Running documents from remote locations - AWS Systems Manager

Running documents from remote locations

You can run AWS Systems Manager (SSM) documents from remote locations by using the AWS-RunDocument pre-defined SSM document. This document supports running SSM documents stored in the following locations:

  • Public and private GitHub repositories (GitHub Enterprise is not supported)

  • Amazon S3 buckets

  • Systems Manager

While you can also run remote documents by using State Manager or Automation, capabilities of AWS Systems Manager, the following procedure describes only how to run remote SSM documents by using AWS Systems Manager Run Command in the Systems Manager console.


AWS-RunDocument can be used to run only command-type SSM documents, not other types such as Automation runbooks. The AWS-RunDocument uses the aws:downloadContent plugin. For more information about the aws:downloadContent plugin, see aws:downloadContent.

Before you begin

Before you run a remote document, you must complete the following tasks.

  • Create an SSM Command document and save it in a remote location. For more information, see Creating SSM document content

  • If you plan to run a remote document that is stored in a private GitHub repository, then you must create a Systems Manager SecureString parameter for your GitHub security access token. You can't access a remote document in a private GitHub repository by manually passing your token over SSH. The access token must be passed as a Systems Manager SecureString parameter. For more information about creating a SecureString parameter, see Creating Systems Manager parameters.

Run a remote document (console)

To run a remote document
  1. Open the AWS Systems Manager console at

  2. In the navigation pane, choose Run Command.

  3. Choose Run command.

  4. In the Document list, choose AWS-RunDocument.

  5. In Command parameters, for Source Type, choose an option.

    • If you choose GitHub, specify Source Info information in the following format:

      { "owner": "owner_name", "repository": "repository_name", "path": "path_to_document", "getOptions":"branch:branch_name", "tokenInfo": "{{ssm-secure:secure-string-token}}" }

      For example:

      { "owner":"TestUser", "repository":"GitHubTestExamples", "path":"scripts/python/test-script", "getOptions":"branch:exampleBranch", "tokenInfo":"{{ssm-secure:my-secure-string-token}}" }

      getOptions are extra options to retrieve content from a branch other than master, or from a specific commit in the repository. getOptions can be omitted if you are using the latest commit in the master branch. The branch parameter is required only if your SSM document is stored in a branch other than master.

      To use the version of your SSM document in a particular commit in your repository, use commitID with getOptions instead of branch. For example:

      "getOptions": "commitID:bbc1ddb94...b76d3bEXAMPLE",
    • If you choose S3, specify Source Info information in the following format:


      For example:

    • If you choose SSMDocument, specify Source Info information in the following format:

      {"name": "document_name"}

      For example:

      {"name": "mySSMdoc"}
  6. In the Document Parameters field, enter parameters for the remote SSM document. For example, if you run the AWS-RunPowerShell document, you could specify:

    {"commands": ["date", "echo \"Hello World\""]}

    If you run the AWS-ConfigureAWSPack document, you could specify:

    { "action":"Install", "name":"AWSPVDriver" }
  7. In the Targets section, choose the managed nodes on which you want to run this operation by specifying tags, selecting instances or edge devices manually, or specifying a resource group.


    If a managed node you expect to see isn't listed, see Troubleshooting managed node availability for troubleshooting tips.

  8. For Other parameters:

    • For Comment, enter information about this command.

    • For Timeout (seconds), specify the number of seconds for the system to wait before failing the overall command execution.

  9. For Rate control:

    • For Concurrency, specify either a number or a percentage of managed nodes on which to run the command at the same time.


      If you selected targets by specifying tags applied to managed nodes or by specifying AWS resource groups, and you aren't certain how many managed nodes are targeted, then restrict the number of targets that can run the document at the same time by specifying a percentage.

    • For Error threshold, specify when to stop running the command on other managed nodes after it fails on either a number or a percentage of nodes. For example, if you specify three errors, then Systems Manager stops sending the command when the fourth error is received. Managed nodes still processing the command might also send errors.

  10. (Optional) For Output options, to save the command output to a file, select the Write command output to an S3 bucket box. Enter the bucket and prefix (folder) names in the boxes.


    The S3 permissions that grant the ability to write the data to an S3 bucket are those of the instance profile (for EC2 instances) or IAM service role (hybrid-activated machines) assigned to the instance, not those of the IAM user performing this task. For more information, see Configure instance permissions required for Systems Manager or Create an IAM service role for a hybrid environment. In addition, if the specified S3 bucket is in a different AWS account, make sure that the instance profile or IAM service role associated with the managed node has the necessary permissions to write to that bucket.

  11. In the SNS notifications section, if you want notifications sent about the status of the command execution, select the Enable SNS notifications check box.

    For more information about configuring Amazon SNS notifications for Run Command, see Monitoring Systems Manager status changes using Amazon SNS notifications.

  12. Choose Run.


For information about rebooting servers and instances when using Run Command to call scripts, see Handling reboots when running commands.