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Distribute Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) to the public

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Distributes an AMI by copying it to one, many, or all AWS regions, and by optionally making the AMIs and Snapshots public or shared with specific AWS Accounts.


usage: distami [-h] [--region REGION] [--to REGIONS] [--non-public]
               [--accounts AWS_ACCOUNT_IDs] [-p] [-v] [--version]

Distributes an AMI by copying it to one, many, or all AWS regions, and by
optionally making the AMIs and Snapshots public.

positional arguments:
  AMI_ID                the source AMI ID to distribute. E.g. ami-1234abcd

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  --region REGION       the region the AMI is in (default is current region of
                        EC2 instance this is running on). E.g. us-east-1
  --to REGIONS          comma-separated list of regions to copy the AMI to.
                        The default is all regions. Specify "none" to prevent
                        copying to other regions. E.g. us-east-1,us-west-1,us-
  --non-public          Copies the AMIs to other regions, but does not make
                        the AMIs or snapshots public. Bad karma, but good for
                        AMIs that need to be private/internal only
  --accounts AWS_ACCOUNT_IDs
                        comma-separated list of AWS Account IDs to share an
                        AMI with. Assumes --non-public. Specify --to=none to
                        share without copying.
  -p, --parallel        Perform each copy to another region in parallel. The
                        default is in serial which can take a long time
  -v, --verbose         enable verbose output (-vvv for more)
  --version             display version number and exit


“As a publisher of a public AMI, you are responsible for the initial security posture of the machine images that you distribute…when an AMI is made public, it can be launched by customers who are not security experts, and who are not familiar with the history and details of the AMI.” Make sure to secure your AMI before distributing it publicly: Public AMI Publishing: Hardening and Clean-up Requirements


Copy an AMI to all regions in parallel from an EC2 instance such as Aminator:

distami -p ami-abcd1234

Copy AMI in us-east-1 to us-west-1

distami --region us-east-1 ami-abcd1234 --to us-west-1

Copy an AMI in eu-west-1 to us-west-1 and us-west-2, but do not make the AMI or its copies public

distami --region eu-west-1 ami-abcd1234 --to us-west-1,us-west-2 --non-public

Share an AMI in us-east-1 with the AWS account IDs 123412341234 and 987698769876. Do not copy to other regions and do not make public.

distami --region=us-east-1 ami-abcd1234 --to=none --accounts=123412341234,987698769876


You can install DistAMI using the usual PyPI channels. Example:

sudo pip install distami

You can find the package details here:

Alternatively, if you prefer to install from source:

git clone
cd distami
python install


DistAMI uses Boto to make the API calls, which means you can use IAM Roles and run DistAMI from an EC2 instance, or use environment variables or a .boto file to pass along your AWS credentials.

For more information:

Source Code

The Python source code for DistAMI is available on GitHub:

About Answers for AWS

This code was written by Peter Sankauskas, founder of Answers for AWS - a company focused on helping business get the most out of AWS. If you are looking for help with AWS, please contact us.


Copyright 2013 Answers for AWS LLC

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the “License”); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an “AS IS” BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

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