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Geoffrey Wiseman for AWS Community Builders

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Intro to EC2 Global View

If you've spent more than a few days using the AWS console, you've probably had a moment where you've found yourself staring at an AWS console wondering where to find a resource, or why a resource you're looking for doesn't appear.

And if you have ever used resources in more than one region it's reasonably likely that some of those times were resolved when you suddenly noticed up in the corner that the region you were on isn't the one you expected, or possibly the region the resource you were looking for is in a region you didn't expect.

Even if most of your resources are in one region there are reasons why you might need to have some resources in another region. For instance, if you want to use an AWS Certificate Manager (ACM) certificate with CloudFront, it has to be in us-east-1.

When it really gets a little annoying is when you're not sure which region to look in -- now you're clicking from one region to the next, looking in each region for the resource.

Enter EC2 Global View

AWS announced EC2 Global View, a new interface for viewing your EC2 resources across all regions.

Think of EC2 Global View as an alternate interface for viewing some of your EC2 resources. It's not part of the EC2 console, and it's not a new entry in the region menu, it's a whole separate interface.

When you launch the interface, you'll see the Region Explorer:
Global View: Region Explorer

I've numbered a few useful elements that we'll talk about.

The Region Explorer (1)

The region explorer will show you an overview of all the supported resources that you have in all regions, and then a breakdown of those resources by region. Most of the elements you click on will take you to the Global Search with specific filters applied.

This is essentially a dashboard with roll-up information and quick links to areas of interest. You can also use the search box in the region explorer to filter the regions that you're exploring.

Global Search (2)

The Global Search shows you specific resources. You can switch to this view yourself and enter your own searches by resource id, tags or region:

Global Search

This is particularly useful if you have a good tagging strategy that might let you filter down to a very specific set of resources.

It's also the view you'll come to when clicking links on the dashboard, which will populate the search with filters that match what you clicked on.

Search by Resource Type (3)

If in the resource summary at the top of the region explorer, you click on any one of the resource types, you'll be shown a search view filtered by resources of that type.

Here's a search for security groups:
Search: Security Groups

Search by Region (4)

If you just want to see all the supported resources in a region, simply click on the region in the first column of the region table, and you'll be taken to the Global Search with a region filter:
Search: Region

Alternately, go to the search view and start typing a region name.

Search by Region and Resource (5)

If you want to search by both region and resource, simply click the cell at the intersection of the row corresponding to the region and the column corresponding to the resource. For instance, if I wanted to see volumes in ca-central-1:

Search: Region & Resource

Limitations

It's still early days. It's called "EC2 Global View", not "AWS Global View", so it's still limited to Instances, VPCs, Subnets, Security Groups, Volumes. I can't find my CloudFront ACM Certificate using Global View.

It's also not super-discoverable. If you don't know that EC2 Global View exists as a separate console interface, then clicking in the region menu isn't going to give you any hints.

Fortunately, you can share this article with everyone you know who uses AWS and they can discover it that way.

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