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Amazon EC2 Systems Manager
User Guide

Working with Predefined Automation Documents

To help you get started quickly, Systems Manager provides the following pre-defined Automation documents. These documents are maintained by Amazon Web Services.

Customizing and Updating Linux AMIs Using AWS-UpdateLinuxAmi

The AWS-UpdateLinuxAmi document enables you to automate image-maintenance tasks without having to author the workflow in JavaScript Object Notation (JSON). You can use the AWS-UpdateLinuxAmi document to perform the following types of tasks.

  • Upgrade all distribution packages and Amazon software on an Amazon Linux, Red Hat, Ubuntu, or Cent OS Amazon Machine Image (AMI). This is the default document behavior.

  • Install the SSM Agent on an existing image to enable Systems Manager capabilities, such as remote command execution using Run Command or software inventory collection using Inventory.

  • Install additional software packages.

You can view the JSON for this document in the Amazon EC2 console. Expand Systems Manager Shared Resources, and then choose Documents. Choose the option beside the AWS-UpdateLinuxAmi document, and then use the tabs in the lower pane to view the JSON and other information about the document, as shown in the following image.


                        Systems Manager Automation document

Before You Begin

Before you begin working with Automation documents, configure roles and, optionally, CloudWatch Events for Automation. For more information, see Setting Up Automation.

The AWS-UpdateLinuxAmi document accepts the following input parameters.

Parameter Type Description

SourceAmiId

String

(Required) The source AMI ID.

InstanceIamRole

String

(Optional) The name of the AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) instance profile role you created in Setting Up Automation. The instance profile role gives Automation permission to perform actions on your instances, such as executing commands or starting and stopping services. The Automation document uses only the name of the instance profile role. If you specify the Amazon Resource Name (ARN), the Automation execution fails.

AutomationAssumeRole

String

(Optional) The name of the IAM service role you created in Setting Up Automation. The service role (also called an assume role) gives Automation permission to assume your IAM role and perform actions on your behalf. For example, the service role allows Automation to create a new AMI when executing the aws:createImage action in an Automation document. For this parameter, the complete ARN must be specified.

TargetAmiName

String

(Optional) The name of the new AMI after it is created. The default name is a system-generated string that includes the source AMI ID, and the creation time and date.

InstanceType

String

(Optional) The type of instance to launch as the workspace host. Instance types vary by region. The default type is t2.micro.

PreUpdateScript

String

(Optional) URL of a script to run before updates are applied. Default (\"none\") is to not run a script.

PostUpdateScript

String

(Optional) URL of a script to run after package updates are applied. Default (\"none\") is to not run a script.

IncludePackages

String

(Optional) Only update these named packages. By default (\"all\"), all available updates are applied.

ExcludePackages

String

(Optional) Names of packages to hold back from updates, under all conditions. By default (\"none\"), no package is excluded.

Automation Steps

The AWS-UpdateLinuxAmi document includes the following Automation steps, by default.

Step 1: launchInstance (aws:runInstances action)

This step launches an instance using Amazon EC2 userdata and an IAM instance profile role. Userdata installs the appropriate SSM Agent, based on the operating system. Installing the SSM Agent enables you to utilize Systems Manager capabilities such as Run Command, State Manager, and Inventory.

Step 2: updateOSSoftware (aws:runCommand action)

This step executes the following commands on the launched instance:

  • Downloads an update script from Amazon S3.

  • Executes an optional pre-update script.

  • Updates distribution packages and Amazon software.

  • Executes an optional post-update script.

The execution log is stored in the /tmp folder for the user to view later.

If you want to upgrade a specific set of packages, you can supply the list using the IncludePackages parameter. When provided, the system attempts to update only these packages and their dependencies. No other updates are performed. By default, when no include packages are specified, the program updates all available packages.

If you want to exclude upgrading a specific set of packages, you can supply the list to the ExcludePackages parameter. If provided, these packages remain at their current version, independent of any other options specified. By default, when no exclude packages are specified, no packages are excluded.

Step 3: stopInstance (aws:changeInstanceState action)

This step stops the updated instance.

Step 4: createImage (aws:createImage action)

This step creates a new AMI with a descriptive name that links it to the source ID and creation time. For example: “AMI Generated by EC2 Automation on {{global:DATE_TIME}} from {{SourceAmiId}}” where DATE_TIME and SourceID represent Automation variables.

Step 5: terminateInstance (aws:changeInstanceState action)

This step cleans up the execution by terminating the running instance.

Output

The execution returns the new AMI ID as output.

You can use the AWS-UpdateLinuxAmi document as a template to create your own document, as described in the next section. For information about actions (steps) that are supported in Automation documents, see Systems Manager Automation Actions. For information about how to use Automation documents, see Systems Manager Automation Walkthroughs

Customizing and Updating Windows AMIs Using AWS-UpdateWindowsAmi

The AWS-UpdateWindowsAmi document enables you to automate image-maintenance tasks on your Amazon Windows AMIs without having to author the workflow in JavaScript Object Notation (JSON). This document is supported for Windows Server 2008 R2 or later. You can use the AWS-UpdateWindowsAmi document to perform the following types of tasks.

  • Install all Windows updates and upgrade Amazon software (default behavior).

  • Install specific Windows updates and upgrade Amazon software.

  • Customize an AMI using your scripts.

Before You Begin

Before you begin working with Automation documents, configure roles and, optionally, CloudWatch Events for Automation. For more information, see Setting Up Automation.

The AWS-UpdateWindowsAmi document accepts the following input parameters.

Parameter Type Description

SourceAmiId

String

(Required) The source AMI ID.

InstanceIamRole

String

(Optional) The name of the AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) instance profile role you created in Setting Up Automation. The instance profile role gives Automation permission to perform actions on your instances, such as executing commands or starting and stopping services. The Automation document uses only the name of the instance profile role. If you specify the Amazon Resource Name (ARN), the Automation execution fails.

AutomationAssumeRole

String

(Optional) The name of the IAM service role you created in Setting Up Automation. The service role (also called an assume role) gives Automation permission to assume your IAM role and perform actions on your behalf. For example, the service role allows Automation to create a new AMI when executing the aws:createImage action in an Automation document. For this parameter, the complete ARN must be specified.

TargetAmiName

String

(Optional) The name of the new AMI after it is created. The default name is a system-generated string that includes the source AMI ID, and the creation time and date.

InstanceType

String

(Optional) The type of instance to launch as the workspace host. Instance types vary by region. The default type is t2.medium.

PreUpdateScript

String

(Optional) A script to run before updating the AMI. Enter a script in the Automation document or at runtime as a parameter.

PostUpdateScript

String

(Optional) A script to run after updating the AMI. Enter a script in the Automation document or at runtime as a parameter.

IncludeKbs

String

(Optional) Specify one or more Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) article IDs to include. You can install multiple IDs using comma-separated values. Valid formats: KB9876543 or 9876543.

ExcludeKbs

String

(Optional) Specify one or more Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) article IDs to exclude. You can exclude multiple IDs using comma-separated values. Valid formats: KB9876543 or 9876543.

Categories

String

(Optional)Specify one or more update categories. You can filter categories using comma-separated values. Options: Critical Update, Security Update, Definition Update, Update Rollup, Service Pack, Tool, Update, or Driver. Valid formats include a single entry, for example: Critical Update. Or, you can specify a comma separated list: Critical Update,Security Update,Definition Update.

SeverityLevels

String

(Optional) Specify one or more MSRC severity levels associated with an update. You can filter severity levels using comma-separated values. Options: Critical, Important, Low, Moderate or Unspecified. Valid formats include a single entry, for example: Critical. Or, you can specify a comma separated list: Critical,Important,Low.

Automation Steps

The AWS-UpdateWindowsAmi document includes the following Automation steps, by default.

Step 1: launchInstance (aws:runInstances action)

This step launches an instance with an IAM instance profile role from the specified SourceAmiID.

Step 2: runPreUpdateScript (aws:runCommand action)

This step enables you to specify a script as a string that executes before updates are installed.

Step 3: updateEC2Config (aws:runCommand action)

This step uses the AWS-InstallPowerShellModule public document to download an AWS public PowerShell module. Systems Manager verifies the integrity of the module by using an SHA-256 hash. Systems Manager then checks the operating system to determine whether to update EC2Config or EC2Launch. EC2Config runs on Windows Server 2008 R2 through Windows Server 2012 R2. EC2Launch runs on Windows Server 2016.

Step 4: updateSSMAgent (aws:runCommand action)

This step updates the SSM Agent by using the AWS-UpdateSSMAgent public document.

Step 5: updateAWSPVDriver (aws:runCommand action)

This step updates AWS PV drivers by using the AWS-ConfigureAWSPackage public document.

Step 6: installWindowsUpdates (aws:runCommand action)

This step installs Windows updates by using the AWS-InstallWindowsUpdates public document. By default, Systems Manager searches for and installs all missing updates. You can change the default behavior by specifying one of the following parameters: IncludeKbs, ExcludeKbs, Categories, or SeverityLevels.

Step 7: runPostUpdateScript (aws:runCommand action)

This step enables you to specify a script as a string that executes after the updates have been installed.

Step 8: runSysprepGeneralize (aws:runCommand action)

This step uses the AWS-InstallPowerShellModule public document to download an AWS public PowerShell module. Systems Manager verifies the integrity of the module by using an SHA-256 hash. Systems Manager then executes sysprep using AWS-supported methods for either EC2Launch (Windows Server 2016) or EC2Config (Windows Server 2008 R2 through 2012 R2).

Step 9: stopInstance (aws:changeInstanceState action)

This step stops the updated instance.

Step 10: createImage (aws:createImage action)

This step creates a new AMI with a descriptive name that links it to the source ID and creation time. For example: “AMI Generated by EC2 Automation on {{global:DATE_TIME}} from {{SourceAmiId}}” where DATE_TIME and SourceID represent Automation variables.

Step 11: createTags (aws:createTags action)

This step assigns the following tags to the AMI.

Key Value

Original_AMIID

SourceAmiId

Created_By_AutomationID

automation:EXECUTION_ID

The values are retrieved from an Automation document parameter and global variable.

Step 12: TerminateInstance (aws:changeInstanceState action)

This step cleans up the execution by terminating the running instance.

Output

This section enables you to designate the outputs of various steps or values of any parameter as the Automation output. By default, the output is the ID of the updated Windows AMI created by the execution.

You can use the AWS-UpdateWindowsAmi document as a template to create your own document, as described in the next section. For information about actions (steps) that are supported in Automation documents, see Systems Manager Automation Actions. For information about how to use Automation documents, see Systems Manager Automation Walkthroughs