Introduction to AWS Systems Manager
Introduction to AWS Systems Manager

AWS Systems Manager helps you automatically implement complex workflows related to your machine deployment, configuration, and life cycle. In this course, you will learn about AWS Systems Manager and how it allows you to manage your machine fleet at scale in AWS, your own data center, or even other cloud platforms.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the fundamentals of AWS Systems Manager operations
  • Learn how to the use the run command and parameter store in Systems Manager
  • Learn how to schedule tasks through maintenance windows

Intended Audience

This course is intended for architects, developers, and system operators looking for a unified, scalable and secure way to automate their machine maintenance workflows for multiple operating systems and for Amazon EC2 instances.


To get the most out of this course, you should meet the requirements for the AWS Cloud Practitioner certification and preferably one of the AWS associate-level certifications.


Systems Manager is a set of fully managed AWS services that enable automated configuration and ongoing management of systems at scale in a secure and reliable way across all your Linux and Windows systems running on Amazon EC2, your own data center, or other cloud platforms.  As the name suggests this is a collection of services you can use to manage any number of instances securely and efficiently. 

Using AWS Systems Manager you can select instances as targets that you want to manage by specifying shared instance tags, choosing a resource group, or selecting the instances manually. 

The actions to be performed are defined via Systems Manager Documents.   AWS Systems Manager includes dozens of pre-configured documents that you can use as is out of the box or build your own.  System Manager Documents are written in Javascript Object Notation (JSON) or YAML and have a specific syntax for you to include action steps and parameters values to be used. 

With Systems Manager you can collect software inventory, patch and compliance status, make resource configuration changes, and execute any modification needed to establish the desired state for instances independently of the size of your fleet. 

In order to define communication with AWS Systems Manager, an agent software needs to be installed on each instance to be managed.  The systems manager agent is pre-installed by default on AMI the following systems.

For other AMIs, you can install the systems manager agent manually.  It is available on the Amazon Linux repo, it’s open sourced and available on GitHub. 

The agent executes and process tasks you specify through any of the systems manager features like the run command which allows you to execute commands on one or more managed instances. 

Once the agent is installed, each managed instance will also require an Identity and Access Management role attached to define access between Systems Manager and the instances. AWS provides pre-defined managed policies for systems manager. One of them is called “Amazon EC2 Role for SSM” which can save you time in your initial configuration.   

Finally, your instances will also need network connectivity to systems manager using an internet gateway or a VPC endpoint. This is in order to be able to communicate with the public systems manager access point. 

Systems manager puts all your relevant operational data into a single view of your infrastructure for performance and compliance.

About the Author
Jorge Negrón
AWS Content Architect
Learning Paths

Experienced in architecture and delivery of cloud-based solutions, the development, and delivery of technical training, defining requirements, use cases, and validating architectures for results. Excellent leadership, communication, and presentation skills with attention to details. Hands-on administration/development experience with the ability to mentor and train current & emerging technologies, (Cloud, ML, IoT, Microservices, Big Data & Analytics).