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What Is AWS CloudFormation



AWS CloudFormation is a service that helps you model and set up your AWS resources so that you can spend less time managing those resources and more time focusing on your applications that run in AWS. You create a template that describes all the AWS resources that you want (like Amazon EC2 instances or Amazon RDS DB instances), and CloudFormation takes care of provisioning and configuring those resources for you. You don't need to individually create and configure AWS resources and figure out what's dependent on what; CloudFormation handles that. The following scenarios demonstrate how CloudFormation can help.




What is AWS CloudFormation



In some cases, you might have underlying resources that you want to upgrade incrementally. For example, you might change to a higher performing instance type in your Auto Scaling launch configuration so that you can reduce the maximum number of instances in your Auto Scaling group. If problems occur after you complete the update, you might need to roll back your infrastructure to the original settings. To do this manually, you not only have to remember which resources were changed, you also have to know what the original settings were.


When you provision your infrastructure with CloudFormation, the CloudFormation template describes exactly what resources are provisioned and their settings. Because these templates are text files, you simply track differences in your templates to track changes to your infrastructure, similar to the way developers control revisions to source code. For example, you can use a version control system with your templates so that you know exactly what changes were made, who made them, and when. If at any point you need to reverse changes to your infrastructure, you can use a previous version of your template.


One is to update the corresponding template, then immediately deploy the updated template using one of the deployment methods described above. This method is what AWS calls a direct update. It is the fastest but also the bluntest way to update your deployment. It does not provide a chance to view the impact of your intended changes before applying them.


There is no additional charge for using AWS CloudFormation with resource providers in the following namespaces: AWS::*, Alexa::*, and Custom::*. In this case, you pay for AWS resources (such as Amazon EC2 instances, Elastic Load Balancing load balancers, etc.) created using AWS CloudFormation just as if you had created them manually. You only pay for what you use, as you use it; there are no minimum fees and no required upfront commitments.


CloudFormation has two parts: templates and stacks. A template is a JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) text file. The file, which is declarative and not scripted, defines what AWS resources or non-AWS resources are required to run the application. For example, the template may declare that the application requires an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instance and an Identity and Access Management (IAM) policy.


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