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In lieu of screen grabs of my AWS console screens or paper and pencil...

I'm seeking to download a report of my personal AWS account (EC2 config, firewall settings, etc.) so that I can check it into source control with my source code as a snapshot record of how the server is set up.

After much research it seems Amazon has a fee-based "AWS Config" service that I started setting up--but, I paused--thinking there MUST be a simpler/easier way than setting S3 buckets... Just like one can download a snapshot of all one's Facebook data I just want to obtain a human-readable text file or structured (XML, JSON, etc.) from my AWS right now for free.

Also, there seems to be an impedance mismatch between the 29 rules available and what I'm seeking. The closest one is "Checks whether detailed monitoring is enabled for EC2 instances" vs. my desired "Hey, just dump everything (like firewall settings) related to my EC2 instance." At $2/rule/region this would add up quickly for my account that only costs $10/month anyway.

So, does an on-demand config download exist or is the only option the "AWS Config" over-engineered service for long-term timeline in S3 storage?

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There's no easy way if you want to catch ALL types of assets, however it is possible to dump [probably] all related to EC2. Use CloudFormer from CloudFormation samples:

AWS CloudFormer Beta - template creation prototype application. This tool allows you to create an AWS CloudFormation template from the AWS resources in your AWS account.

Warning This template creates a single EC2 instance in your account to run the application - you will be billed for the instance at normal AWS EC2 rates.

To use this tool go to CloudFormation and select CloudFormer from samples: enter image description here

As the result you will have "a human-readable json/yaml file from your AWS right now". It is not exactly for free, you'll have to pay for those several minutes the CloudFormer will work but you could kill the tool and related environment after the task is finished: just delete the stack you've been created.

Please note no tools will record what's inside your instance (e.g. apache configuration), the only way to save that is to make a backup - either by EBS snapshots or just by copying necessary files in any way you like.

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No, because it doesn't make sense, since you would have no easy way to restore it to that point.

What you can and should do, is to import your config into Terraform, which does exactly what you are asking. But that requires you to create the config in Terraform first before running import on a resource.

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