AWS License Manager
User Guide

Enforcing License Rules

After license configuration rules are in place, they can be attached to the relevant launch mechanisms, where they can directly prevent the deployment of new resources that are non-compliant. Users in your organization can seamlessly launch EC2 instances from designated AMIs, and administrators can track license inventory through the built-in License Manager dashboard. Launch controls and dashboard alerts allow easier compliance enforcement.


AWS does not participate in the audit process with software vendors. Customers are responsible for compliance and assume the responsibility of carefully understanding and capturing rules into License Manager based on their licensing agreements.

License tracking works from the time rules are attached to an instance until its termination. You define your usage limits and licensing rules, and License Manager tracks deployments while also alerting you to rule violations. If you have configured hard limits, License Manager can prevent resources from launching.

When a tracked server is stopped or terminated, its license is released and returned to the pool of available licenses.


AWS treats license-tracking data as sensitive customer data accessible only through the AWS account that owns it. AWS does not have access to your license-tracking data. You control your license-tracking data and you can delete it at any time.

Because organizations have differing approaches to operations and compliance, License Manager supports multiple launch mechanisms:

  • Manual association of license configurations with AMIs — For tracking licenses for operating system or other software, you can attach licensing rules to AMIs before publishing them for broader use in your organization. Any deployments from these AMIs are then automatically tracked with License Manager without requiring any additional actions by users. You can also attach licensing rules to your current AMI building mechanisms such as Amazon EC2 Systems Manager Automation, AWS VM Import/Export, and Packer.

  • Amazon EC2 launch templates and AWS CloudFormation — If attaching licensing rules to AMIs is not a preferred option, you can specify them as optional parameters in EC2 launch templates or AWS CloudFormation templates. Deployments using these templates are tracked using License Manager. You can enforce rules on EC2 launch templates or AWS CloudFormation templates by specifying one or more license configuration IDs in the License Configurations field.

Manually Associating License Configurations with AMIs

The following procedure demonstrates how to associate and disassociate license configurations from AMIs using the License Manager console. The procedures assume that you have at least one existing license configuration already configured. You can associate license configurations with any AMI that you have access to, whether owned or shared.

To associate a license configuration with an AMI

  1. Open the License Manager console at

  2. In the left navigation pane, choose License configurations.

  3. For License configurations, choose the license configuration with which to work.

  4. Choose Actions, Associate AMI. The Associated Amazon Machine Images list displays the AMIs already associated with the license configuration (if any).

  5. Choose Associate a new AMI.

  6. For Available AMIs, select one or more AMIs and choose Associate AMI, OK. Any new AMIs that you associated now appear in the Associated Amazon Machine Images list.

To disassociate a license configuration from an AMI

  1. Open the License Manager console at

  2. In the left navigation pane, choose License configurations.

  3. For License configurations, select the license configuration with which to work.

  4. Choose Associated AMIs.

  5. For Associated Amazon Machine Images, select the AMI to disassociate and choose Disassociate AMI, Disassociate.