What is CloudWanderer

CloudWanderer is a Python based tool which allows you to discover AWS resources and store them for later retrieval. It is built on top of AWS’s Boto3 SDK which handles the heavy lifting.

Use Cases

CloudWanderer makes it easy to answer questions like:

  • Is S3 bucket name one in my organisation?

  • Which roles have the AdministratorAccess policy attached?


  1. Be storage agnostic.

    The current primary storage connector is DynamoDB but can easily be replaced with other storage providers.

  2. Allow complete discovery.

    Many AWS resource discovery solutions do not support secondary attributes like EnableDnsSupport from describe_vpc_attribute().

  3. Be easily extensible.

    New AWS Services get introduced constantly. CloudWanderer makes it easy to keep up with the rate of change by leveraging Boto3’s Resources and allowing the definition of additional ones using Boto3’s own JSON syntax.

Why not use AWS Config Advanced Query?

AWS Config Query (released in March 2019) is AWS’s solution to centralised resource querying and represents a huge improvement in usability and performance over querying AWS Config on a resource-by-resource basis as a cross-account aggregated repository.

If AWS Config Advanced Query works for your use case, you should use it, especially if you have AWS Config enabled already as it does not entail any additional cost to use Advanced Query.

Here are a few reasons you might consider alternatives to AWS Config Advanced Query for querying your resources.

  1. Limited Resource Support

    While AWS Config boasts an impressive list of supported resources not all of these resources are available to query via Advanced Query. At the time of writing AWS::SecretsManager::Secret is a good example of this.

  2. Limited Expandibility

    While you can expand the resources available in Advanced Query with AWS Config Custom Resources, at the time of writing, the following limitations apply:

    1. It is a simple API to post data to, you must write and trigger your own code to discover new/update existing resources

    2. It is not possible to retrieve any of the custom attributes you provide via Advanced Query, only the mandatory attributes are returned (e.g. Account, region).

    3. Not all regions are supported.

  1. No Subresource Support

    Some resources do not have their own ARNs. Inline IAM Policies are a good example of this. It is currently not possible to lookup the policy document of an inline IAM policy via AWS Config Advanced Query.

  2. No Secondary Attribute Support

    AWS Config works by storing the primary attributes of a resource, i.e. those attributes that are returned by the Describe method (e.g. DescribeImages). However, there are secondary attributes that you sometimes need to lookup to understand your environment. For example you may need to know which AWS Accounts an AMI is shared with, in which case you would need to call DescribeImageAttribute with the Attribute=launchPermission argument. This information is currently not available in AWS Config Advanced Query.

  3. Indeterminate API Throttling.

    The AWS Config Advanced Query API does not have a documented query limit. As it was billed at launch as a way to “[help] reduce the throttling encountered while making service-specific describe API calls.” it’s reasonable to assume that the throttling threshold is high, but bear in mind there is no cost associated with this service so its throttling limits likely reflect that.

If any of these are dealbreakers for you, and you don’t mind putting in the time, effort, and cost to query your own resources, CloudWanderer may be for you!