AWS CloudFormation features

Why AWS CloudFormation?

AWS CloudFormation gives you an easy way to model a collection of related AWS and third-party resources, provision them quickly and consistently, and manage them throughout their lifecycles, by treating infrastructure as code. A CloudFormation template describes your desired resources and their dependencies so you can launch and configure them together as a stack. You can use a template to create, update, and delete an entire stack as a single unit, as often as you need to, instead of managing resources individually. You can manage and provision stacks across multiple AWS accounts and AWS Regions.

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Using the AWS CloudFormation Registry, you can model and provision third-party resources and modules published by AWS Partner Network (APN) Partners and the developer community. Examples of third-party resources are monitoring, team productivity, incident management, and version control tools, along with resources from APN Partners such as MongoDB, Datadog, Atlassian Opsgenie, JFrog, Trend Micro, Splunk, Aqua Security, FireEye, Sysdig, Snyk, Check Point, Spot by NetApp, Gremlin, Stackery, and Iridium. You can also browse, discover, and choose from a collection of pre-built modules by JFrog and Stackery, along with those maintained by AWS Quick Starts.

You can build your own resource providers using the AWS CloudFormation CLI, an open-source tool that streamlines the development process, including local testing and code generation capabilities.

CloudFormation StackSets let you provision a common set of AWS resources across multiple accounts and regions, with a single CloudFormation template. StackSets takes care of automatically and safely provisioning, updating, or deleting stacks, no matter where they are.

CloudFormation allows you to model your entire cloud environment in text files. You can use open-source declarative languages, such as JSON or YAML, to describe what AWS resources you want to create and configure. If you prefer to design visually, you can use AWS CloudFormation Designer to help you get started with AWS CloudFormation templates.

With the AWS Cloud Development Kit (AWS CDK), you can define your cloud environment using TypeScript, Python, Java, and .NET. AWS CDK is an open-source software development framework that helps you model cloud application resources using familiar programming languages, and then provision your infrastructure using CloudFormation directly from your IDE. CDK provides high-level components that preconfigure cloud resources with proven defaults, so you can build cloud applications without needing to be an expert. Learn more about AWS CDK.

Build serverless applications faster with the AWS Serverless Application Model (SAM), an open-source framework that provides shorthand syntax to express functions, APIs, databases, and event source mappings. With just a few lines per resource, you can define the application you want and model it using YAML. During deployment, SAM transforms and expands the SAM syntax into CloudFormation syntax. 

CloudFormation automates provisioning and updating your infrastructure in a safe and controlled manner. There are no manual steps or controls that can lead to errors. You can use Rollback Triggers to specify the CloudWatch alarms that CloudFormation should monitor during the stack creation and update process. If any of the alarms are triggered, CloudFormation rolls back the entire stack operation to a previously deployed state.

Using ChangeSets, you can preview the proposed changes that CloudFormation intends to make to your infrastructure and application resources prior to execution, so that your deployments go exactly as planned. CloudFormation determines the right operations to perform, provisions resources in the most efficient way possible, and rolls back automatically if errors are encountered. This returns the state of your infrastructure and application resources to the last known good state. Using Drift Detection, you can keep track of changes to resources outside CloudFormation, making sure you always have the most up-to-date picture of your infrastructure.

AWS CloudFormation Change Sets allow you to preview how proposed changes to a stack might affect your running resources, for example to check whether your changes will delete or replace any critical resources. CloudFormation makes the changes to your stack only after you decide to execute the Change Set. 

AWS CloudFormation automatically manages dependencies between your resources during stack management actions. You don’t need to worry about specifying the order in which resources are created, updated, or deleted; CloudFormation determines the correct sequence of actions to take for each resource when performing stack operations. 

AWS CloudFormation supports updating a stack from a CloudFormation template stored in a remote Git repository. With this feature, you will know if a stack deployment succeeded or failed, without having to navigate away from your remote repository, saving time by avoiding context switching.