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Automating the Deployment of AWS Config with the AWS SDK for PHP

by Jonathan Eskew | on | in PHP | Permalink | Comments |  Share

My colleague Joseph Fontes, an AWS Solutions Architect, wrote the guest post below to discuss automation strategies for AWS Config.

There are times when you need to automate the deployment of services either in your account or within external accounts.  When I recently had to enable AWS Config support in remote accounts, I approached this task the way many others do….by opening the AWS SDK for PHP Reference Guide!

To complete this task, we will need three AWS Config methods: putConfigurationRecorder(), putDeliveryChannel(), and startConfigurationRecorder().  Before making the call to putDeliveryChannel(), we need to create our Amazon S3 bucket destination and identify an AWS SNS topic. 

Let’s instantiate the clients we will need for this exercise.  The client creation will be slightly different for those familiar with creating clients in version 2 of the AWS SDK for PHP.

$s3Client = $sdk->createS3();
$iamClient = $sdk->createIam();
$confClient = $sdk->createConfigService();
$snsClient = $sdk->createSns();

Let’s next create an S3 bucket and destination for our AWS Config logs.  Remember that S3 buckets must be globally unique. We cannot simply use a name like “logs.”  For this reason, our naming convention will use our account number:

$accountID = "XXXXXXXXXXXX";
$s3Bucket = $accountID."-config";
$role = "AWS-Config-Role-IAM";

$s3Res = $s3Client->listBuckets([]);

$s3ResA = $s3Res->toArray();

if(bucketExists($sdk,$s3Bucket,$s3ResA) == 0) {
    $s3Data = [
        'ACL' => 'private',
        'Bucket' => $s3Bucket, 
        'LocationConstraint' => $region
    $s3Res = $s3Client->createBucket($s3Data);
    $s3ResA = $s3Res->toArray();
    print "Waiting for bucket to become available...";
    $s3Client->waitUntil('BucketExists', [
        'Bucket' => $s3Bucket

In the preceding example, I have written a function to test if the bucket exists.  This is a completely optional step. The full code will be made available for download.

The call for createBucket() with Amazon S3 followed by the waitUntil() method delays script execution until the S3 bucket is available for use. 

We now need to create the IAM role AWS Config uses to access the S3 bucket.  We need an assume role policy to reference during the call.  I have created a text file, policy.json, with the following contents:

  "Version": "2012-10-17",
  "Statement": [
      "Sid": "",
      "Effect": "Allow",
      "Principal": {
        "Service": ""
      "Action": "sts:AssumeRole"

Create a local copy of the policy.json file.

Next, we need to create an additional policy file that gives the AWS Config service permissions to perform required tasks in your account. Download the following file and place it in your running directory:


We can now create the IAM role for the AWS Config service:

$config_topic = "ConfigTopicSNS";
$policy_info = file_get_contents('config-policy.json');
$replace_sns = ":".$AccountID.":".$config_topic;
$policy_info = str_replace($replS3Bucket,$s3Bucket,$policy_info);
$policy_info = str_replace($replSNS,$replace_sns,$policy_info);
$policy_info = str_replace($replS3Bucket2,$s3Bucket,$policy_info);

$iamData = [
    'RoleName' => $role,
    'AssumeRolePolicyDocument' => file_get_contents('policy.json')

$iamRes = $iamClient->createRole($iamData);
$iamResA = $iamRes->toArray();

$roleARN = $iamResA['Role']['Arn'];
$iamData = [
    'PolicyDocument' => $policy_info,
    'PolicyName' => 'NEWConfigPolicy',
    'Description' => "config policy via sdk"
$iamRes = $iamClient->createPolicy($iamData);
$iamResA = $iamRes->toArray();

$confPolicyArn = $iamResA['Policy']['Arn'];

$iamData = [
    'PolicyArn' => $ConfPolicyArn,
    'RoleName' => $Role
$iamRes = $iamClient->attachRolePolicy($iamData);
$iamResA = $iamRes->toArray();

This portion imports the trust policy defined by the local file, policy.json, along with the permissions policy identified by the local file, config-policy.json.  The permissions policy is modified upon read to ensure proper identifiers are used in the script.

Let’s create the SNS topic.

$snsTopic = 'ConfigTopicSNS';

$snsData = ['Name' => $config_topic];
$snsRes = $snsClient->createTopic($snsData);
$snsResA = $snsRes->toArray();

$snsTopicARN = $snsResA['TopicArn'];

We now have to call the putConfigurationRecorder() method.  This creates a new configuration recorder that will identify the changes we want to record.  In this example, we want to record all changes.  Readers can be more prescriptive in their recordings by identifying resources types.  You’ll find a list of supported resource types here:

$confData = [
    'ConfigurationRecorder' => [
        'name' => 'default',
        'recordingGroup' => [
            'allSupported' => true,
        'roleARN' => $roleARN,


Now that we know what we are going to record, we have to identify where we will send the recordings.  The following shows the putDeliveryChannel() method, which needs the S3 bucket (created earlier) to store the recordings and the SNS topic, which will alert to configuration changes.

$confData = [
    'DeliveryChannel' => [
        'name' => 'default',
        's3BucketName' => $s3Bucket,
        'snsTopicARN' => $snsTopicARN,


Finally, now that we have our recording configuration and methods for delivery defined, we have to start recording the changes:

$confData = ['ConfigurationRecorderName' => 'default' ];


Now that changes to infrastructure within this region of our account are being recorded with notifications sent, we can be notified of and record infrastructure updates.  We can then use additional SNS subscriptions to process the list of items in our infrastructure that have changed, review them for root cause analysis in the event of service issues, use centralized logging along with event correlation to look for system anomalies, and so on.

You can review the processing of Amazon SNS notifications here: