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FTL spins up and down AWS shit for whatever you need
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Faster Than Light. Fog Terminal Language. For Terminal Launching.


ftl is an AWS (fog-based) application for managing cloud instances from the command line. Easier than chef or the ec2 command line tools. Smarter too.


Install is easy.

$ gem install ftl # or sudo gem install ftl


Usage: ftl [<config-options>] <command> [<command-options>]
  commands: start, kill, list, edit, connect, servers, tags, images, snapshots, volumes
    ftl launch ninja                   # Launches an instance named 'ninja'
    ftl list                           # Shows running instances and status
    ftl connect ninja                  # Connects to instance named 'ninja'
    ftl kill ninja                     # Kills instances matching name /ninja/
    ftl kill i-123456                  # Kills instance with id i-123456
    ftl spot ninja 0.02                # Request spot instance using template :ninja for $0.02
    ftl cancel sir-123456              # Cancel spot instance with id sir-123456
    ftl spots                          # Shows AWS spot requests
    ftl images                         # Shows AWS images
    ftl snapshots                      # Shows AWS snapshots
    ftl tags                           # Shows AWS tags
    ftl volumes                        # Shows AWS volumes
    ftl headers servers                # Show possible headers for servers
    ftl headers volumes                # Show possible headers for volumes
    ftl edit                           # Edit ftl.yml with your $EDITOR
    ftl --config=~/ftl.yml servers     # Uses custom config file
    ftl --headers=id,tags.Name servers # Uses specified headers
    ftl --version                      # Show version number

Getting started

ftl depends on a configuration file. When you run it for the first time, it will create a simple configuration file at ~/.ftl/ftl.yml. Note that the starter file is incomplete; you will need to supply at least your Amazon AWS security credentials. You can open the configuration file in the editor named by the $EDITOR environment variable by running ftl edit.

Configuration file

In addition to the AWS security credentials, the configuration file contains parameters for launching instances and connecting to them.

ACCESS_KEY_ID:      # Amazon AWS access key
SECRET_ACCESS_KEY:  # Amazon AWS secret access key

  ninja-keypair:        ~/.ec2/id_rsa-ninja-keypair

    :ami:               ami-a29943cb  # Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin
    :username:          ubuntu
    :keypair:           ninja-keypair
    :instance_type:     m1.small
    :tags:              {}
      - default
      - apache
      - postgresql

The :templates section

:templates is a hash of server names and the EC2 parameters used to launch them.

  • :ami -- the ID of the AMI to use
  • :availability_zone -- the availability zone into which the instance should be launched
  • :groups -- a list of names and/or IDs of security groups to assign to the instance
  • :instance_type -- the name of the EC2 instance size (e.g. 'm1.small')
  • :ip_private -- the private IP address to assign to the instance (optional)
  • :ip_public -- the public IP address to assign to the instance (optional)
  • :keypair -- the name of the keypair installed in the instance when launched; this is important for connecting to the instance once it has been launched
  • :subnet_id -- the ID of the subnet into which the instance should be launched (optional)
  • :tags -- a hash of tags to be set on the instance; 'Name' will be automatically set from the server name
  • :username -- the username to use when connecting to the instance

A note on security groups

Security groups defined in a virtual private cloud (VPC) can be specified only by ID.

The :keys section

:keys, if defined, is a hash of keypair names and the names of files on the local filesystem containing them. If there is an entry in :keys with the same name as the server, the file will be passed in the -i option to ssh when connecting.

Launching an instance

Once a server has been configured, it can be launched by name.

ftl launch ninja

To connect to it, run ftl connect ninja.


  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Added some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create new Pull Request

© 2012 Matthew Petty

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