Work with Amazon EC2 instance metadata - Amazon SDK for Java 2.x
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Work with Amazon EC2 instance metadata

A Java SDK client for the Amazon EC2 Instance Metadata Service (metadata client) allows your applications to access metadata on their local EC2 instance. The metadata client works with the local instance of IMDSv2 (Instance Metadata Service v2) and uses session-oriented requests.

Two client classes are available in the SDK. The synchronous Ec2MetadataClient is for blocking operations, and the Ec2MetadataAsyncClient is for asynchronous, non-blocking use cases.

Get started

To use the metadata client, add the imds Maven artifact to your project. You also need classes for an SdkHttpClient (or an SdkAsyncHttpClient for the asynchronous variant) on the classpath.

The following Maven XML shows dependency snippets for using the synchronous UrlConnectionHttpClient along with the dependency for metadata clients.

<dependencyManagement> <dependencies> <dependency> <groupId></groupId> <artifactId>bom</artifactId> <version>VERSION</version> <type>pom</type> <scope>import</scope> </dependency> </dependencies> </dependencyManagement> <dependencies> <dependency> <groupId></groupId> <artifactId>imds</artifactId> </dependency> <dependency> <groupId></groupId> <artifactId>url-connection-client</artifactId> </dependency> <!-- other dependencies --> </dependencies>

Search the Maven central repository for the latest version of the bom artifact.

To use an asynchronous HTTP client, replace the dependency snippet for the url-connection-client artifact. For example, the following snippet brings in the NettyNioAsyncHttpClient implementation.

<dependency> <groupId></groupId> <artifactId>netty-nio-client</artifactId> </dependency>

Use the metadata client

Instantiate a metadata client

You can instantiate an instance of a synchronous Ec2MetadataClient when only one implementation of the SdkHttpClient interface is present on the classpath. To do so, call the static Ec2MetadataClient#create() method as shown in the following snippet.

Ec2MetadataClient client = Ec2MetadataClient.create(); // 'Ec2MetadataAsyncClient#create' is the asynchronous version.

If your application has multiple implementations of the SdkHttpClient or SdkHttpAsyncClient interface, you must specify an implementation for the metadata client to use as shown in the Configurable HTTP client section.


For most service clients, such as Amazon S3, the SDK for Java automatically adds implementations of the SdkHttpClient or SdkHttpAsyncClient interface. If your metadata client uses the same implementation, then Ec2MetadataClient#create() will work. If you require a different implementation, you must specify it when you create the metadata client.

Send requests

To retrieve instance metadata, instantiate the EC2MetadataClient class and call the get method with a path parameter that specifies the instance metadata category.

The following example prints the value associated with the ami-id key to the console.

Ec2MetadataClient client = Ec2MetadataClient.create(); Ec2MetadataResponse response = client.get("/latest/meta-data/ami-id"); System.out.println(response.asString()); client.close(); // Closes the internal resources used by the Ec2MetadataClient class.

If the path isn't valid, the get method throws an exception.

Reuse the same client instance for multiple requests, but call close on the client when it is no longer needed to release resources. After the close method is called, the client instance can't be used anymore.

Parse responses

EC2 instance metadata can be output in different formats. Plain text and JSON are the most commonly used formats. The metadata clients offer ways to work with those formats.

As the following example shows, use the asString method to get the data as a Java string. You can also use the asList method to separate a plain text response that returns multiple lines.

Ec2MetadataClient client = Ec2MetadataClient.create(); Ec2MetadataResponse response = client.get("/latest/meta-data/"); String fullResponse = response.asString(); List<String> splits = response.asList();

If the response is in JSON, use the Ec2MetadataResponse#asDocument method to parse the JSON response into a Document instance as shown in the following code snippet.

Document fullResponse = response.asDocument();

An exception will be thrown if the format of the metadata is not in JSON. If the response is successfully parsed, you can use the document API to inspect the response in more detail. Consult the instance metadata category chart to learn which metadata categories deliver JSON-formatted responses.

Configure a metadata client


You can configure a metadata client with a retry mechanism. If you do, then the client can automatically retry requests that fail for unexpected reasons. By default, the client retries three times on a failed request with an exponential backoff time between attempts.

If your use case requires a different retry mechanism, you can customize the client using the retryPolicy method on its builder. For example, the following example shows a synchronous client configured with a fixed delay of two seconds between attempts and five retry attempts.

BackoffStrategy fixedBackoffStrategy = FixedDelayBackoffStrategy.create(Duration.ofSeconds(2)); Ec2MetadataClient client = Ec2MetadataClient.builder() .retryPolicy(retryPolicyBuilder -> retryPolicyBuilder.numRetries(5) .backoffStrategy(fixedBackoffStrategy)) .build();

There are several BackoffStrategies that you can use with a metadata client.

You can also disable the retry mechanism entirely, as the following snippet shows.

Ec2MetadataClient client = Ec2MetadataClient.builder() .retryPolicy(Ec2MetadataRetryPolicy.none()) .build();

Using Ec2MetadataRetryPolicy#none() disables the default retry policy so that the metadata client attempts no retries.

IP version

By default, a metadata client uses the IPV4 endpoint at To change the client to use the IPV6 version, use either the endpointMode or the endpoint method of the builder. An exception results if both methods are called on the builder.

The following examples show both IPV6 options.

Ec2MetadataClient client = Ec2MetadataClient.builder() .endpointMode(EndpointMode.IPV6) .build();
Ec2MetadataClient client = Ec2MetadataClient.builder() .endpoint(URI.create("http://[fd00:ec2::254]")) .build();

Key features

Asynchronous client

To use the non-blocking version of the client, instantiate an instance of the Ec2MetadataAsyncClient class. The code in the following example creates an asynchronous client with default settings and uses the get method to retrieve the value for the ami-id key.

Ec2MetadataAsyncClient asyncClient = Ec2MetadataAsyncClient.create(); CompletableFuture<Ec2MetadataResponse> response = asyncClient.get("/latest/meta-data/ami-id");

The java.util.concurrent.CompletableFuture returned by the get method completes when the response returns. The following example prints the ami-id metadata to the console.

response.thenAccept(metadata -> System.out.println(metadata.asString()));

Configurable HTTP client

The builder for each metadata client has a httpClient method that you can use to supply a customized HTTP client.

The following example shows code for a custom UrlConnectionHttpClient instance.

SdkHttpClient httpClient = UrlConnectionHttpClient.builder() .socketTimeout(Duration.ofMinutes(5)) .proxyConfiguration(proxy -> proxy.endpoint(URI.create("")))) .build(); Ec2MetadataClient metaDataClient = Ec2MetadataClient.builder() .httpClient(httpClient) .build(); // Use the metaDataClient instance. metaDataClient.close(); // Close the instance when no longer needed.

The following example shows code for a custom NettyNioAsyncHttpClient instance with an asynchronous metadata client.

SdkAsyncHttpClient httpAsyncClient = NettyNioAsyncHttpClient.builder() .connectionTimeout(Duration.ofMinutes(5)) .maxConcurrency(100) .build(); Ec2MetadataAsyncClient asyncMetaDataClient = Ec2MetadataAsyncClient.builder() .httpClient(httpAsyncClient) .build(); // Use the asyncMetaDataClient instance. asyncMetaDataClient.close(); // Close the instance when no longer needed.

The HTTP clients topic in this guide provides details on how to configure the HTTP clients that are available in the SDK for Java.

Token caching

Because the metadata clients use IMDSv2, all requests are associated with a session. A session is defined by a token that has an expiration, which the metadata client manages for you. Every metadata request automatically reuses the token until it expires.

By default, a token lasts for six hours (21,600 seconds). We recommend that you keep the default time-to-live value, unless your specific use case requires advanced configuration.

If needed, configure the duration by using the tokenTtl builder method. For example, the code in the following snippet creates a client with a session duration of five minutes.

Ec2MetadataClient client = Ec2MetadataClient.builder() .tokenTtl(Duration.ofMinutes(5)) .build();

If you omit calling the tokenTtl method on the builder, the default duration of 21,600 is used instead.