Automating Image Creation in AWS using EC2 Image Builder

In today’s fast-paced cloud computing environment, automation plays a pivotal role in streamlining processes and ensuring consistency in deployment. One critical aspect of cloud infrastructure management is image creation for virtual machines. Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers an effective solution to this with EC2 Image Builder, a service that allows you to automate image creation pipelines, enabling the production of customized Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) images. In this article, we will guide you through the process of setting up an image creation pipeline using EC2 Image Builder.

Hands-On: Setting Up an Image Creation Pipeline

Step 1: Create a Role with Required Permissions

  1. Navigate to the AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) console.
  2. Create a role with permissions needed for EC2 Image Builder.
  3. Choose “EC2” as the use case for the role.
  4. Attach the following policies:
    • “AmazonEC2ImageBuilderEC2InstanceProfile”
    • “AmazonSSMManagedInstanceCore”

Step 2: Define an Image Pipeline

  1. Go to the EC2 Image Builder console.
  2. Create a new image pipeline.
  3. Choose an image recipe and infrastructure configuration.
  4. Define distribution and test settings.

Step 3: Configure the Image Recipe

  1. Select the source image. For this example, let’s use the most recent version of Amazon Linux.
  2. Browse managed images and choose a base image.
  3. Create build components to customize the image. In EC2 Image Builder, a “component” refers to a set of instructions or actions that define how to customize and configure software or settings on an Amazon Machine Image (AMI). Components can include scripts, package installations, and other tasks that are executed during the image building process. Components can be categorized into two main types:
    • You can add software installation, configuration steps, validation, and security hardening.
    • Use Amazon-provided example components or create your own.
  4. Add test components to validate functionality, security, and performance.

Step 4: Configure the Image Pipeline

  1. Specify a name for the image pipeline.
  2. Associate the IAM role created earlier with the instance profile.
  3. Choose the frequency of pipeline execution (e.g., weekly on Mondays at 12:00 UTC).
  4. Optionally, configure infrastructure settings, such as instance type.
  5. Associate a License Manager configuration if needed.
  6. Provide a name for the custom image produced by the pipeline.

Step 5: Execute the Pipeline

  1. Review your pipeline settings.
  2. Create the pipeline.
  3. Execute the pipeline manually or wait for the scheduled time. execute EC2 pipeline manually

Step 6: Monitor the Pipeline Execution

  1. During execution, the pipeline progresses through building, testing, and distributing stages.
  2. Instances are started to execute build and test components.
  3. Monitor the instances in the EC2 Management Console.
  4. Once the pipeline completes, the custom image is available.


Automating image creation in AWS using EC2 Image Builder is a powerful way to ensure consistent and reliable deployments. By following the hands-on steps outlined in this article, you can set up a comprehensive image creation pipeline that includes custom software installations, configurations, tests, and security measures. This automation not only saves time but also reduces the risk of manual errors and ensures that your EC2 instances are built using standardized, tested, and secure images. Take advantage of EC2 Image Builder to enhance your AWS infrastructure management and streamline your cloud operations.

Now that you’ve seen how to automate image creation in AWS using EC2 Image Builder, it’s your turn to try it out! Create your own image pipelines, experiment with different components, and witness the efficiency and consistency that automation brings to your cloud environment.

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