Please welcome AWS CloudShell !

Please welcome AWS CloudShell !


5 min read

Ladies and gentlemen, the new but not so innovative AWS browser shell!

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And here is another announce from AWS re:Invent 2020 ! Join me to get a tour…

This time, I admit, it is not so innovative.

But not being the most amazing innovation of the century is not really an issue if the need is here.

Moreover, if people all around the Clouds would wait for a fundamental useful feature, this feature would surely be AWS CloudShell !

Let’s get to know better this little guy…

A Shell in the Cloud

The tool is browser based. Just open the AWS console and check it at the top, next to the notification bell.

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Here are some of the characteristics:

  • You are able to use Bash, PowerShell and Zsh.
  • A lot of standard tools are available (and up-to-date) such as AWS CLI and common CLIs (ECS, SAM…), Python and Node.js SDK, npm, pip, Git and even your favourite editor: vi.
  • Under the hood, CloudShell run on a Amazon Linux 2 virtual machine. One VM (which is the limit per region) can support up to 10 concurrent sessions.
  • You can control the access using IAM policies
  • There is no need to manage your credentials. People working with several accounts will understand how nice it will be.
  • It is free to use but you will still by charged for both the resources created by your commands and the data transfer.


CloudShell provides 1GB storage embedded into your home directory.

You can use it to store your favourite scripts or your configuration files.

Be careful, this stored data is only kept during 120 days (of inactivity).

If you have further storage needs, you should consider to use an S3 bucket instead.

My opinion before to test it

I didn’t test it as I wanted to share first some impulsive thoughts about this new “service” (can we really call it service considering that it is more an AWS console feature? Who am I to decide!).

From my point of view, this will be very useful to run quick scripts without having to configure a complete environment on the local machine. Considering you are using the embedded tools, no configuration will be needed.

For instance, you could start experimenting and running some commands on any device. Even if you have no administrator or installation rights.

Quick tests will be possible and it is completely aligned with the need to try and fail quickly.

From another point of you, let’s wait and see if this feature can help people to adopt a scripting habit. It could be for some, the first step into the *-As-Code concepts at no cost and with a fast learning curve.


This new tool fills the gap between Cloud9 terminal and EC2 Instance Connect by removing the need to have a customer managed EC2 instance to be able to use an AWS integrated and fully ready command line environment.

I look forward to testing it in a near future and see the potential by myself ! Stay tuned…

Don’t forget to react and to share this article if you liked it! Feel free to reach me on Twitter (@FlolightC) to tell me about your CloudShell use case or to ask me questions ! I’m always happy to discuss with you !

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