wiki, I could boot an AMI using linux-image-2.6.32-5-686-bigmem kernel included with upcoming Debian 6.0 (squeeze, right now at testing stage).

You just have to:

  • Indicate in /boot/grub/menu.lst root=/dev/xvda1 as root device.
  • Make sure /etc/fstab contains the correct device names.
  • Bundle your image with linux-image-2.6.32-5-686-bigmem and grub-legacy packages installed.

In the Xen entry at Debian wiki is mentioned that domU instances can boot with a Linux image Xen flavor, but I could not boot linux-image-2.6.32-5-xen-686 in Amazon EC2. I'll investigate why that's happening.