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How to select a system image

Last Updated: May 17, 2018


  • 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 that supports 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
  • For more information, see Quick Start.

About GPU instances

Public images do not contain GPU drivers. If you use a public image to create your instance, you must download the driver manually, or choose an image from the marketplace with the driver preinstalled. For more information, see Create a gn4 or gn5 instance.

Considerations for replacing the OS

  • Replacing the ECS OS changes your ECS instance’s system disk to a new one, and loss of data on the previous disk is inevitable.
  • The data on your ECS instance’s data disk is not affected.
  • We recommend that you back up personal data on your system disk to the data disk or back up data by using snapshots or other methods.
  • You must back up all the required data beforehand, because Alibaba Cloud is not responsible for any data loss.
  • 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. Therefore, if you want to use a 32-bit OS, you can only buy an ECS instance with a maximum of 4 GiB RAM.
  • If you want to buy an ECS instance with a maximum of 4 GiB 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 GiB RAM.
  • To guarantee performance, a more than 2 GiB RAM instance is recommended for the Windows Server 2008 and 2012.
  • ECS instances in the regions outside of mainland China do not support interchange between Unix-like/Linux and Windows operating systems. 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.