AWS setting up command line tools in Ubuntu

Posted on Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I use the amazon command line tools a lot, its often a quicker way to accomplish things quickly versus the AWS web interface,  though the AWS web interface has gotten a lot better over the past few years)

In this guide I am going to show how to set up the command lines tools using Ubuntu, I have another (slightly different guide for Cygwin)

This guide of course assumes you already have an Amazon AWS account.

Ubuntu AWS setup

First you need a place to put all the keys you will use from AWS.    These keys will be referenced by your program

From the home directory create a “.ec2” folder .

       > mkdir ~/.ec2

Get the keys setup

Now get some keys to put in there.

Click on My Account/Console -> Security Credentials

Sign in using your username/password

Scroll down to the “Access Credentials” and select the X.509 Certificates and click Create a new Certificate.

Click on Download Private Key File and save the file to the .ec2 folder

Then click on the “Download X.509 Certificate” button and save the certificate to the .ec2 folder
Now log into AWS Management Console

Click on My Account/ConsoleàAWS Management Console

Click on EC2

Click on Key Pairs under the “Network & Security”

Click on Create Key Pair

Give it a name and click create.

A prompt to save this file will appear, save it to the .ec2 directory  (in my case I am using win-7 then using Cygwin to scp it to my Ubuntu server)

Install Command line tools

And do a quick search for command-line. 


Here is a EC2 command line tool.  You will see that there are different command line tools for different AWS services  (EC2, RDS, etc)  For now just get the EC2 command line tool

This is the main EC2 command line API tool to look for.

It is located at

Click on Download the Amazon EC2 API tools from Amazon S3
Create a folder in your home directory named ec2-api-tools

       >  cd
       >  mkdir ec2-api-tools

Now unzip the downloaded command line tools into this directory

       >  cd ~/ec2-api-tools
       >  unzip ~/
       >  mv ec2-api-tools-1.6.4/* .
       >  rm -r ec2-api-tools-1.6.4
       >  ls -alh

This should put a bin and a lib folder


Java must be installed and JAVA_HOME set.

First to install JAVA 1.7 on Ubuntu…

Go to 

And click on Download

Click on the “Accept License” Button  then click on the version you want to download.

In my case I chose jre-7u9-linux-x64.tar.gz

It used to be that you could then copy the link and use a wget from the command line to get the file, but no longer.   So manually download the version you want.

Untar it

       >  tar -xvf jre-7-linux-i586.tar.gz

Move JRE folder to /usr/lib

       >  sudo mkdir /usr/lib/jvm
       >  sudo mv jre1.7.0_09 /usr/lib/jvm/jre1.7.0_09

Make a link

       >  sudo ln -fs /usr/lib/jvm/jre1.7.0_09/bin/java /usr/bin/java

Now if you run 

       >  java -version

You should get the correct response

Now add JAVA_HOME to .bashrc

export JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/jre1.7.0_09

Now add the following to the end of the .bashrc file for ec2 keys

export EC2_HOME=$HOME/ec2-api-tools
export EC2_PRIVATE_KEY=$HOME/.ec2/pk-XXXXX.pem
export EC2_CERT=$HOME/.ec2/cert-XXXXX.pem
export PATH=$PATH:$EC2_HOME/bin

If your "default" region is not going to be the east coast you can set your default region in your bash file


This would be for the Oregon (us-west-2) region

Now run source

       >  source .bashrc

Now attempt to run this command

       >  ec2-describe-keypairs

If you want to check a different region than your default region use the --region flag

> ec2-describe-keypairs --region us-west-2

This will list your keypairs

(I whited my actual numbers out J )

[1]  Amazon Web Services
       Visited 10/2012
[2] AWS Developer Tools 
       Visited 10/2012


No comments:

Post a Comment