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AWS Config
Developer Guide

Concepts

Understanding the basic components of AWS Config will help you get the most out of this service.

AWS Config Rules

An AWS Config rule represents your desired configuration settings for specific AWS resources or for an entire AWS account. AWS Config provides customizable, predefined rules to help you get started. You can also create custom rules. While AWS Config continuously tracks your resource configuration changes, it checks whether these changes violate any of the conditions in your rules. If a resource violates a rule, AWS Config flags the resource and the rule as noncompliant, and AWS Config notifies you through Amazon SNS. For more information, see Evaluating Resources With AWS Config Rules.

AWS Resources

AWS resources are entities that you create and manage using the AWS Management Console, the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI), the AWS SDKs, or AWS partner tools. Examples of AWS resources include Amazon EC2 instances, security groups, Amazon VPCs, and Amazon Elastic Block Store. AWS Config refers to each resource using its unique identifier, such as the resource ID or an Amazon Resource Name (ARN). For details, see Supported AWS Resource Types.

Configuration History

A configuration history is a collection of the configuration items for a given resource over any time period. A configuration history can help you answer questions about, for example, when the resource was first created, how the resource has been configured over the last month, and what configuration changes were introduced yesterday at 9 AM. The configuration history is available to you in multiple formats. AWS Config automatically delivers a configuration history file for each resource type that is being recorded to an Amazon S3 bucket that you specify. You can select a given resource in the AWS Config console and navigate to all previous configuration items for that resource using the timeline. Additionally, you can access the historical configuration items for a resource from the API.

Configuration Items

A configuration item represents a point-in-time view of the various attributes of a supported AWS resource that exists in your account. The components of a configuration item include metadata, attributes, relationships, current configuration, and related events. AWS Config creates a configuration item whenever it detects a change to a resource type that it is recording. For example, if AWS Config is recording Amazon S3 buckets, AWS Config creates a configuration item whenever a bucket is created, updated, or deleted.

For details, see Components of a Configuration Item.

Configuration Recorder

The configuration recorder stores the configurations of the supported resources in your account as configuration items. You must first create and then start the configuration recorder before you can start recording. You can stop and restart the configuration recorder at any time. For more information, see Managing the Configuration Recorder.

By default, the configuration recorder records all supported resources in the region where AWS Config is running. You can create a customized configuration recorder that records only the resource types that you specify. For more information, see Selecting Which Resources AWS Config Records.

If you use the AWS Management Console or the CLI to turn on the service, AWS Config automatically creates and starts a configuration recorder for you.

Configuration Snapshot

A configuration snapshot is a collection of the configuration items for the supported resources that exist in your account. This configuration snapshot is a complete picture of the resources that are being recorded and their configurations. The configuration snapshot can be a useful tool for validating your configuration. For example, you may want to examine the configuration snapshot regularly for resources that are configured incorrectly or that potentially should not exist. The configuration snapshot is available in multiple formats. You can have the configuration snapshot delivered to an Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) bucket that you specify. Additionally, you can select a point in time in the AWS Config console and navigate through the snapshot of configuration items using the relationships between the resources.

Configuration Stream

A configuration stream is an automatically updated list of all configuration items for the resources that AWS Config is recording. Every time a resource is created, modified, or deleted, AWS Config creates a configuration item and adds to the configuration stream. The configuration stream works by using an Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) topic of your choice. The configuration stream is helpful for observing configuration changes as they occur so that you can spot potential problems, generating notifications if certain resources are changed, or updating external systems that need to reflect the configuration of your AWS resources.

Resource Relationship

AWS Config discovers AWS resources in your account and then creates a map of relationships between AWS resources. For example, a relationship might include an Amazon EBS volume vol-123ab45d attached to an Amazon EC2 instance i-a1b2c3d4 that is associated with security group sg-ef678hk.

For more information, see Supported Resource Relationships.