Boto3, an AWS SDK for Python, offers two interfaces: client for detailed, low-level API access, and resource for a simplified, high-level approach. While client is ideal for comprehensive control over AWS services, resource is better for more straightforward tasks. Let’s dive into the practical differences between these interfaces with real-world examples, guiding you to choose the right approach for your needs.

Boto3 Client: Low-Level API Access

The client in Boto3 provides a low-level interface to AWS services. It maps closely to the underlying AWS API, offering detailed control and comprehensive functionalities. When using client with EC2, you have direct access to all EC2 actions.

Example: Listing EC2 Instances using Client

import boto3
# Create an EC2 client
ec2_client = boto3.client('ec2')
# Iterate over all EC2 instances in response
response = ec2_client.describe_instances()
for reservation in response['Reservations']:
    for instance in reservation['Instances']:

This code snippet demonstrates how to list EC2 instances using the client. Notice the detailed response handling, characteristic of the client interface.

The code above becomes even more complex if you need to list many instances in the account because you’ll need to add a boto3 paginator.

Boto3 Resource: High-Level, Object-Oriented Approach

On the other hand, the resource interface in Boto3 provides a more high-level, object-oriented approach. It abstracts and simplifies interactions with AWS services, making it user-friendly, especially for common tasks.

Example: Listing EC2 Instances using Resource

import boto3
# Create an EC2 resource
ec2_resource = boto3.resource('ec2')
# Iterate over all EC2 instances
for instance in ec2_resource.instances.all():

This example shows how to list EC2 instances using the resource. The syntax is more intuitive and abstracts away the underlying API details.

Difference between Client and Resource

The major differences between boto3.client() and boto3.resource() are:

Returns a response from AWS service API in the form of a Python dictionaryReturns a Python class, which you’re using instead of dealing with Python dictionaries
Thread-safe and can be used in multithreading or multiprocessing codeNot thread-safe and can’t be used in multithreading or multiprocessing code
Low-level interface / Low-level calls to the APIHigher level abstraction for working with AWS service APIs

In summary, using the resource allows us to write more readable code and avoid processing response dictionaries provided by service clients. In addition, it will enable you to lazily iterate over many returned objects without thinking about pagination or memory utilization.

Accessing Boto3 Client from Resource

Lastly, you can get access to the Boto3 client() methods from the resource():

import boto3
# Get EC2 resource
ec2_resource = boto3.resource('ec2')
# Get client from resource
ec2_client = ec2_resource.meta.client
paginator = ec2_client.get_paginator('describe_instances')
ec2_instances = []
for page in paginator.paginate():
    for reservation in page['Reservations']:
	    for instance in reservation['Instances']:

AWS services supporting Client and Resource

Here’s a list of some of the key AWS services that have both Boto3 client and Boto3 resource interfaces:

  1. Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service):
    • Boto3 client: Provides a low-level interface with methods that map closely to the underlying REST API.
    • Boto3 resource: Provides a higher-level, object-oriented interface.
  2. Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud):
    • Boto3 client: Allows to manage EC2 instances, security groups, and other aspects of EC2.
    • Boto3 resource: Simplifies the management of EC2 instances and related resources.
  3. Amazon DynamoDB:
    • Boto3 client: Offers detailed control over DynamoDB operations.
    • Boto3 resource: Offers a simpler interface for DynamoDB, making it easier to work with tables and items.
  4. Amazon SQS (Simple Queue Service):
    • Boto3 client: Provides comprehensive access to all SQS features.
    • Boto3 resource: Offers an easier way to interact with SQS queues.
  5. AWS IAM (Identity and Access Management):
    • Boto3 client: Used for detailed IAM operations like managing users, groups, and policies.
    • Boto3 resource: Provides a more straightforward way to manage IAM resources.
  6. Amazon SNS (Simple Notification Service):
    • Boto3 client: Allows for managing topics, subscriptions, and messages.
    • Boto3 resource: Simplifies interactions with SNS.

Please note that not all AWS services offer both a Boto3 client and a Boto3 resource interface. Some services only provide a Boto3 client interface due to the complexity or specificity of the service.

Which to Choose: Client or Resource?

The choice between client and resource in Boto3 depends on your needs. If you require comprehensive control and access to all AWS features, client is the way to go. However, for simpler, more common tasks, resource offers a cleaner and more straightforward approach.

In summary, while client provides detailed, low-level API access, resource offers a simplified, high-level interface. Your choice should align with your AWS tasks’ complexity and specific requirements, especially when managing EC2 instances.