Amazon SageMaker
Developer Guide

Customize a Notebook Instance

To install packages or sample notebooks on your notebook instance, configure networking and security for it, or otherwise use a shell script to customize it, use a lifecycle configuration. A lifecycle configuration provides shell scripts that run only when you create the notebook instance or whenever you start one. When you create a notebook instance, you can create a new lifecycle configuration and the scripts it uses or apply one that you already have.

The Amazon SageMaker team maintains a public repository of notebook intance lifecycle configurations that address common use cases for customizing notebook instances at


Each script has a limit of 16384 characters.

The value of the $PATH environment variable that is available to both scripts is /usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/sbin:/sbin:/bin. The working directory, which is the value of the $PWD environment variable, is /.

View CloudWatch Logs for notebook instance lifecycle configurations in log group /aws/sagemaker/NotebookInstances in log stream [notebook-instance-name]/[LifecycleConfigHook].

Scripts cannot run for longer than 5 minutes. If a script runs for longer than 5 minutes, it fails and the notebook instance is not created or started. To help decrease the run time of scripts, try the following:

  • Cut down on necessary steps. For example, limit which conda environments in which to install large packages.

  • Run tasks in parallel processes.

  • Use the nohup command in your script.

To create a lifecycle configuration

  1. For Lifecycle configuration - Optional, choose Create a new lifecycle configuration.

  2. For Name, type a name.

  3. (Optional) To create a script that runs when you create the notebook and every time you start it, choose Start notebook.

  4. In the Start notebook editor, type the script.

  5. (Optional) To create a script that runs only once, when you create the notebook, choose Create notebook.

  6. In the Create notebook editor, type the script configure networking.

  7. Choose Create configuration.

You can see a list of notebook instance lifecycle configurations you previously created by choosing Lifecycle configuration in the Amazon SageMaker console. From there, you can view, edit, delete existing lifecycle configurations. You can create a new notebook instance lifecycle configuration by choosing Create configuration. These notebook instance lifecycle configurations are available when you create a new notebook instance.

Lifecycle Configuration Best Practices

The following are best practices for using lifecycle configurations:

  • Lifecycle configurations run as the root user. If your script makes any changes within the /home/ec2-user/SageMaker directory, (for example, installing a package with pip), use the command sudo -u ec2-user command to run as the ec2-user user. This is the same user that Amazon SageMaker runs as.

  • Amazon SageMaker notebook instances use conda environments to implement different kernels for Jupyter notebooks. If you want to install packages that are available to one or more notebook kernels, enclose the commands to install the packages with conda environment commands that activate the conda environment that contains the kernel where you want to install the packages.

    For example, if you want to install a package only in for the python3 environment, use the following code:

    #!/bin/bash sudo -u ec2-user -i <<'EOF' # This will affect only the Jupyter kernel called "conda_python3". source activate python3 # Replace myPackage with the name of the package you want to install. pip install myPackage # You can also perform "conda install" here as well. source deactivate EOF

    If you want to install a package in all conda environments in the notebook instance, use the following code:

    #!/bin/bash sudo -u ec2-user -i <<'EOF' # Note that "base" is special environment name, include it there as well. for env in base /home/ec2-user/anaconda3/envs/*; do source /home/ec2-user/anaconda3/bin/activate $(basename "$env") # Installing packages in the Jupyter system environment can affect stability of your SageMaker # Notebook Instance. You can remove this check if you'd like to install Jupyter extensions, etc. if [ $env = 'JupyterSystemEnv' ]; then continue fi # Replace myPackage with the name of the package you want to install. pip install --upgrade --quiet myPackage # You can also perform "conda install" here as well. source /home/ec2-user/anaconda3/bin/deactivate done EOF


    All conda environments must be stored in the default environments folder (i.e. /home/ec2-user/anaconda3/envs).


When you create or change a script file, we recommend you use Create notebook editor or a text editor that allows for Unix style line breaks. Copying text from a non Linux operating system might include incompatible line breaks and result in an unexpected error.