AWS Organizations
User Guide

What is AWS Organizations?

AWS Organizations is an account management service that enables you to consolidate multiple AWS accounts into an organization that you create and centrally manage. AWS Organizations includes all the functionality of Consolidated Billing, yet extends that functionality by giving you more account management capabilities that enable you to better meet the budgetary, security, and compliance needs of your business. You can use your organization to create accounts and invite existing accounts to join your organization. If you already have a Consolidated Billing family of accounts, those accounts automatically become part of your organization.

This user guide defines key concepts for AWS Organizations and explains how to use the service.

AWS Organizations Features

AWS Organizations offers the following features:

Centralized management of all of your AWS accounts

You can combine your existing accounts into an organization that enables you to manage the accounts centrally. You can create accounts that automatically are a part of your organization, and you can invite other accounts to join your organization. You also can attach policies that affect some or all of your accounts.

Consolidated billing for all member accounts

Consolidated billing is now a feature of AWS Organizations. You can use the master account of your organization to consolidate and pay for all member accounts.

Hierarchical grouping of your accounts to meet your budgetary, security, or compliance needs

You can group your accounts into organizational units (OUs) and attach different access policies to each OU. For example, if you have accounts that must access only the AWS services that meet certain regulatory requirements, you can put those accounts into one OU. You then can attach a policy to that OU that blocks access to services that do not meet those regulatory requirements. OUs can be nested within other OUs, to a maximum depth of five levels, providing flexibility in how you structure your account groups.

Control over the AWS services and actions that each account can access

You can restrict which AWS services the users and roles in each account can access. This restriction even overrides account administrators. When Organizations blocks access to a service or action for an account, a user or role in that account cannot access any prohibited service or action, even if an account administrator explicitly grants such permissions in an IAM policy. Organization administration overrules account administration.

Integration and support for AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM)

IAM provides granular control over users and roles in individual accounts. Organizations expands that control to the account level by giving you control over what users and roles in an account or a group of accounts can do. The resulting permissions are the logical intersection of what is allowed by Organizations at the account level, and what permissions are explicitly granted by IAM at the user or role level within that account. In other words, the user can access only what is allowed by both the Organizations and IAM policies. If either blocks an operation, the user cannot access that operation.

Data replication that is "eventually consistent"

AWS Organizations, like many other AWS services, is eventually consistent. Organizations achieves high availability by replicating data across multiple servers within Amazon's data centers around the world. If a request to change some data is successful, the change is committed and safely stored. However, the change must then be replicated across multiple servers within Amazon's data centers around the world, which can take some time. For more information, see Changes that I make are not always immediately visible.

AWS Organizations Pricing

AWS Organizations is offered at no additional charge. You are charged only for AWS resources that users and roles in your member accounts use. For example, you are charged the standard fees for Amazon EC2 instances that are used by users or roles in your member accounts. For information about the pricing of other AWS services, see AWS Pricing.

Accessing AWS Organizations

You can work with AWS Organizations in any of the following ways:

AWS Management Console

The Organizations console is a browser-based interface that you can use to manage your organization and your AWS resources. You can perform any task in your organization by using the console.

AWS Command Line Tools

The AWS command line tools allow you to issue commands at your system's command line to perform Organizations and AWS tasks; this can be faster and more convenient than using the console. The command line tools also are useful if you want to build scripts that perform AWS tasks.

AWS provides two sets of command line tools: the AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI) and the AWS Tools for Windows PowerShell. For information about installing and using the AWS CLI, see the AWS Command Line Interface User Guide. For information about installing and using the Tools for Windows PowerShell, see the AWS Tools for Windows PowerShell User Guide.


The AWS SDKs consist of libraries and sample code for various programming languages and platforms (for example, Java, Python, Ruby, .NET, iOS, and Android). The SDKs take care of tasks such as cryptographically signing requests, managing errors, and retrying requests automatically. For more information about the AWS SDKs, including how to download and install them, see Tools for Amazon Web Services.

AWS Organizations HTTPS Query API

The Organizations HTTPS Query API gives you programmatic access to Organizations and AWS. The HTTPS Query API lets you issue HTTPS requests directly to the service. When you use the HTTPS API, you must include code to digitally sign requests using your credentials. For more information, see Calling the API by Making HTTP Query Requests and the AWS Organizations API Reference.

Support and Feedback for AWS Organizations

We welcome your feedback. You can send comments to You also can post your feedback and questions in our private AWS Organizations support forum. If you do not have access to the AWS Organizations forum, please send your request to the email address, along with your forum user ID. For more information about the AWS support forums, see Forums Help.

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