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Get AMI ID from a packer build
packer build packer.json 2>&1 | sudo tee output.txt
tail -2 output.txt | head -2 | awk 'match($0, /ami-.*/) { print substr($0, RSTART, RLENGTH) }' > sudo ami.txt
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grayaii commented Dec 5, 2014

Thanks for finding this! This really helped. It's a bit unfortunate that packer does not provide a way to do this for you. If they change the output, then this will start failing. Thanks for posting here:!searchin/packer-tool/ami$20id/packer-tool/FjwlZU2lo3g/Hq0Y7l-UwiwJ

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irgeek commented Dec 10, 2014

I try to avoid output parsing -- and running output through tee also causes Packer to strip colours -- so I came up with a different technique that has been working very well. Basically, have Packer tag the AMI with a unique value you know, then use AWS' built-in filtering to find the correct AMI after the build finishes.

More details in this gist:

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Why not use packer build -machine-readable and parse that output?

I use:

packer build -machine-readable packer.json | tee build.log
grep 'artifact,0,id' build.log | cut -d, -f6 | cut -d: -f2

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Thanks @rafaelmagu, it worked very nicely!

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I needed to grep the snapshot-id to delete it via AWS CLI. Based on @rafaelmagu answer, I created a gist that returns the snapshot-id:

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rbowlby commented Nov 20, 2015

Perfect, thanks for the share.

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I've changed a little bit, based on @rafaelmagu :

packer build -machine-readable packer.json | tee build.log
egrep -m1 -oe 'ami-.{8}' build.log


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delaman commented Jun 14, 2016

This works good too:

$ packer build -machine-readable packer.json | awk -F, '$0 ~/artifact,0,id/ {print $6}'

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Just adding to @delaman, if you're doing multi-regions, you can do this to parse:

$ packer build -machine-readable packer.json | awk -F, '$0 ~/artifact,0,id/ {print $6}' | sed 's/%!(PACKER_COMMA)/\n/g'

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carlosonunez commented Jan 4, 2017

These are nice solutions. I went with the grep approach below, but the awk approach is just as clean.

packer build -machine-readable ... | egrep 'artifact,0,id' | rev | cut -f1 -d, | rev

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dayer4b commented Jan 26, 2017

you might try the manifest post-processor instead.

It can produce a JSON file with the relevant data that looks like:

  "builds": [                                                      
      "name": "amazon-ebs",                                        
      "builder_type": "amazon-ebs",                                
      "build_time": 1485460577,                                    
      "files": null,                                               
      "artifact_id": "us-west-1:ami-XXXXXXXX",                     
      "packer_run_uuid": "cd66f925-1eb5-c43e-4370-e696a66d53aa"    
  "last_run_uuid": "cd66f925-1eb5-c43e-4370-e696a66d53aa"          

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With regard to the manifest file post-processor, you need to be on at least, but has changes to the manifest config, so would probably be a better option.

Otherwise, you'll get a message saying that the manifest post-processor cannot be found.

(As I did!)

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mschiessl commented Jul 14, 2017

The Manifest output does not work, if you create your own ami (for example with the virtualbox bulder) and use the "amazon-import" post-processor, since it is just treating the build processor :(

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wmbutler commented Apr 7, 2018

The manifest postprocessor worked great for me:

  "post-processors": [
        "output": "manifest.json",
        "strip_path": true,
        "type": "manifest"

Then this chain of events will capture the ami-XXXXXX as shown by @dayer4b above.

cat manifest.json | jq -r .builds[0].artifact_id |  cut -d':' -f2

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Aagat commented Jun 8, 2018

I ended up using this along with manifest post processor to get the latest ami

cat manifest.json | jq -r '.builds[-1].artifact_id' |  cut -d':' -f2

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How can we directly export the AMI_ID to global variable?

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This is old, but comes up when you search for how to get the ami id from the amazon-import post-processor. Note that the manifest will contain the AMI id, but you have to wrap the amazon-import post-processor and the manifest post-processor within the same list, or as Packer calls it, a sequence.

"post-processors": [
      "type": "amazon-import",
      "ami_name": "import_test",
      "region": "{{ user `target_region` }}",
      "s3_bucket_name": "{{ user `s3_artifact_bucket` }}",
      "role_name": "{{ user `aws_vmimport_role` }}"
      { "type":"manifest" }

More info here: hashicorp/packer#7297

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You can omit the cat command and pass the file file to jq directly or jq -r '.builds[-1].artifact_id' manifest.json | cut -d':' -f2

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Gist is one of those sites where it pays to read the comments. I was able to take this and combine it with some of the above additional techniques and wrap it together in a modern AWS demonstration. Enjoy:

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Using a post-processor with jq works as well.

jq -r '.builds[0].artifact_id|split(":")[1]' ./manifest.json

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CodeForcer commented Jul 2, 2021

Seriously, we shouldn't have to do all this parsing of text. Packer should just have a way to spit out the ami_id in the language itself so we can use it in future build stages without having to parse arrays in json manifest files

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@CodeForcer yes, definitely I agree!!!

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Complete example using HCL with a manifest post-processor and the jq command from @dougireton:

packer {
  required_plugins {
    amazon = {
      version = ">= 0.0.2"
      source  = ""

source "amazon-ebs" "ubuntu" {
  ami_name      = "custom-ami-{{timestamp}}"
  instance_type = "t2.micro"
  region        = "eu-west-1"
  source_ami_filter {
    filters = {
      name                = "ubuntu/images/hvm-ssd/ubuntu-jammy-22.04-amd64-server-*"
      root-device-type    = "ebs"
      virtualization-type = "hvm"
    most_recent = true
    owners      = ["099720109477"]
  ssh_username = "ubuntu"
  tags = {
    Name = "my-app"
    Os   = "ubuntu-jammy-22.04-amd64-server"

build {
  name = "custom-ami"
  sources = [""]
    post-processor "manifest" {
        output = "manifest.json"
        strip_path = true

Then just:
jq -r '.builds[0].artifact_id|split(":")[1]' ./manifest.json
Expected output:

But agree with @CodeForcer 2022 and packer still does not have a built-in method to spit out the id.

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For multiple AWS regions, try:

jq -r '.builds[0].artifact_id' ./manifest.json | tr ',' '\n'

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