Shlomo Swidler has a great writeup on booting an EC2 instance from an EBS drive. In my case I wanted to run our development server only during business hours, and possibly only when someone actually needs it. This way we can save both money and time by running a faster instance type (think Rails unit tests), but only for 1/3 of the time. Since the EBS volume persists across instances, any software upgrades and configuration changes will persist as well.
I’ve been thinking I should figure this out for a while, but it seems Mr. Swidler figured it out for me. Thanks!