AWS Cloud Operations & Migrations Blog

Your AWS CloudFormation guide to re:Invent 2018

There are less than two weeks left until re:Invent 2018. As in years past, AWS CloudFormation will be there, both behind the scenes deploying infrastructure and front-and-center for break-out sessions, workshops, and chalk talks.

Here are a few highlights we’ve pulled from the session catalog, followed by the full list of CloudFormation-focused sessions and workshops to help you plan your week in Las Vegas.

Breakout sessions

Breakout sessions are the traditional, 60-minute, lecture-style content format.


Workshops are two-hour, hands-on sessions where you work in teams to solve problems using AWS.

Chalk talks

Chalk talks are a highly interactive content format with a smaller audience. They begin with a 10–15-minute lecture delivered by an AWS expert, followed by a 45–50-minute Q&A session with the audience.

You can log in and reserve seats for any of these sessions now.

And finally, you can come chat with any of the Management Tools team at the AWS booth in the Expo Hall all week long.

See you at re:Invent!

COM401 Manage Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling Groups via AWS CloudFormation & Launch Templates

In this session, we focus on launch templates and their usage through Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling and AWS CloudFormation. Launch templates are designed to be an interactive, hands-on environment for anything you want to build. Learn about managing your Auto Scaling groups using launch templates.

DEV320 – Driving DevOps Transformation in Enterprises

In this session, learn how AWS is helping enterprises adopt the DevOps model and automation in their journey to the cloud. By using the DevOps principle to treat your infrastructure environments as code, you can automate and easily scale your lifecycle environments. Learn how services like AWS CloudFormation and AWS OpsWorks enable you to automate your instance provisioning and configurations as code, ensuring consistent, compliant, and scalable cloud infrastructure. Understand how OpsWorks is enabling enterprises to accelerate their migration to the cloud, leveraging popular tools like Chef or Puppet and their respective communities.

DEV321 What’s New With AWS CloudFormation

AWS CloudFormation is one of the most widely used tools in the AWS ecosystem, enabling infrastructure as code, deployment automation, repeatability, compliance and standardization. In this session, we cover the latest improvements and best practices for AWS CloudFormation customers in particular, and for seasoned infrastructure engineers in general. We cover new features and improvements that span many use cases, including programmability options, cross Region and cross account automation, operational safety, and additional integration with many other AWS services.

DEV326 – Building a DevOps Pipeline on AWS

In this workshop, we walk you through building your DevOps pipeline with AWS developer tools and AWS management tools. We leverage AWS CodePipeline to create a setup that enables us to automatically test and promote infrastructure changes to production. We use AWS CloudFormation for resource provisioning, AWS OpsWorks for Puppet Enterprise for on-instance configuration, and AWS OpsWorks for Puppet Enterprise and AWS Config for monitoring and compliance. With these tools, we create a fully automated pipeline to deploy, manage, and scale the AWS environment.

DEV329 Empower Lean Teams with Centrally Crafted CI/CD Pipelines Using AWS CodePipeline & AWS CloudFormation

In this one-hour session, you build a pipeline product that your lean teams can use to bring their application code, tests, and infrastructure to be vetted, executed, approved, and eventually published with AWS CloudFormation.

DEV308 Earn Your DevOps Black Belt: Deployment Scenarios with AWS CloudFormation

AWS CloudFormation, in combination with other tools for continuous integration and delivery pipelines, can help automate and standardize frequent deployments for many types of applications, from traditional compute and autoscaling groups to serverless applications. In this session, we will present several use cases combining CloudFormation with build and pipeline automation tools to achieve repeatable, consistent and compliant deployments without sacrificing agility.

DEV327 Beyond the Basics: Advanced Infra as Code Programming on AWS

In addition to the basic infrastructure as code capabilities provided by AWS CloudFormation, AWS now offers various programmability constructs to power complex provisioning use cases. In this talk, we present several advanced use cases of declarative, imperative, and mixed coding scenarios that cloud infrastructure developers can leverage. Examples include demonstrating how to create custom resources and leveraging transforms, like the AWS Serverless Application Model (AWS SAM), to create both simple and complex macros with AWS CloudFormation.

DEV368 Assembling an AWS CloudFormation Authoring Tool Chain

Developers live by their tools. In this chalk talk, we build an AWS CloudFormation template authoring environment by reviewing various IDEs, validation plugins, source control, and testing tools in order to improve your productivity.

DEV417 Build AWS CloudFormation Custom Resources

Custom resources enable AWS CloudFormation customers to write customized provisioning logic in templates. Such logic can be useful in changing how existing resources get created, changed, or deleted, or in including resources that are not available as supported resource types. In this session, we cover best practices, including when to use custom resources versus other programmatic alternatives. We also cover existing custom resources that are available for download and reuse.

DEV343 Improve Consistency & Governance in Cross-Account & Global Deployments

AWS CloudFormation StackSets was introduced in 2017 as a native way to deploy stacks across accounts and Regions. Since its introduction, StackSets customers have been driving more enhancements, including supporting larger deployments and conditional parameters for safe, partial deployments. These cross-account, cross-Region enhancements allow for implementation of better governance processes and improve the configuration consistency of your growing cloud resource footprint. This session covers deployment use cases made possible by leveraging AWS CloudFormation StackSets.

DEV341 Improve Your Security Posture with AWS CloudFormation

There are many ways to improve your security controls in AWS accounts. In this session, we’ll cover how to leverage guidelines from the Center of Internet Security (CIS), how to augment security checks, and how to build and secure AWS resources with additional tools. Armed with the information in this session, you will be able to harden new AWS accounts and implement security best practices from Day One.

DEV372 – Infrastructure Is Code with the AWS Cloud Development Kit

The AWS Cloud Development Kit (AWS CDK) is a new open-source framework from AWS that enables developers to harness the full power of modern programming languages to define reusable cloud components and applications and provision them through AWS CloudFormation. The AWS CDK is shipped with a rich class library that encapsulates the details-defining infrastructure on AWS and enables you to focus on your application. In this session, we discuss why we decided to build the AWS CDK; we describe some of the high-level concepts; and we write some code on stage to demonstrate why we think the AWS CDK is going to be your best friend.

DEV418 Programming Dynamic AWS CloudFormation Templates

This workshop focuses on AWS CloudFormation code transformation options, which enables infrastructure-as-code programmers to make dynamic templates. Labs include different ways to inject code snippets, add utility functions, and perform code substitutions using various methods. We also cover strategies to debug, troubleshoot, and test your code, considering that the transformations will cause late-bound template changes. This is a code-centric session, so a laptop is required for all participants.

DEV335 Hands-On with Advanced AWS CloudFormation Techniques and New Features

You’ve written templates for AWS CloudFormation, and now it’s time to move to the next level. In this workshop, we explore advanced AWS CloudFormation functionality to help you improve your authoring skills for complex templates. Learn how to use AWS CloudFormation mappings and constraints, StackSets, and two new recently released features to increase your infrastructure automation efficiency, while simultaneously addressing business requirements, such as configuration drift. A laptop is required for all participants.

NET207 Using AWS CloudFormation to Manage Networking in AWS

In this session, learn how to deploy a complete networking environment on AWS using AWS CloudFormation. By the end of this session, you will be confident in managing your infrastructure as code. Bring your laptops.

About the Author

Chuck Meyer is a Senior Developer Advocate for AWS CloudFormation based in Columbus, Ohio. He spends time working with both external and internal customers to constantly improve the developer experience for AWS CloudFormation users. He’s a live music true believer and spends as much time as possible playing bass and watching bands. He also does the tweets (@chuckm).