Posted On: Sep 29, 2011

We are excited to announce 4 new features available in AWS CloudFormation today: update of existing stacks, application bootstrapping, template-based AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) and extensible scripting hooks to react to stack updates on your EC2 instances.

Since AWS CloudFormation was first introduced, customers have asked for a way to manage their stacks once they have been created. With this launch, you can now use CloudFormation to modify and update the resources in your existing stacks in a controlled and predictable way. By using templates to manage your stack changes, you have the ability to version control your AWS infrastructure in the same way as you version control the software running on it.

As applications become more complex, it is important to understand the software assets that are deployed to your environment. AWS CloudFormation now allows you to define and deploy packages and files needed on your Amazon EC2 instances along with the AWS resources. You can choose to deploy your application directly, or bootstrap the environment you need with your existing deployment tools such as Opscode Chef or Puppet. In conjunction with extensible scripting hooks, your application can react to stack events and stack updates. This allows you to update software or configuration settings dynamically on your EC2 instances throughout the lifetime of the stack.

With the new ability to define AWS IAM users, groups and access policies in a template, you can now encapsulate your best practice security policies along with the application resources, so that your policies are applied when the application is provisioned.

Together, these features provide a new level of control and management for your AWS infrastructure. To learn more about AWS CloudFormation, please visit the details page. To understand how to bootstrap applications, react to stack changes and stack updates and to find out how to integrate with tools such as Chef and Puppet, we have written whitepapers on ways to bootstrap applications using AWS CloudFormation.