Packer Tutorials: Amazon Data Sources – amazon-parameterstore

The Amazon plugin is able to fetch data from AWS. To achieve this, the plugin comes with data sources to retrieve AMI and secrets information. Packer supports the following data sources at the moment:

  • amazon-ami – Filter and fetch an Amazon AMI to output all the AMI information.
  • amazon-secretsmanager – Retrieve information about a Secrets Manager secret version, including its secret value.
  • amazon-parameterstore – Retrieve information about a parameter in SSM.

What is SSM?

SSM stands for Systems Manager, and it refers to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) service called AWS Systems Manager. AWS Systems Manager is a management service that helps you manage resources and applications in your AWS environment.

AWS Systems Manager provides a unified interface to manage various aspects of your infrastructure, including instance management, configuration management, patch management, and automation. It offers a set of tools and features that enable you to perform operational tasks efficiently and securely.

Here are some key features of AWS Systems Manager (SSM):

  1. Parameter Store: SSM Parameter Store allows you to securely store and manage configuration data, such as database credentials, API keys, and other settings. It provides a central location for storing and retrieving configuration values that can be securely accessed by applications and services.
  2. Run Command: With SSM Run Command, you can remotely execute commands or scripts on multiple instances or groups of instances. This enables you to perform administrative tasks, install software, apply updates, and run diagnostics across your fleet of instances.
  3. Patch Manager: SSM Patch Manager helps you automate the process of patching your instances with the latest security patches provided by AWS. It simplifies the task of managing patch compliance across your instances, allowing you to schedule and control patch deployments.
  4. Automation: AWS Systems Manager Automation allows you to create and execute workflows to automate operational tasks and processes. It enables you to define a series of steps and actions that can be executed manually or triggered by events.
  5. Session Manager: SSM Session Manager provides secure and auditable shell access to instances without the need for SSH or RDP connections. It allows you to establish a secure session to an instance directly from the AWS Management Console or through the AWS CLI.

How to use this plugin?

packer {
  required_plugins {
    amazon = {
      version = ">= 1.2.5"
      source = ""

Amazon Parameter Store Data Source: amazon-parameterstore

The Parameter Store data source provides information about a parameter in SSM.Data sources is a feature exclusively available to HCL2 templates.

data "amazon-parameterstore" "basic-example" {
  name = "packer_test_parameter"
  with_decryption = false

# usage example of the data source output
locals {
  value   =
  version =
  arn     =

data "amazon-parameterstore" "basic-example" {
  name = "packer_test_parameter"
  with_decryption = false

  assume_role {
      role_arn     = "arn:aws:iam::ACCOUNT_ID:role/ROLE_NAME"
      session_name = "SESSION_NAME"
      external_id  = "EXTERNAL_ID"
Rajesh Kumar
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