Sometimes it is nice to highlight the quality of life updates that AWS adds. EC2 Instance Connect is one of those necessities. Long have we been jelly of other Cloud providers ability to quickly connect into their instance via the browser, but no more – now we can too!
EC2 Instance Connect is a quick and easy way to connect to your EC2 instance when you just need to pop in and pop out. No need to play with Putty and Pagent (if you’re on Windows) to get things pre-configured. This feature is convenient. That said there are some shortcomings with Instance Connect, firstly, you can’t have more than one Instance Connect window open at the same time. During my testing, it would only allow for one Instance Connect window open at any given time when launched from the console, which seems like an odd design decision. Secondly, unlike SSM Session Manager, it assumes your browser has access to the Instance (which normally means publicly accessible).
Playing with the EC2 Instance Connect CLI provide little utility as it is in essence just another SSH client – I’m sure we have at least one on our computers. Even the AWS support docs, are like brah you sure you need to install this, we are sure you have another SSH client on your box already?
Overall, Instance Connect is a simple to use feature, but it’s missing the ability to create multiple simultaneous sessions. It still requires the instance you want to connect to be directly accessible as well. For now, I’ll stick with SSM Session Manager for more advanced needs and use Instance Connect when I’m just to lazy to lunch my local SSH client against a public instance.