Commercial Products
Apr '09

Rudy, A Replacement for EC2 API Tools.

posted by delano

NOTE: This post is historically accurate but out of date. See: Rudy 0.9 Released.

Rudy is a development and deployment tool for EC2. It comes with an executable called rudy-ec2 that can also be used as a replacement for Amazon's EC2 API tools. The EC2 API tools are a great reference implementation but they're unfriendly and become unwieldily when you have more than a few instances. rudy-ec2 is an alternative to these tools that can be used on it's own (you don't need to start using Rudy), allowing you to incorporate Rudy into your development process gradually.


rudy-ec2 is included with Rudy so if you've already installed Rudy, you can skip to the next section.

Download Rudy from or install it via RubyGems:

$ sudo gem install rudy
$ sudo gem install solutious-rudy --source

NOTE: If you are not installing via RubyGems and running Ruby 1.8.x, you need to make sure the Ruby dependencies (see the README) are installed and in your LOAD_PATH. Ryan Tomayko wrote a gist about it.

Configuration, 3 ways to do it

rudy-ec2 needs your Amazon Web Services credentials in order to execute commands on EC2. You can configure these in 3 ways: rudy configuration, environment variables or command-line options.

Rudy Configuration (method 1)

rudy-ec2 can use the same configuration as rudy. If you've already created a Rudy configuration file, you don't need to do anything else. Otherwise, run the following commands:

$ rudy generate-config
  [edit ~/.rudy/config with your Amazon Web Services credentials] 
$ rudy init

NOTE: The above command is rudy and not rudy-ec2.

Environment Variables (method 2)


Add the following to your ~/.bashrc file:



Then either start working in a new terminal window or run source ~/.bashrc to refresh your current one.


Set your environment variables from your System Properties menu.

Command-line Options (method 3)

$ rudy-ec2 -A your_aws_key -S your_aws_secret COMMAND

NOTE: If you use the command-line options, your credentials will appear in your shell history. You can run history -c to clear it.

rudy-ec2 Commands

A rudy-ec2 command follows the same convention as rudy commands:

$ rudy-ec2 -h
USAGE: rudy-ec2 [global options] COMMAND [command options]

The default command displays the current instances

$ rudy-ec2
i-8794fcee  (group-awesome)
i-9e94fcf7  (group-awesome)
i-9394fcfa  terminated  (group-awesome)

When no arguments are given, all commands display information about the object you specify:

$ rudy-ec2 images
Images owned by amazon
aki-46e7002f i386   (aki-linux.
aki-9800e5f1 x86_64 (ec2-public-images/vmlinuz-2.6.18-xenU-ec2-v1.0.x86_64.aki.manifest.xml)
aki-9b00e5f2 i386   (ec2-public-images/vmlinuz-2.6.18-xenU-ec2-v1.0.i386.aki.manifest.xml)

$ rudy-ec2 groups
group-awesome (authorized accounts: 123456789012:default) -> tcp(22), tcp(80), tcp(443) -> tcp(22), tcp(80), tcp(443)

With arguments, you can create, modify or destroy all EC2 objects:

$ rudy-ec2 instances -C -m ami-235fba4a -s m1.small -k keypair-name
i-9394fcfa  pending  (default)

$ rudy-ec2 groups -A -p 8080,8081 group-awesome
Authorize access to group-awesome from
on tcp ports: 8080, 8081
default (authorized accounts: 123456789012:default) -> tcp(22), tcp(80), tcp(443), tcp(88), tcp(99) -> tcp(8080), tcp(8081)


I'm always a little nervous using the Amazon AMI tools because I feel like I'm one command away from a nightmare. rudy-ec2 solves this by prompting for user input before executing any potentially destructive actions.

$ rudy-ec2 groups -D group-awesome
Destroying group: group-awesome
Are you sure? To continue, resolve (7 * 5): 

And you can avoid the annoyance by providing the -Y global

$ rudy-ec2 -Y groups -D group-awesome    # Careful!


That's rudy-ec2 in a nutshell. For more information, check out the RDocs.

I'm Delano Mandelbaum, the founder of Solutious Inc. I've worked for companies large and small and now I'm putting everything I've learned into building great tools. I recently launched a monitoring service called Stella.

You can also find me on:

-       Delano (

Solutious is a software company based in Montréal. We build testing and development tools that are both powerful and pleasant to use. All of our software is on GitHub.

This is our blog about performance, development, and getting stuff done.

-       Solutious