Manually updating the Amazon ECS container agent (for non-Amazon ECS-Optimized AMIs) - Amazon Elastic Container Service
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Manually updating the Amazon ECS container agent (for non-Amazon ECS-Optimized AMIs)

To manually update the Amazon ECS container agent (for non-Amazon ECS-optimized AMIs)


Agent updates do not apply to Windows container instances. We recommend that you launch new container instances to update the agent version in your Windows clusters.

  1. Log in to your container instance via SSH.

  2. Check to see if your agent uses the ECS_DATADIR environment variable to save its state.

    ubuntu:~$ docker inspect ecs-agent | grep ECS_DATADIR



    If the previous command does not return the ECS_DATADIR environment variable, you must stop any tasks running on this container instance before updating your agent. Newer agents with the ECS_DATADIR environment variable save their state and you can update them while tasks are running without issues.

  3. Stop the Amazon ECS container agent.

    ubuntu:~$ docker stop ecs-agent
  4. Delete the agent container.

    ubuntu:~$ docker rm ecs-agent
  5. Ensure that the /etc/ecs directory and the Amazon ECS container agent configuration file exist at /etc/ecs/ecs.config.

    ubuntu:~$ sudo mkdir -p /etc/ecs && sudo touch /etc/ecs/ecs.config
  6. Edit the /etc/ecs/ecs.config file and ensure that it contains at least the following variable declarations. If you do not want your container instance to register with the default cluster, specify your cluster name as the value for ECS_CLUSTER.


    For more information about these and other agent runtime options, see Amazon ECS container agent configuration.


    You can optionally store your agent environment variables in Amazon S3 (which can be downloaded to your container instances at launch time using Amazon EC2 user data). This is recommended for sensitive information such as authentication credentials for private repositories. For more information, see Storing container instance configuration in Amazon S3 and Private registry authentication for tasks.

  7. Pull the latest Amazon ECS container agent image from Amazon Elastic Container Registry Public.

    ubuntu:~$ docker pull


    Pulling repository amazon/amazon-ecs-agent a5a56a5e13dc: Download complete 511136ea3c5a: Download complete 9950b5d678a1: Download complete c48ddcf21b63: Download complete Status: Image is up to date for amazon/amazon-ecs-agent:latest
  8. Run the latest Amazon ECS container agent on your container instance.


    Use Docker restart policies or a process manager (such as upstart or systemd) to treat the container agent as a service or a daemon and ensure that it is restarted after exiting. For more information, see Automatically start containers and Restart policies in the Docker documentation. The Amazon ECS-optimized AMI uses the ecs-init RPM for this purpose, and you can view the source code for this RPM on GitHub.

    The following example of the agent run command is broken into separate lines to show each option. For more information about these and other agent runtime options, see Amazon ECS container agent configuration.


    Operating systems with SELinux enabled require the --privileged option in your docker run command. In addition, for SELinux-enabled container instances, we recommend that you add the :Z option to the /log and /data volume mounts. However, the host mounts for these volumes must exist before you run the command or you receive a no such file or directory error. Take the following action if you experience difficulty running the Amazon ECS agent on an SELinux-enabled container instance:

    • Create the host volume mount points on your container instance.

      ubuntu:~$ sudo mkdir -p /var/log/ecs /var/lib/ecs/data
    • Add the --privileged option to the docker run command below.

    • Append the :Z option to the /log and /data container volume mounts (for example, --volume=/var/log/ecs/:/log:Z) to the docker run command below.

    ubuntu:~$ sudo docker run --name ecs-agent \ --detach=true \ --restart=on-failure:10 \ --volume=/var/run:/var/run \ --volume=/var/log/ecs/:/log \ --volume=/var/lib/ecs/data:/data \ --volume=/etc/ecs:/etc/ecs \ --volume=/etc/ecs:/etc/ecs/pki \ --net=host \ --env-file=/etc/ecs/ecs.config \ amazon/amazon-ecs-agent:latest

    If you receive an Error response from daemon: Cannot start container message, you can delete the failed container with the sudo docker rm ecs-agent command and try running the agent again.