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CDK Constructs for AWS EC2

Project description

Amazon EC2 Construct Library


Stability: Stable

The @aws-cdk/aws-ec2 package contains primitives for setting up networking and instances.

# Example automatically generated. See
import aws_cdk.aws_ec2 as ec2


Most projects need a Virtual Private Cloud to provide security by means of network partitioning. This is achieved by creating an instance of Vpc:

# Example automatically generated. See
vpc = ec2.Vpc(self, "VPC")

All default constructs require EC2 instances to be launched inside a VPC, so you should generally start by defining a VPC whenever you need to launch instances for your project.

Subnet Types

A VPC consists of one or more subnets that instances can be placed into. CDK distinguishes three different subnet types:

  • Public - public subnets connect directly to the Internet using an Internet Gateway. If you want your instances to have a public IP address and be directly reachable from the Internet, you must place them in a public subnet.
  • Private - instances in private subnets are not directly routable from the Internet, and connect out to the Internet via a NAT gateway. By default, a NAT gateway is created in every public subnet for maximum availability. Be aware that you will be charged for NAT gateways.
  • Isolated - isolated subnets do not route from or to the Internet, and as such do not require NAT gateways. They can only connect to or be connected to from other instances in the same VPC. A default VPC configuration will not include isolated subnets,

A default VPC configuration will create public and private subnets, but not isolated subnets. See Advanced Subnet Configuration below for information on how to change the default subnet configuration.

Constructs using the VPC will "launch instances" (or more accurately, create Elastic Network Interfaces) into one or more of the subnets. They all accept a property called subnetSelection (sometimes called vpcSubnets) to allow you to select in what subnet to place the ENIs, usually defaulting to private subnets if the property is omitted.

If you would like to save on the cost of NAT gateways, you can use isolated subnets instead of private subnets (as described in Advanced Subnet Configuration). If you need private instances to have internet connectivity, another option is to reduce the number of NAT gateways created by setting the natGateways property to a lower value (the default is one NAT gateway per availability zone). Be aware that this may have availability implications for your application.

Read more about subnets.

Control over availability zones

By default, a VPC will spread over at most 3 Availability Zones available to it. To change the number of Availability Zones that the VPC will spread over, specify the maxAzs property when defining it.

The number of Availability Zones that are available depends on the region and account of the Stack containing the VPC. If the region and account are specified on the Stack, the CLI will look up the existing Availability Zones and get an accurate count. If region and account are not specified, the stack could be deployed anywhere and it will have to make a safe choice, limiting itself to 2 Availability Zones.

Therefore, to get the VPC to spread over 3 or more availability zones, you must specify the environment where the stack will be deployed.

Using NAT instances

By default, the Vpc construct will create NAT gateways for you, which are managed by AWS. If you would prefer to use your own managed NAT instances instead, specify a different value for the natGatewayProvider property, as follows:

# Example automatically generated. See
# Configure the `natGatewayProvider` when defining a Vpc
nat_gateway_provider = ec2.NatProvider.instance(

vpc = ec2.Vpc(self, "MyVpc",

    # The 'natGateways' parameter now controls the number of NAT instances

The construct will automatically search for the most recent NAT gateway AMI. If you prefer to use a custom AMI, pass a GenericLinuxImage instance for the instance's machineImage parameter and configure the right AMI ID for the regions you want to deploy to.

Advanced Subnet Configuration

If the default VPC configuration (public and private subnets spanning the size of the VPC) don't suffice for you, you can configure what subnets to create by specifying the subnetConfiguration property. It allows you to configure the number and size of all subnets. Specifying an advanced subnet configuration could look like this:

# Example automatically generated. See
vpc = ec2.Vpc(self, "TheVPC",
    # 'cidr' configures the IP range and size of the entire VPC.
    # The IP space will be divided over the configured subnets.

    # 'maxAzs' configures the maximum number of availability zones to use

    # 'subnetConfiguration' specifies the "subnet groups" to create.
    # Every subnet group will have a subnet for each AZ, so this
    # configuration will create `3 groups × 3 AZs = 9` subnets.
        # 'subnetType' controls Internet access, as described above.

        # 'name' is used to name this particular subnet group. You will have to
        # use the name for subnet selection if you have more than one subnet
        # group of the same type.

        # 'cidrMask' specifies the IP addresses in the range of of individual
        # subnets in the group. Each of the subnets in this group will contain
        # `2^(32 address bits - 24 subnet bits) - 2 reserved addresses = 254`
        # usable IP addresses.
        # If 'cidrMask' is left out the available address space is evenly
        # divided across the remaining subnet groups.
    ), SubnetConfiguration(
    ), SubnetConfiguration(

        # 'reserved' can be used to reserve IP address space. No resources will
        # be created for this subnet, but the IP range will be kept available for
        # future creation of this subnet, or even for future subdivision.

The example above is one possible configuration, but the user can use the constructs above to implement many other network configurations.

The Vpc from the above configuration in a Region with three availability zones will be the following:

Subnet Name Type IP Block AZ Features
IngressSubnet1 PUBLIC #1 NAT Gateway
IngressSubnet2 PUBLIC #2 NAT Gateway
IngressSubnet3 PUBLIC #3 NAT Gateway
ApplicationSubnet1 PRIVATE #1 Route to NAT in IngressSubnet1
ApplicationSubnet2 PRIVATE #2 Route to NAT in IngressSubnet2
ApplicationSubnet3 PRIVATE #3 Route to NAT in IngressSubnet3
DatabaseSubnet1 ISOLATED #1 Only routes within the VPC
DatabaseSubnet2 ISOLATED #2 Only routes within the VPC
DatabaseSubnet3 ISOLATED #3 Only routes within the VPC

Reserving subnet IP space

There are situations where the IP space for a subnet or number of subnets will need to be reserved. This is useful in situations where subnets would need to be added after the vpc is originally deployed, without causing IP renumbering for existing subnets. The IP space for a subnet may be reserved by setting the reserved subnetConfiguration property to true, as shown below:

# Example automatically generated. See
vpc = ec2.Vpc(self, "TheVPC",
    ), SubnetConfiguration(
    ), SubnetConfiguration(
    ), SubnetConfiguration(

In the example above, the subnet for Application2 is not actually provisioned but its IP space is still reserved. If in the future this subnet needs to be provisioned, then the reserved: true property should be removed. Reserving parts of the IP space prevents the other subnets from getting renumbered.

Sharing VPCs between stacks

If you are creating multiple Stacks inside the same CDK application, you can reuse a VPC defined in one Stack in another by simply passing the VPC instance around:

# Example automatically generated. See
# Stack1 creates the VPC
class Stack1(cdk.Stack):

    def __init__(self, scope, id, *, description=None, env=None, stackName=None, tags=None):
        super().__init__(scope, id, description=description, env=env, stackName=stackName, tags=tags)

        self.vpc = ec2.Vpc(self, "VPC")

# Stack2 consumes the VPC
class Stack2(cdk.Stack):
    def __init__(self, scope, id, *, vpc, description=None, env=None, stackName=None, tags=None):
        super().__init__(scope, id, vpc=vpc, description=description, env=env, stackName=stackName, tags=tags)

        # Pass the VPC to a construct that needs it
        ConstructThatTakesAVpc(self, "Construct",

stack1 = Stack1(app, "Stack1")
stack2 = Stack2(app, "Stack2",

Importing an existing VPC

If your VPC is created outside your CDK app, you can use Vpc.fromLookup(). The CDK CLI will search for the specified VPC in the the stack's region and account, and import the subnet configuration. Looking up can be done by VPC ID, but more flexibly by searching for a specific tag on the VPC.

Subnet types will be determined from the aws-cdk:subnet-type tag on the subnet if it exists, or the presence of a route to an Internet Gateway otherwise. Subnet names will be determined from the aws-cdk:subnet-name tag on the subnet if it exists, or will mirror the subnet type otherwise (i.e. a public subnet will have the name "Public").

Here's how Vpc.fromLookup() can be used:

# Example automatically generated. See
vpc = ec2.Vpc.from_lookup(stack, "VPC",
    # This imports the default VPC but you can also
    # specify a 'vpcName' or 'tags'.

Allowing Connections

In AWS, all network traffic in and out of Elastic Network Interfaces (ENIs) is controlled by Security Groups. You can think of Security Groups as a firewall with a set of rules. By default, Security Groups allow no incoming (ingress) traffic and all outgoing (egress) traffic. You can add ingress rules to them to allow incoming traffic streams. To exert fine-grained control over egress traffic, set allowAllOutbound: false on the SecurityGroup, after which you can add egress traffic rules.

You can manipulate Security Groups directly:

# Example automatically generated. See
my_security_group = ec2.SecurityGroup(self, "SecurityGroup",
    description="Allow ssh access to ec2 instances",
my_security_group.add_ingress_rule(ec2.Peer.any_ipv4(), ec2.Port.tcp(22), "allow ssh access from the world")

All constructs that create ENIs on your behalf (typically constructs that create EC2 instances or other VPC-connected resources) will all have security groups automatically assigned. Those constructs have an attribute called connections, which is an object that makes it convenient to update the security groups. If you want to allow connections between two constructs that have security groups, you have to add an Egress rule to one Security Group, and an Ingress rule to the other. The connections object will automatically take care of this for you:

# Example automatically generated. See
# Allow connections from anywhere
load_balancer.connections.allow_from_any_ipv4(ec2.Port.tcp(443), "Allow inbound HTTPS")

# The same, but an explicit IP address
load_balancer.connections.allow_from(ec2.Peer.ipv4(""), ec2.Port.tcp(443), "Allow inbound HTTPS")

# Allow connection between AutoScalingGroups
app_fleet.connections.allow_to(db_fleet, ec2.Port.tcp(443), "App can call database")

Connection Peers

There are various classes that implement the connection peer part:

# Example automatically generated. See
# Simple connection peers
peer = ec2.Peer.ipv4("")
peer = ec2.Peer.any_ipv4()
peer = ec2.Peer.ipv6("::0/0")
peer = ec2.Peer.any_ipv6()
peer = ec2.Peer.prefix_list("pl-12345")
app_fleet.connections.allow_to(peer, ec2.Port.tcp(443), "Allow outbound HTTPS")

Any object that has a security group can itself be used as a connection peer:

# Example automatically generated. See
# These automatically create appropriate ingress and egress rules in both security groups
fleet1.connections.allow_to(fleet2, ec2.Port.tcp(80), "Allow between fleets")

app_fleet.connections.allow_from_any_ipv4(ec2.Port.tcp(80), "Allow from load balancer")

Port Ranges

The connections that are allowed are specified by port ranges. A number of classes provide the connection specifier:

# Example automatically generated. See
ec2.Port.tcp_range(60000, 65535)

NOTE: This set is not complete yet; for example, there is no library support for ICMP at the moment. However, you can write your own classes to implement those.

Default Ports

Some Constructs have default ports associated with them. For example, the listener of a load balancer does (it's the public port), or instances of an RDS database (it's the port the database is accepting connections on).

If the object you're calling the peering method on has a default port associated with it, you can call allowDefaultPortFrom() and omit the port specifier. If the argument has an associated default port, call allowDefaultPortTo().

For example:

# Example automatically generated. See
# Port implicit in listener
listener.connections.allow_default_port_from_any_ipv4("Allow public")

# Port implicit in peer
app_fleet.connections.allow_default_port_to(rds_database, "Fleet can access database")

Machine Images (AMIs)

AMIs control the OS that gets launched when you start your EC2 instance. The EC2 library contains constructs to select the AMI you want to use.

Depending on the type of AMI, you select it a different way. Here are some examples of things you might want to use:

# Example automatically generated. See
# Pick the right Amazon Linux edition. All arguments shown are optional
# and will default to these values when omitted.
amzn_linux = ec2.AmazonLinuxImage(

# Pick a Windows edition to use
windows = ec2.WindowsImage(ec2.WindowsVersion.WINDOWS_SERVER_2019_ENGLISH_FULL_BASE)

# Look up the most recent image matching a set of AMI filters.
# In this case, look up the NAT instance AMI, by using a wildcard
# in the 'name' field:
nat_ami = ec2.LookupMachineImage(

# For other custom (Linux) images, instantiate a `GenericLinuxImage` with
# a map giving the AMI to in for each region:

linux = ec2.GenericLinuxImage({
    "us-east-1": "ami-97785bed",
    "eu-west-1": "ami-12345678"

# For other custom (Windows) images, instantiate a `GenericWindowsImage` with
# a map giving the AMI to in for each region:

generic_windows = ec2.GenericWindowsImage({
    "us-east-1": "ami-97785bed",
    "eu-west-1": "ami-12345678"

NOTE: The AMIs selected by AmazonLinuxImage or LookupImage will be cached in cdk.context.json, so that your AutoScalingGroup instances aren't replaced while you are making unrelated changes to your CDK app.

To query for the latest AMI again, remove the relevant cache entry from cdk.context.json, or use the cdk context command. For more information, see Runtime Context in the CDK developer guide.

VPN connections to a VPC

Create your VPC with VPN connections by specifying the vpnConnections props (keys are construct ids):

# Example automatically generated. See
vpc = ec2.Vpc(self, "MyVpc",
        "dynamic": VpnConnectionOptions(# Dynamic routing (BGP)
        "static": VpnConnectionOptions(# Static routing
            static_routes=["", ""

To create a VPC that can accept VPN connections, set vpnGateway to true:

# Example automatically generated. See
vpc = ec2.Vpc(self, "MyVpc",

VPN connections can then be added:

# Example automatically generated. See

Routes will be propagated on the route tables associated with the private subnets.

VPN connections expose metrics (cloudwatch.Metric) across all tunnels in the account/region and per connection:

# Example automatically generated. See
# Across all tunnels in the account/region
all_data_out = ec2.VpnConnection.metric_all_tunnel_data_out()

# For a specific vpn connection
vpn_connection = vpc.add_vpn_connection("Dynamic",
state = vpn_connection.metric_tunnel_state()

VPC endpoints

A VPC endpoint enables you to privately connect your VPC to supported AWS services and VPC endpoint services powered by PrivateLink without requiring an internet gateway, NAT device, VPN connection, or AWS Direct Connect connection. Instances in your VPC do not require public IP addresses to communicate with resources in the service. Traffic between your VPC and the other service does not leave the Amazon network.

Endpoints are virtual devices. They are horizontally scaled, redundant, and highly available VPC components that allow communication between instances in your VPC and services without imposing availability risks or bandwidth constraints on your network traffic.

# Example automatically generated. See
# Add gateway endpoints when creating the VPC
vpc = ec2.Vpc(self, "MyVpc",
        "S3": GatewayVpcEndpointOptions(

# Alternatively gateway endpoints can be added on the VPC
dynamo_db_endpoint = vpc.add_gateway_endpoint("DynamoDbEndpoint",

# This allows to customize the endpoint policy
    iam.PolicyStatement(# Restrict to listing and describing tables
        actions=["dynamodb:DescribeTable", "dynamodb:ListTables"],

# Add an interface endpoint
vpc.add_interface_endpoint("EcrDockerEndpoint", {
    "service": ec2.InterfaceVpcEndpointAwsService.ECR_DOCKER

Security groups for interface VPC endpoints

By default, interface VPC endpoints create a new security group and traffic is not automatically allowed from the VPC CIDR.

Use the connections object to allow traffic to flow to the endpoint:

# Example automatically generated. See

Alternatively, existing security groups can be used by specifying the securityGroups prop.

VPC endpoint services

A VPC endpoint service enables you to expose a Network Load Balancer(s) as a provider service to consumers, who connect to your service over a VPC endpoint. You can restrict access to your service via whitelisted principals (anything that extends ArnPrincipal), and require that new connections be manually accepted.

# Example automatically generated without compilation. See
VpcEndpointService(self, "EndpointService",
    vpc_endpoint_service_load_balancers=[network_load_balancer1, network_load_balancer2],

Bastion Hosts

A bastion host functions as an instance used to access servers and resources in a VPC without open up the complete VPC on a network level. You can use bastion hosts using a standard SSH connection targetting port 22 on the host. As an alternative, you can connect the SSH connection feature of AWS Systems Manager Session Manager, which does not need an opened security group. (

A default bastion host for use via SSM can be configured like:

# Example automatically generated. See
host = ec2.BastionHostLinux(self, "BastionHost", vpc=vpc)

If you want to connect from the internet using SSH, you need to place the host into a public subnet. You can then configure allowed source hosts.

# Example automatically generated. See
host = ec2.BastionHostLinux(self, "BastionHost",

As there are no SSH public keys deployed on this machine, you need to use EC2 Instance Connect with the command aws ec2-instance-connect send-ssh-public-key to provide your SSH public key.

Block Devices

To add EBS block device mappings, specify the blockDeviceMappings property. The follow example sets the EBS-backed root device (/dev/sda1) size to 50 GiB, and adds another EBS-backed device mapped to /dev/sdm that is 100 GiB in size:

# Example automatically generated without compilation. See
ec2.Instance(self, "Instance", {
    # ...
    "block_device_mappings": [{
        "device_name": "/dev/sda1",
        "volume": ec2.BlockDeviceVolume.ebs(50)
    }, {
        "device_name": "/dev/sdm",
        "volume": ec2.BlockDeviceVolume.ebs(100)

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