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Sandbox Accounts for Events

Sandbox Accounts for Events allows to provide multiple, temporary AWS accounts to a number of authenticated users simultaneously via a browser-based GUI. It uses the concept of "leases" to create temporary access tickets and allows to define expiration periods as well as maximum budget spend per leased AWS account.

Common use cases for Sandbox Accounts for Events include:

  • Providing playground accounts for hands-on learning events like workshops, Immersion Days, etc.
  • Providing sandbox accounts for hackathon events
  • Providing experimentation accounts for developer teams and R&D departments


Behind the scenes, Sandbox Accounts for Events uses Optum's Disposable Cloud EnvironmentTM (DCE) project as backend to register AWS account pools, monitor and manage access and usage as well cleaning up the AWS accounts with AWS Nuke after expiration. Additionally, Sandbox Accounts for Events deploys an AWS Amplify-based React webapp as frontend.

├── Frontend
│   └── AWS Amplify webapp                  <-- The core of this project
└── Backend
    ├── AWS Amplify backend                 <-- Some resources to support AWS Amplify webapp
    └── Disposable Cloud Environment (TM)   <-- DCE project cloned from GitHub on deployment
        └── AWS Nuke                        <-- Integrated fork in DCE project

AWS Account structure recommendation

Although it is not required to set up AWS Organizations, we highly recommend you to do so. AWS Organizations allow you to group AWS accounts into organizational units and to apply permission boundaries called "Service Control Policies" (SCPs) to these organizations units. Using SCPs provides a easy and effective way to limit permitted user actions to specific AWS regions and AWS services.

If creating/using an AWS Organizations is no option, you can also set up Sandbox Accounts for Events in a "flat" AWS account structure.

See chapter Children Accounts to learn about both options and understand how to deploy them.

Installing Sandbox Accounts for Events


  • An AWS account, preferably part of AWS Organizations (see recommendations in chapter Children Accounts)
  • AWS CLI v2 installed
  • GNU make installed
  1. Clone this GitHub repository to your local environment:

    git clone
    cd sandbox-accounts-for-events
  2. Review if you want to add any content or change configuration values in the following files:

    • dce-integration/modules/dce.tfvars
    • dce-integration/cmd/codebuild/reset/default-config-nuke-template.yml (If you use SSO andControltower, use filter-presets with this example.)
    • dce-integration/cmd/codebuild/reset/
    • dce-integration/cmd/codebuild/reset/
    • dce-integration/cmd/codebuild/reset/
    • src/pages/components/termsAndConditionsText.js
    • dce-integration/modules/fixtures/policies/principal_policy.tmpl
  3. Create an S3 bucket with a unique name to hold the Sandbox Accounts for Events deployment artifacts. Note down the name of the new S3 bucket:

    make create-bucket bucket=[your_deployment_bucket_name]
  4. Build project and upload to newly created S3 bucket:

    make build bucket=[your_deployment_bucket_name]
  5. Deploy the project into your AWS account. You have to specify the email address of an initial admin user for Sandbox Accounts for Events:

    make deploy bucket=[your_deployment_bucket_name] email=[email_address_of_admin_user]

    The CloudFormation script will now start to create the Sandbox Accounts for Events resources in your account, this deployment typically takes about 25-30 minutes. It will also generate an initial admin user and send a registration email to the email address you specified in step 5.

  6. Go to the CloudFormation page your AWS Console and wait until the stack "Sandbox-Accounts-for-Events" is deployed successfully. Choose this stack, switch to the "Outputs" tab and follow the link right to "AmplifyDomainOutput" to open the Sandbox Accounts for Events frontend in your browser. Log in with the email address you provided in step 5 and the one-time password you received via email.

  7. By default, Sandbox Accounts for Events will create the AWS Amplify application at URL If you want to give it a more friendly domain name, follow the steps in Set up custom domains for AWS Amplify projects

Deinstalling Sandbox Accounts for Events

  1. Delete Sandbox Accounts for Events resources from your AWS account

    make delete
  2. Delete your S3 bucket to delete the deployment artifacts.

    make delete-bucket bucket=[your_deployment_bucket_name]

Troubleshooting installation and deinstallation process

Sandbox Accounts for Events consists of multiple components built on different frameworks with different deployment tools. The core DCETM backend is deployed via TerraForm, the GUI is deployed as AWS Amplify project and the overall Sandbox Accounts for Events project is deployed via CloudFormation. Although all resources are tied into the main CloudFormation script, in rare cases we experience issues on proper deployment rollback or deletion of the main CloudFormation stack.

If you experience CloudFormation error messages stating failed deployment/rollback or failed deletion, please follow these steps to ensure a full cleanup:

  1. Identify the S3 bucket holding the TerraForm state:

    aws s3 ls

    Note the name of the bucket labelled "dce-terraform-state-xxxxxxxx" (with "xxxxxxxx" being a random alphanumeric string)

  2. Create and change new to folder. Copy & unzip the TerraForm state to your local environment (make sure to substitute "xxxxxxxx" with your values):

    mkdir dce-terraform
    cd dce-terraform
    aws s3 cp s3://dce-terraform-state-xxxxxxxx/ .
  3. Download & unzip TerraForm v1.2.6 to your local environment and initialize it:

    terraform init
  4. Let TerraForm destroy all resources it tried to provision earlier. When prompted, enter "dce" as namespace for this TerraForm run and "yes" to confirm the deletion of the TerraForm resources. Wait until TerraForm states "Destroy complete":

    terraform destroy
  5. Go to the CloudFormation page your AWS Console. Choose the stack "Sandbox-Accounts-for-Events" (in state DELETE_FAILED) and choose "Delete". Note down the resources that failed deletion, mark them to retain the resources and choose "Delete Stack". The stack should now be deleted successfully.

  6. Go to the S3 page in your AWS console and check if all deployment-releated S3 buckets have been deleted properly. If you still find any leftover S3 buckets labelled "amplify-xxxxxx-main-xxxxxx-deployment" or "dce-terraform-state-xxxxxxxx", delete them ("xxxxxx" being a random alphanumeric string).

  7. Clean up your local environment:

    cd ..
    rm -r dce-terraform


Follow the manuals in the "docs" folder to understand how to operate Sandbox Accounts for Events.

Contributing to Sandbox Accounts for Events

Interested in contributing to this project? Check out our Contributor Guidelines


The sample code; software libraries; command line tools; proofs of concept; templates; or other related technology (including any of the foregoing that are provided by our personnel) is provided to you as AWS Content under the AWS Customer Agreement, or the relevant written agreement between you and AWS (whichever applies). You should not use this AWS Content in your production accounts, or on production or other critical data. You are responsible for testing, securing, and optimizing the AWS Content, such as sample code, as appropriate for production grade use based on your specific quality control practices and standards. Deploying AWS Content may incur AWS charges for creating or using AWS chargeable resources, such as running Amazon EC2 instances or using Amazon S3 storage.


Apache License v2.0

Copyright 2022, Inc. or its affiliates. All Rights Reserved.


"Sandbox Accounts for Events" allows to provide multiple, temporary AWS accounts to a number of authenticated users simultaneously via a browser-based GUI.




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