AWS – Resource tags

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Resource tags are an indispensable way of categorizing the resource that you create in your AWS account. Resource tags do not represent an AWS service by themselves, but are rather an attribute that is associated with a variety of services.

Resource tags are simply name-value pairs that are associated with a resource. You can attach as many as 50 tags, as of this writing, to any given resource.

Resource tags can be helpful with the following:

  • Assigning a nametag to your EC2 instances so that it is easy to differentiate them in the console.
  • Billing reports for cost center tracking. For example, you could tag resources with Department = Finance so that all the resources that are used by your finance department can be grouped in a billing report.
  • Applying for tag-specific permissions in IAM so that users are limited to accessing resources with a given tag.
  • Assigning specific tags that can then be acted on via automation (tying into your automation theme).
You can’t use the aws: prefix in your tags. That is reserved for use by AWS to apply tags to certain resources in order to support advanced functionality.

How to do it…

In this recipe, you will use the Tag Editor to locate resources that do not have any tags. Ideally, all the resources in a production account will be tagged for various purposes. The Tag Editor can be a handy way to identify resources that you may have forgotten about:

  1. Log in to your AWS account and click the Resource Groups link at the top navigation bar. Then, select Tag Editor.


  1. Pick a resource type to search for. In the following example, I chose S3 buckets:

Tag Editor

If you don’t see any resources listed, create a resource such as an S3 bucket or EC2 instance and come back to this screen to try the search again:

Resource search results
  1. Select one of your resources that does not have a tag.
  2. For S3, you could go to the bucket itself and edit the tags in the Advanced section under Properties. Alternatively, you can stay on this screen and edit the tags directly without leaving the search results.
  3. Select the checkbox next to the resource and click the  Manage tags button of the selected resources:

Editing the tags of all the selected resources
  1. Add a tag and click Review and apply tag changes.
  2. Click Apply changes to all selected.

How it works…

The Tag Editor is simply providing quick and easy access to all the resources that can be tagged, allowing you to audit your tag usage all in one place without having to dive into the details of each individual resource.

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