Start a session - Amazon Systems Manager
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Start a session

You can use the Amazon Systems Manager console, the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) console, the Amazon Command Line Interface (Amazon CLI), or SSH to start a session.

Starting a session (Systems Manager console)

You can use the Amazon Systems Manager console to start a session with a managed node in your account.

Note

Before you start a session, make sure that you have completed the setup steps for Session Manager. For information, see Setting up Session Manager.

To start a session (Systems Manager console)
  1. Open the Amazon Systems Manager console at https://console.amazonaws.cn/systems-manager/.

  2. In the navigation pane, choose Session Manager.

    -or-

    If the Amazon Systems Manager home page opens first, choose the menu icon ( 
    The menu icon
  ) to open the navigation pane, and then choose Session Manager in the navigation pane.

  3. Choose Start session.

  4. (Optional) Enter a session description in the Reason for session field.

  5. For Target instances, choose the option button to the left of the managed node that you want to connect to.

    If the node that you want isn't in the list, or if you select a node and receive a configuration error, see Managed node not available or not configured for Session Manager for troubleshooting steps.

  6. Choose Start session to launch the session immediately.

    -or-

    Choose Next for session options.

  7. (Optional) For Session document, select the document that you want to run when the session starts. If your document supports runtime parameters, you can enter one or more comma-separated values in each parameter field.

  8. Choose Next.

  9. Choose Start session.

After the connection is made, you can run bash commands (Linux and macOS) or PowerShell commands (Windows) as you would through any other connection type.

Important

If you want to allow users to specify a document when starting sessions in the Session Manager console, note the following:

Starting a session (Amazon EC2 console)

You can use the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) console to start a session with an instance in your account.

Note

If you receive an error that you aren't authorized to perform one or more Systems Manager actions (ssm:command-name, then you must contact your administrator for assistance. Your administrator is the person that provided you with your sign-in credentials. Ask that person to update your policies to allow you to start sessions from the Amazon EC2 console. If you're an administrator, see Sample IAM policies for Session Manager for more information.

To start a session (Amazon EC2 console)
  1. Open the Amazon EC2 console at https://console.amazonaws.cn/ec2/.

  2. In the navigation pane, choose Instances.

  3. Select the instance and choose Connect.

  4. For Connection method, choose Session Manager.

  5. Choose Connect.

After the connection is made, you can run bash commands (Linux and macOS) or PowerShell commands (Windows) as you would through any other connection type.

Starting a session (Amazon CLI)

Install and configure the Amazon Command Line Interface (Amazon CLI), if you haven't already.

For information, see Installing or updating the latest version of the Amazon CLI.

Before you start a session, make sure that you have completed the setup steps for Session Manager. For information, see Setting up Session Manager.

To use the Amazon CLI to run session commands, the Session Manager plugin must also be installed on your local machine. For information, see Install the Session Manager plugin for the Amazon CLI.

To start a session using the Amazon CLI, run the following command replacing instance-id with your own information.

aws ssm start-session \ --target instance-id

For information about other options you can use with the start-session command, see start-session in the Amazon Systems Manager section of the Amazon CLI Command Reference.

Starting a session (SSH)

To start a Session Manager SSH session, version 2.3.672.0 or later of SSM Agent must be installed on the managed node.

SSH connection requirements

Take note of the following requirements and limitations for session connections using SSH:

  • Your target managed node must be configured to support SSH connections. For more information, see (Optional) Allow and control permissions for SSH connections through Session Manager.

  • You must connect using the managed node account associated with the Privacy Enhanced Mail (PEM) certificate, not the ssm-user account that is used for other types of session connections. For example, on EC2 instances for Linux and macOS, the default user is ec2-user. For information about identifying the default user for each instance type, see Get Information About Your Instance in the Amazon EC2 User Guide for Linux Instances.

  • Logging isn't available for Session Manager sessions that connect through port forwarding or SSH. This is because SSH encrypts all session data, and Session Manager only serves as a tunnel for SSH connections.

Note

Before you start a session, make sure that you have completed the setup steps for Session Manager. For information, see Setting up Session Manager.

To start a session using SSH, run the following command. Replace each example resource placeholder with your own information.

ssh -i /path/my-key-pair.pem username@instance-id
Tip

When you start a session using SSH, you can copy local files to the target managed node using the following command format.

scp -i /path/my-key-pair.pem /path/ExampleFile.txt username@instance-id:~

For information about other options you can use with the start-session command, see start-session in the Amazon Systems Manager section of the Amazon CLI Command Reference.

Starting a session (port forwarding)

To start a Session Manager port forwarding session, version 2.3.672.0 or later of SSM Agent must be installed on the managed node.

Note

Before you start a session, make sure that you have completed the setup steps for Session Manager. For information, see Setting up Session Manager.

To use the Amazon CLI to run session commands, you must install the Session Manager plugin on your local machine. For information, see Install the Session Manager plugin for the Amazon CLI.

Depending on your operating system and command line tool, the placement of quotation marks can differ and escape characters might be required.

To start a port forwarding session, run the following command from the CLI. Replace each example resource placeholder with your own information.

Linux & macOS
aws ssm start-session \ --target instance-id \ --document-name AWS-StartPortForwardingSession \ --parameters '{"portNumber":["80"], "localPortNumber":["56789"]}'
Windows
aws ssm start-session ^ --target instance-id ^ --document-name AWS-StartPortForwardingSession ^ --parameters portNumber="3389",localPortNumber="56789"

portNumber is the remote port on the managed node where you want the session traffic to be redirected. For example, you might specify port 3389 for connecting to a Windows node using the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). If you don't specify the portNumber parameter, Session Manager uses 80 as the default value.

localPortNumber is the port on your local computer where traffic starts, such as 56789. This value is what you enter when connecting to a managed node using a client. For example, localhost:56789.

For information about other options you can use with the start-session command, see start-session in the Amazon Systems Manager section of the Amazon CLI Command Reference.

For more information about port forwarding sessions, see Port Forwarding Using Amazon Systems ManagerSession Manager in the Amazon News Blog.

Starting a session (port forwarding to remote host)

To start a Session Manager port forwarding session to a remote host, version 3.1.1374.0 or later of SSM Agent must be installed on the managed node. The remote host isn't required to be managed by Systems Manager.

Note

Before you start a session, make sure that you have completed the setup steps for Session Manager. For information, see Setting up Session Manager.

To use the Amazon CLI to run session commands, you must install the Session Manager plugin on your local machine. For information, see Install the Session Manager plugin for the Amazon CLI.

Depending on your operating system and command line tool, the placement of quotation marks can differ and escape characters might be required.

To start a port forwarding session, run the following command from the Amazon CLI. Replace each example resource placeholder with your own information.

Linux & macOS
aws ssm start-session \ --target instance-id \ --document-name AWS-StartPortForwardingSessionToRemoteHost \ --parameters '{"host":["mydb.example.us-east-2.rds.amazonaws.com"],"portNumber":["3306"], "localPortNumber":["3306"]}'
Windows
aws ssm start-session ^ --target instance-id ^ --document-name AWS-StartPortForwardingSessionToRemoteHost ^ --parameters host="mydb.example.us-east-2.rds.amazonaws.com",portNumber="3306",localPortNumber="3306"

The host value represents the hostname or IP address of the remote host that you want to connect to. General connectivity and name resolution requirements between the managed node and the remote host still apply.

portNumber is the remote port on the managed node where you want the session traffic to be redirected. For example, you might specify port 3389 for connecting to a Windows node using the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). If you don't specify the portNumber parameter, Session Manager uses 80 as the default value.

localPortNumber is the port on your local computer where traffic starts, such as 56789. This value is what you enter when connecting to a managed node using a client. For example, localhost:56789.

For information about other options you can use with the start-session command, see start-session in the Amazon Systems Manager section of the Amazon CLI Command Reference.

Starting a session with an Amazon ECS task

Session Manager supports starting a port forwarding session with a task inside an Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) cluster. To do so, you must update the task role in IAM to include the following permissions:

{ "Version": "2012-10-17", "Statement": [ { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "ssmmessages:CreateControlChannel", "ssmmessages:CreateDataChannel", "ssmmessages:OpenControlChannel", "ssmmessages:OpenDataChannel" ], "Resource": "*" } ] }

To start a port forwarding session with an Amazon ECS task, run the following command from the Amazon CLI. Replace each example resource placeholder with your own information.

Note

Remove the < and > symbols from the target parameter. These symbols are provided for reader clarification only.

Linux & macOS
aws ssm start-session \ --target ecs:<ECS_cluster_name>_<ECS_container_ID>_<container_runtime_ID> \ --document-name AWS-StartPortForwardingSessionToRemoteHost \ --parameters '{"host":["URL"],"portNumber":["port_number"], "localPortNumber":["port_number"]}'
Windows
aws ssm start-session ^ --target ecs:<ECS_cluster_name>_<ECS_container_ID>_<container_runtime_ID> ^ --document-name AWS-StartPortForwardingSessionToRemoteHost ^ --parameters host="URL",portNumber="port_number",localPortNumber="port_number"

Starting a session (interactive and noninteractive commands)

Before you start a session, make sure that you have completed the setup steps for Session Manager. For information, see Setting up Session Manager.

To use the Amazon CLI to run session commands, the Session Manager plugin must also be installed on your local machine. For information, see Install the Session Manager plugin for the Amazon CLI.

To start an interactive command session, run the following command. Replace each example resource placeholder with your own information.

Linux & macOS
aws ssm start-session \ --target instance-id \ --document-name CustomCommandSessionDocument \ --parameters '{"logpath":["/var/log/amazon/ssm/amazon-ssm-agent.log"]}'
Windows
aws ssm start-session ^ --target instance-id ^ --document-name CustomCommandSessionDocument ^ --parameters logpath="/var/log/amazon/ssm/amazon-ssm-agent.log"

For information about other options you can use with the start-session command, see start-session in the Amazon Systems Manager section of the Amazon CLI Command Reference.