If you want to schedule a cron job to stop all your EC2 instances on the cloud, what do you do?

Do you have to host a server just to perform cron operations? Thankfully, the answer is No!

AWS Lambda together with Amazon Cloudwatch Events provides us capabilities to schedule events on cron schedule. We write the logic on AWS Lambda, where we use Python SDK for amazon, boto3 to stop our EC2 Instances.

Lambda is a event driven compute service. We have functions that execute when a trigger is triggered. In today’s lab we will setup a trigger with Cloud watch Events.

On top of that we will need an IAM role that gives our lambda function permissions to Stop EC2 Instances. We will also add Cloud watch permissions on that role so that the lambda function can log the event every time it is triggered.

Let’s get started with setting up the role:

  • Go to the IAM console and click on role
  • Click Create a Role
  • Under AWS service , select Lambda. Click Next Permissions.

You should see a list of policies. Search for AmazonEC2FullAccess and check the box.

  • Also search for CloudWatchFullAccess and check that box.
  • Click Next Review.
  • Choose a Name(eg: Lambda EC2_cloudwatch_access) for the role. Add a description
  • Click Create


Now we should have a role that we can attach to our Lambda function.

Now Let’s work on our Lambda function:

  • Go to the Lambda console.
  • Click Create a function
  • Click Author from Scratch
  • Give the function a Name( eg: stopC2)
  • Under role: Select choose an existing role
  • Select the role we created earlier.
  • Click on create function.
  • Select Python 2.7 as the Runtime.
  • Paste our python function:
  • Click on Save and Test. You’ll see a configure test event window. Give the test event a name and click on create.
  • Copy the Arn of the lambda function from the top of the page: (eg: arn:aws:lambda:us-east-1:771454434342637355:function:stop


Cloudwatch Events Setup:

  • Go to the Cloudwatch console.
  • On the left hand side menu, Under Events , select Rules.
  • Click Create a Rule
  • Select Schedule and select Cron Expression.
  • Put: 0 5 * * ? *  on the box. This means every 5 am GMT every day,month,year
  • This is the documentation for the cron expression : http://docs.aws.amazon.com/AmazonCloudWatch/latest/events/ScheduledEvents.html
  • On the right hand side, click on Add Target. Select Lambda function and on the function field, pase the ARN we copied earlier.(eg: arn:aws:lambda:us-east-1:771454434342637355:function:stop
  • Click on Configure Details.
  • Give the Rule a name and description and Create a Rule.
  • Click on Create.

Now let’s go to our EC2 console and launch or start few ( 3 ) instances

It’s time to test the Lambda Function. Since we can’t wait until 12 am lets test the event manually.

Go back to the Lambda function we created earlier and click Test.

Check your EC2 console. Your EC2 instance must be stopping.


That concludes the lesson.

Terminate the EC2 instance that you created earlier.

*If you have errors in lambda function we can go to cloud watch logs and troubleshoot

Check out the video video for step by step video  instructions.

Here is the code used during the video:


import boto3</pre>

def lambda_handler(event, context):


for reservation in response["Reservations"]:

for instance in reservation["Instances"]:

print(instance["InstanceId"] + "stopping")



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