How to select a system image

Last Updated: Dec 07, 2017


  • The Microsoft Windows Server on Alibaba Cloud contains genuine activation, and the CD-ROM configuration is removed by default.
  • Suitable for applications that run on Microsoft Windows.
  • Convenient for deploying applications using the Internet Information Server (IIS), ASP.NET, and Microsoft Web Platform.
  • Support for Microsoft SQL Server and other databases, and additional installation is required.
  • Manageable by the remote desktop session.


  • The most popular server-side OS built with robust security and stability.
  • Free and open-source, easy to build and compile the source code.
  • Remotely accessible by SSH.
  • Suitable for high-performance server applications such as Web applications, with support for common programming languages such as PHP and Python and databases such as MySQL (additional installation is required).
  • Alibaba Cloud provides the following Unix-like/Linux OSs:
    • (Recommended) CentOS. Use yum method for online software installation.
    • Ubuntu. Use apt-get method for online software installation.
    • Debian. Use aptitude method for online software installation.
    • Alibaba Cloud Linux. Use yum method for online software installation.
    • CoreOS
    • FreeBSD
    • OpenSUSE
    • SUSE Linux
  • Click Quick Start for more information.

About GPU instances

Public images do not contain GPU drivers. If you use a public image to create your instance, you need to download the driver manually, or choose an image with the driver preinstalled from the Marketplace. For more information, see the following documents:

Considerations for replacing the OS

  • Replacing the ECS OS changes your ECS instance’s system disk to a new one based on the image, and the loss of data on the previous system disk is inevitable.
  • Data on your ECS instance’s data disk are not affected when replacing the OS.
  • We recommend that you back up personal data on your system disk to the data disk or back up the data using snapshots or other methods.
  • Alibaba Cloud is not liable for any data loss if you fail to back up personal data on your system disk beforehand.
  • See OS replacement Instructions for how to replace the OS.

How to select the CPU, memory, and OS

  • A 32-bit OS has addressing limitation. So if you want to use a 32-bit OS, you can only buy an ECS instance with no more than 4 GB RAM.
  • If you want to buy an ECS instance with more than 4 GB RAM, you can only select a 64-bit OS.
  • A 32-bit Windows OS can only support a CPU with no more than four cores.
  • If you want to use the image of Windows Server 2016, you must select an ECS instance with no less than 2 GB RAM.
  • To guarantee performance, a greater than 2 GB RAM instance is recommended for Windows Server 2008 and 2012.
  • ECS instances in the regions outside of mainland China do not support interchange between Unix-like/Linux and Windows OSs. A Windows or Unix-like/Linux OS can only be replaced by a different version of the same platform.
  • Alibaba Cloud has stopped providing Windows Server 2003 public image, see Offline announcement of Windows Server 2003 system image for more information.
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