Important — We recommend using Amazon or partner-provided AMIs. We advise against prebaking AMIs, because they incur an additional maintenance cost.

AMI mappings

Do not hardcode AMIs. Instead, use AMI mappings in your AWS CloudFormation template. We’ve developed a standard format for AMI mappings that enables our tools to automatically update AMIs in all regions. To implement this format, create a subsection called AWSAMIRegionMap in the Mappings section of your template, and add all regions and their corresponding AMIs to this subsection. Here’s an example:

"Mappings": {
    "AWSAMIRegionMap": {
        "AMI": {
            "US1404HVM": "ubuntu/images/hvm-ssd/ubuntu-trusty-14.04-amd64-server-20160627",
            "WS2012R2": "Windows_Server-2012-R2_RTM-English-64Bit-Base-2016.08.11"
        "ap-northeast-1": {
            "US1404HVM": "ami-2e63924f",
            "WS2012R2": "ami-281ad849"
        "ap-northeast-2": {
            "US1404HVM": "ami-979258f9",
            "WS2012R2": "ami-ab549ec5"
        "ap-south-1": {
            "US1404HVM": "ami-4a90fa25",
            "WS2012R2": "ami-4b7d0824"
        "ap-southeast-1": {
            "US1404HVM": "ami-ea2bf989",
            "WS2012R2": "ami-d6f32ab5"
        "ap-southeast-2": {
            "US1404HVM": "ami-396a415a",
            "WS2012R2": "ami-47bf8b24"
        "eu-central-1": {
            "US1404HVM": "ami-4bd03b24",
            "WS2012R2": "ami-1db84972"
        "eu-west-1": {
            "US1404HVM": "ami-02b62c71",
            "WS2012R2": "ami-a8592cdb"
        "us-east-1": {
            "US1404HVM": "ami-2d39803a",
            "WS2012R2": "ami-bd3ba0aa"
        "us-west-1": {
            "US1404HVM": "ami-992661f9",
            "WS2012R2": "ami-69febd09"
        "us-west-2": {
            "US1404HVM": "ami-42569022",
            "WS2012R2": "ami-1712d877"

In this example, the AMI section contains the name of a specific type of AMI: WS2012R2 is set to Windows_Server-2012-R2_RTM-English-64Bit-Base-2016.08.11. Therefore, all WS2012R2 AMIs in the name-value pairs are set to this version. Two regions cannot have different AMI names for the same type of AMI. Also, all AMI types are associated with a codename.

Contact us at to understand which AMI type you wish to use so we can ensure that it’s in our codenames list.

Using AWS Marketplace AMIs

Quick Starts also support AMIs published in the AWS Marketplace. Follow these guidelines when using Marketplace AMIs:

  • Use a naming standard that’s easy to read and write programmatically. For example, consider using lowercase with dash delimiters in the format vendor-product-version-timestamp, e.g., friendly-partner-awesome-product-1.0-20170716.
  • Increase the timestamp whenever a new AMI is created.
  • Increase the version when a significant or new version of the product is released.