AWS Compute Blog

Centralizing management of AWS Lambda layers across multiple AWS Accounts

This post is written by Debasis Rath, Sr. Specialist SA-Serverless, Kanwar Bajwa, Enterprise Support Lead, and Xiaoxue Xu, Solutions Architect (FSI).

Enterprise customers often manage an inventory of AWS Lambda layers, which provide shared code and libraries to Lambda functions. These Lambda layers are then shared across AWS accounts and AWS Organizations to promote code uniformity, reusability, and efficiency. However, as enterprises scale on AWS, managing shared Lambda layers across an increasing number of functions and accounts is best handled with automation.

This blog post centralizes the management of Lambda layers to ensure compliance with your enterprise’s governance standards, and promotes consistency across your infrastructure. This centralized management uses a detective configuration approach to identify non-compliant Lambda functions systematically using outdated Lambda layer versions, and corrective measures to remediate these Lambda functions by updating them with the right layer version.

This solution uses AWS services such as AWS Config, Amazon EventBridge Scheduler, AWS Systems Manager (SSM) Automation, and AWS CloudFormation StackSets.

Solution overview

This solution offers two parts for layers management:

  1. On-demand visibility into outdated Lambda functions.
  2. Automated remediation of the affected Lambda functions.

1.	On-demand visibility into outdated Lambda functions

This is the architecture for the first part. Users with the necessary permissions can use AWS Config advanced queries to obtain a list of outdated Lambda functions.

The current configuration state of any Lambda function is captured by the configuration recorder within the member account. This data is then aggregated by the AWS Config Aggregator within the management account. The aggregated data can be accessed using queries.

2.	Automated remediation of the affected Lambda functions

This diagram depicts the architecture for the second part. Administrators must manually deploy CloudFormation StackSets to initiate the automatic remediation of outdated Lambda functions.

The manual remediation trigger is used instead of a fully automated solution. Administrators schedule this manual trigger as part of a change request to minimize disruptions to the business. All business stakeholders owning affected Lambda functions should receive this change request notification and have adequate time to perform unit tests to assess the impact.

Upon receiving confirmation from the business stakeholders, the administrator deploys the CloudFormation StackSets, which in turn deploy the CloudFormation stack to the designated member account and Region. After the CloudFormation stack deployment, the EventBridge scheduler invokes an AWS Config custom rule evaluation. This rule identifies the non-compliant Lambda functions, and later updates them using SSM Automation runbooks.

Centralized approach to layer management

The following walkthrough deploys the two-part architecture described, using a centralized approach to layer management as in the preceding diagram. A decentralized approach scatters management and updates of Lambda layers across accounts, making enforcement more difficult and error-prone.

This solution is also available on GitHub.


For the solution walkthrough, you should have the following prerequisites:

Writing an on-demand query for outdated Lambda functions

First, you write and run an AWS Config advanced query to identify the accounts and Regions where the outdated Lambda functions reside. This is helpful for end users to determine the scope of impact, and identify the responsible groups to inform based on the affected Lambda resources.

Follow these procedures to understand the scope of impact using the AWS CLI:

  1. Open CloudShell in your AWS account.
  2. Run the following AWS CLI command. Replace YOUR_AGGREGATOR_NAME with the name of your AWS Config aggregator, and YOUR_LAYER_ARN with the outdated Lambda layer Amazon Resource Name (ARN).
    aws configservice select-aggregate-resource-config \
    --expression "SELECT accountId, awsRegion, configuration.functionName, configuration.version WHERE resourceType = 'AWS::Lambda::Function' AND configuration.layers.arn = 'YOUR_LAYER_ARN'" \
    --configuration-aggregator-name 'YOUR_AGGREGATOR_NAME' \
    --query "Results" \
    --output json | \
    jq -r '.[] | fromjson | [.accountId, .awsRegion, .configuration.functionName, .configuration.version] | @csv' > output.csv
  3. The results are saved to a CSV file named output.csv in the current working directory. This file contains the account IDs, Regions, names, and versions of the Lambda functions that are currently using the specified Lambda layer ARN. Refer to the documentation on how to download a file from AWS CloudShell.

To explore more configuration data and further improve visualization using services like Amazon Athena and Amazon QuickSight, refer to Visualizing AWS Config data using Amazon Athena and Amazon QuickSight.

Deploying automatic remediation to update outdated Lambda functions

Next, you deploy the automatic remediation CloudFormation StackSets to the affected accounts and Regions where the outdated Lambda functions reside. You can use the query outlined in the previous section to obtain the account IDs and Regions.

Updating Lambda layers may affect the functionality of existing Lambda functions. It is essential to notify affected development groups, and coordinate unit tests to prevent unintended disruptions before remediation.

To create and deploy CloudFormation StackSets from your management account for automatic remediation:

  1. Run the following command in CloudShell to clone the GitHub repository:
    git clone
  2. Run the following CLI command to upload your template and create the stack set container.
    aws cloudformation create-stack-set \
      --stack-set-name layers-remediation-stackset \
      --template-body file://lambda-layer-management/layer_manager.yaml
  3. Run the following CLI command to add stack instances in the desired accounts and Regions to your CloudFormation StackSets. Replace the account IDs, Regions, and parameters before you run this command. You can refer to the syntax in the AWS CLI Command Reference. “NewLayerArn” is the ARN for your updated Lambda layer, while “OldLayerArn” is the original Lambda layer ARN.
    aws cloudformation create-stack-instances \
    --stack-set-name layers-remediation-stackset \
    --accounts <LIST_OF_ACCOUNTS> \
    --regions <YOUR_REGIONS> \
    --parameter-overrides ParameterKey=NewLayerArn,ParameterValue='<NEW_LAYER_ARN>' ParameterKey=OldLayerArn,ParameterValue='=<OLD_LAYER_ARN>'
  4. Run the following CLI command to verify that the stack instances are created successfully. The operation ID is returned as part of the output from step 3.
    aws cloudformation describe-stack-set-operation \
      --stack-set-name layers-remediation-stackset \
      --operation-id <OPERATION_ID>

This CloudFormation StackSet deploys an EventBridge Scheduler that immediately triggers the AWS Config custom rule for evaluation. This rule, written in AWS CloudFormation Guard, detects all the Lambda functions in the member accounts currently using the outdated Lambda layer version. By using the Auto Remediation feature of AWS Config, the SSM automation document is run against each non-compliant Lambda function to update them with the new layer version.

Other considerations

The provided remediation CloudFormation StackSet uses the UpdateFunctionConfiguration API to modify your Lambda functions’ configurations directly. This method of updating may lead to drift from your original infrastructure as code (IaC) service, such as the CloudFormation stack that you used to provision the outdated Lambda functions. In this case, you might need to add an additional step to resolve drift from your original IaC service.

Alternatively, you might want to update your IaC code directly, referencing the latest version of the Lambda layer, instead of deploying the remediation CloudFormation StackSet as described in the previous section.

Cleaning up

Refer to the documentation for instructions on deleting all the created stack instances from your account. After, proceed to delete the CloudFormation StackSet.


Managing Lambda layers across multiple accounts and Regions can be challenging at scale. By using a combination of AWS Config, EventBridge Scheduler, AWS Systems Manager (SSM) Automation, and CloudFormation StackSets, it is possible to streamline the process.

The example provides on-demand visibility into affected Lambda functions and allows scheduled remediation of impacted functions. AWS SSM Automation further simplifies maintenance, deployment, and remediation tasks. With this architecture, you can efficiently manage updates to your Lambda layers and ensure compliance with your organization’s policies, saving time and reducing errors in your serverless applications.

To learn more about using Lambda layer, visit the AWS documentation. For more serverless learning resources, visit Serverless Land.