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EC2 CleanUp

Utility to clean up AWS EC2 security groups, keypairs and EBS volumes.


Removes any unused objects in an EC2 region whose names match a regular expression.

This is particularly useful for cleaning up groups and keys created by jclouds, which have names like jclouds#0eca9048cc1e47659736c236fbbdb6c2 or jclouds#03230716fff7412cb7241c78de86e99d#eu-west-1. These may not be deleted when a program exits, and can accumulate and cause problems with the AWS rate-limit checks. The EC2 management console can show the number of objects in a particular region, using the links below:


First either download or build the Jar file that will be executed.


Download the latest release (currently version 0.1.0) from GitHub:

% wget --no-check-certificate --quiet \
    -O ec2cleanup-0.1.0-jar-with-dependencies.jar \

This will download an executable Jar file named ec2cleanup-0.1.0-jar-with-dependencies containing the code and all required dependencies.


Clone the latest Build the program using Maven:

% git clone
% cd ec2cleanup
% mvn clean install

This will create an executable Jar file named ec2cleanup-0.2.0-SNAPSHOT-jar-with-dependencies.jar and will download and include all the required dependencies.


Use the program as follows, substituting your EC2 access key and secret key for the aws-ec2.identity and aws-ec2.credential properties. If you have built the project from source, you will need to change the version number and location of the Jar file wherever it occurs. These exammples assume you have downloaded the 0.1.0 release version:

% java -Daws-ec2.identity=XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX \
    -Daws-ec2.credential=XXxxXXxxXXxxXXxxXXxxXXxxXXxxXXxxXXxxXXxx \
    -jar ec2cleanup-0.1.0-jar-with-dependencies.jar
[INFO] Cleaning SecurityGroups, KeyPairs and Volumes in aws-ec2:eu-west-1 matching 'jclouds#.*'
[INFO] Found 1649 matching KeyPairs
[INFO] Deleted 1649 KeyPairs
[INFO] Found 1508 matching SecurityGroups
[INFO] Found 113 matching Volumes
[WARN] Error deleting SecurityGroup 'jclouds#GmqCZ6hx#eu-west-1': There are active instances using
security group 'jclouds#GmqCZ6hx#eu-west-1'
[INFO] Deleted 1507 SecurityGroups
[INFO] Deleted 113 Volumes

NOTE It is not possible to delete a security group if it is being used by an active instance, but because key pairs are only needed when starting an instance they can always be deleted. Volumes cannot be deleted if they are attached to an instance.

The default region is Amazon Europe (eu-west-1) which can be changed by setting the first argument. The default regular expression is jclouds#.*. You can use a different regular expression by adding it as the second argument, and supplying a region name as the first argument. To delete a specific key pair or security group use the complete name as the regular expression and only that object will be deleted.

% java -Daws-ec2.identity=XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX \
    -Daws-ec2.credential=XXxxXXxxXXxxXXxxXXxxXXxxXXxxXXxxXXxxXXxx \
    -jar ec2cleanup-0.1.0-jar-with-dependencies.jar us-east-1 jclouds#grkvlt#.*
[INFO] Cleaning SecurityGroups, KeyPairs and Volumes in aws-ec2:us-east-1 matching 'jclouds#grkvlt#.*'

To check the existence of matching key-pairs and security groups without deleting them, include check before any other arguments.

% java -Daws-ec2.identity=XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX \
    -Daws-ec2.credential=XXxxXXxxXXxxXXxxXXxxXXxxXXxxXXxxXXxxXXxx \
    -jar ec2cleanup-0.1.0-jar-with-dependencies.jar check us-west-1
[INFO] Checking SecurityGroups, KeyPairs and Volumes in aws-ec2:us-west-1 matching 'jclouds#.*'
[INFO] Found 761 matching KeyPairs
[INFO] Found 1259 matching SecurityGroups
[INFO] Found 5 matching Volumes

NOTE This means you cannot delete key pairs, security groups or volumes named check.


Copyright 2013-2014 by Andrew Kennedy

Licensed to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) under one or more contributor license agreements. See the NOTICE file distributed with this work for additional information regarding copyright ownership. The ASF licenses this file to you under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.


Utility to clean up AWS EC2 security groups and keypairs




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