Finding EC2 instances by tag

Another script similar to my previous post about Finding AWS IAM users by access key. This time, we want to do much the same thing for EC2 instances by tag.

#!/usr/bin/env python3

import argparse
import boto.ec2
import json
import re
import sys

parser = argparse.ArgumentParser(description = 'Find out information about EC2 instances')
parser.add_argument('--region', default = 'us-west-2', help = 'The AWS region to search')
parser.add_argument('--limit', type = int, default = 1, help = 'How many results to report, 0 will return all')
parser.add_argument('--output', default = 'private_ip_address', help = 'The output to fetch for each instance; json will output a json object will all of the outputs')
parser.add_argument('filters', nargs = argparse.REMAINDER, help = 'Regular expressions to apply to each tag')
args = parser.parse_args()

ec2 = boto.ec2.connect_to_region('us-west-2')

if not args.filters:
    raise Exception('You must specify at least one instance')

def include_instance(instance):
    if instance.state != 'running':

    if not args.filters:
        return instance

    for filter in args.filters:
        for tag_key in instance.tags:
            tag_value = instance.tags[tag_key]
            tag = '{}={}'.format(tag_key, tag_value).lower()

            if, tag_value):
                return instance

def filter():
    for reservation in ec2.get_all_instances():
        for instance in reservation.instances:
            if include_instance(instance):
                yield instance

for i, instance in enumerate(filter(), 1):
    if args.output == 'json':
        print(json.dumps(instance.__dict__, default = str))
        print(getattr(instance, args.output))

    if args.limit and i >= args.limit:

It’s original goal was to get a single IP from a group of servers with a specific tag so that I could log in and poke around:

$ ssh `ec2 prod-server`

There are a few other uses though, especially when combined with other tools such as jq.

ec2 --limit 0 --output json | jq '.instance_type' | sort | uniq -c | sort -nr

  27 "t2.micro"
   5 "m3.medium"
   1 "c4.xlarge"

That’s neat.

Much as who-iam it’s a bit slow, but it still works great.

If you’d like to download the script, it’s available in my dotfiles: ec2