AWS, Cloud Computing, DevOps

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Streamlining Container Image Management with Amazon ECR Lifecycle Policies


In the dynamic world of containerized applications, efficient management of container images is crucial. Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR) provides a robust solution for storing, managing, and deploying Docker container images on the AWS cloud. One key feature that can significantly enhance your container image management is using Amazon ECR lifecycle policies. In this blog post, we will explore Amazon ECR lifecycle policies and how they can be leveraged to streamline your container image lifecycle.


Efficient container image management is vital in the dynamic landscape of containerized applications. Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR) provides a robust solution for storing and deploying Docker container images on AWS. Within its feature suite, Amazon ECR lifecycle policies play a pivotal role.

These policies empower users to automate image expiration and deletion based on criteria such as age or tagging conventions. By leveraging Amazon ECR lifecycle policies, organizations can ensure optimal resource utilization, cost-effectiveness, and adherence to their container image lifecycle best practices.

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Understanding Amazon ECR Lifecycle Policies

Amazon ECR lifecycle policies allow you to define rules for when to expire and delete container images. This feature is particularly useful for managing storage costs, ensuring compliance, and organizing your container registry. You can maintain a lean and efficient Amazon ECR repository by automating the clean-up process.

Best Practices

  1. Regularly Review and Adjust Policies:
  • Container image management needs may evolve, so periodic reviews and adjustments to your lifecycle policies are essential.

2. Utilize Tagging Strategies:

  • Leverage effective tagging practices to streamline policy definitions. For example, tag images with relevant information like version numbers or environment indicators.

3. Combine with Amazon CloudWatch Events:

  • Integrate Amazon ECR lifecycle policies with Amazon CloudWatch Events to trigger actions based on specific events, providing even greater automation.

Steps to Add Lifecycle Policy for Amazon ECR

  1. Go to your Amazon ECR repository and click on the Lifecycle policy on the left navigation pane.


2. Click on the “Add Rule”.


3. Fill up the configuration for the lifecycle policy.


  • Rule Priority: Please specify a number to indicate the priority of the rule. The rule priority determines the order in which the lifecycle policy rules are executed.
  • Rule Description: Description of the lifecycle policy rule.
  • Image Status: Select from Tagged (wildcard matching), Tagged (prefix matching), Untagged, or Any.
  • If you have selected Tagged (prefix matching) for Image Status, you can specify tags for prefix matching. This allows you to create a list of image tags upon which the lifecycle policy will take action.
  • Match Criteria: Select one of the following criteria: Since image pushed or Image count more than, and then specify the relevant value accordingly. This criterion determines when the lifecycle policy rule will be triggered based on the specified conditions.

4. After filling in the appropriate details and creating the lifecycle rule, the rule will look like this. I have created a rule to keep only the 5 latest images tagged dev or test.



Amazon ECR lifecycle policies offer a powerful means to automate the management of container images, ensuring optimal resource utilization and adherence to best practices. By implementing and fine-tuning these policies, you can enhance the efficiency of your containerized workflows on AWS.

Drop a query if you have any questions regarding Amazon ECR and we will get back to you quickly.

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1. What are Amazon ECR Lifecycle Policies?

ANS: – Amazon ECR Lifecycle Policies are rules you can define to automate the management of container images stored in your Amazon ECR repositories. These policies help streamline image management by automatically performing actions such as image expiration, cleanup, and optimization based on predefined criteria.

2. How do Amazon ECR Lifecycle Policies work?

ANS: – Amazon ECR Lifecycle Policies work by defining rules that specify conditions under which images should be managed. These conditions can include criteria such as image age, tag patterns, and image count. Once configured, Amazon ECR automatically applies the defined actions, such as image deletion or transition to a different storage class, to the images that match the specified conditions.

3. What are the benefits of using Amazon ECR Lifecycle Policies?

ANS: – Amazon ECR Lifecycle Policies offer several benefits, including reducing storage costs by automatically removing outdated or unused images, optimizing repository performance by keeping the repository clean and organized, and ensuring compliance with retention policies and regulatory requirements.

WRITTEN BY Avinash Kumar

Avinash Kumar is a Senior Research Associate at CloudThat, specializing in Cloud Engineering, NodeJS development, and Google Cloud Platform. With his skills, he creates innovative solutions that meet the complex needs of today's digital landscape. He's dedicated to staying at the forefront of emerging cloud technologies.



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