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InfoQ Homepage News AWS Introduces Resource Explorer to Simplify Search and Discovery of Resources

AWS Introduces Resource Explorer to Simplify Search and Discovery of Resources


AWS recently announced the general availability of Resource Explorer, a managed capability to search and discover resources inside an AWS account. The new option is available at no additional charge and can query multiple regions but not multiple accounts.

Resource Explorer supports resources with Amazon Resource Names (ARNs), including S3 buckets, EC2 instances, Amazon Kinesis streams, and DynamoDB tables. Danilo Poccia, chief evangelist of EMEA at AWS, writes:

Using the new AWS Resource Explorer, you can search through the AWS resources in your account across Regions using metadata such as names, tags, and IDs. When you find a resource in the management console, you can quickly go from the search results to the corresponding service console and Region to start working on that resource.


By default, the new service is not enabled and administrators need to turn it on to create and maintain the indexes. The visibility of the resources is controlled by creating views that define what resource information is available for search and discovery: different views can be created for different groups of users depending on their roles and permissions.

To search for resources across regions with a single search, the query must be performed against a view defined in the region with the aggregation index. Hatice Özşahan, product marketing manager at Resmo, wrote an article about "the pros and cons" of Resource Explorer. Özşahan highlights:

Resource Explorer intentionally excludes certain resource types as they may contain customer data, and therefore including them would cause an exposure. Resource Explorer simply does not index those resource types, including S3 objects contained within a bucket, DynamoDB attribute values, and DynamoDB table items.


Resource Explorer is supported using the CLI, the SDKs, or a unified search bar in the console. Poccia explains:

I can also search through my AWS resources in the search bar at the top of the Management Console. We call this capability unified search as it gives results that include AWS services, features, blogs, documentation, tutorial, events, and more. To focus my search on AWS resources, I add /Resources at the beginning of my search.

From the search results displayed in the console, developers can directly go to the resource’s service console and region.

The new capability for resource inventory has been long awaited. Some users question the limited number of services supported, the lack of multi-account support, and the eventually consistent model, comparing the new capability to the options offered by other providers. Ted Andersen tweets:

Meanwhile Azure has had AZ resource list, Get-AzureResource, and /resources API calls since day one. It only took AWS 20 years? And it is "eventually consistent"?

Corey Quinn, cloud economist at The Duckbill Group, adds:

No multi-account / multi-org option, which is sad. And there's a spit-take 36 hours eventual consistency period before it shows what's in the account?

The cloud provider released an API reference guide for the new service. Resource Explorer is currently available in a subset of regions and does not support searching across multiple accounts inside an organization. The service is available at no additional charge.

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