Tagging Best Practices - Tagging Best Practices

Tagging Best Practices

Implement an Effective AWS Resource Tagging Strategy

Publication date: April 22, 2022 (Document history)

Amazon Web Services (AWS) allows you to assign metadata to many of your AWS resources in the form of tags. Each tag is a simple label consisting of a key and an optional value to store information about the resource or data retained on that resource. This whitepaper focuses on tagging use cases, strategies, techniques, and tools that enable you to categorize resources by purpose, team, environment, or other criteria relevant to your business. Implementing a consistent tagging strategy can make it easier to filter and search for resources, monitor cost and usage, as well as manage your AWS infrastructure at scale.


AWS enables you to easily deploy your workloads in the cloud by creating resources, such as Amazon EC2 instances, Amazon EBS volumes, security groups, and AWS Lambda functions. You can also scale and grow the fleet of AWS resources that hosts your applications, store your data, and expand your AWS infrastructure over time. As your AWS usage grows to many resource types spanning multiple applications, you will need a mechanism to track which resources are assigned to which application. Use this information to support your operational activities, such as cost monitoring, incident management, patching, and access control.

In on-premises environments, this knowledge is often captured in knowledge management systems, document management systems, and on internal wiki pages. With a Configuration Management Database (CMDB), you can store and manage the detailed metadata using standard change control processes. This approach provides governance, but requires additional effort to develop and maintain. You can take a structured approach to the naming of resources, but a resource name can only hold a limited amount of information:

Picture showing the decomposition of the name of a resource

Structured approach to resource naming

For example, EC2 instances have a predefined tag called Name that provides similar functionality and allows you to name workloads as they are moved to AWS.

In 2010, AWS launched resource tags to provide a flexible and scalable mechanism for attaching metadata to your resources. This whitepaper will guide you through the process of developing and implementing a robust tagging strategy across your AWS environment. This guidance will help you ensure tagging consistency and coverage that supports your decision-making and operational activities.

Are you Well-Architected?

The AWS Well-Architected Framework helps you understand the pros and cons of the decisions you make when building systems in the cloud. The six pillars of the Framework allow you to learn architectural best practices for designing and operating reliable, secure, efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable systems. Using the AWS Well-Architected Tool, available at no charge in the AWS Management Console, you can review your workloads against these best practices by answering a set of questions for each pillar.

For more expert guidance and best practices for your cloud architecture—reference architecture deployments, diagrams, and whitepapers—refer to the AWS Architecture Center.