What is AWS CloudFormation?

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AWS CloudFormation is a service that helps you manage and model multiple AWS solutions, be it simple or complicated. CloudFormation is a crucial service because it manages multiple AWS resources and configures them as per your need, avoiding work overload.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers a wide range of cloud computing services and solutions - from storage solutions like S3 and Glacier to networking solutions like VPC and Route 53, AWS is your go-to cloud solution partner for any type of business. AWS also offers an intuitive solution for managing cloud-based solutions and infrastructure for the same, and this is the AWS CloudFormation.

aws cloudformation

Understanding AWS CloudFormation 

AWS CloudFormation is a cloud service offered by AWS through which you can provision and configure other complex AWS services using infrastructure as a code (IAC). AWS CloudFormation provisions and updates your existing AWS services by predicting patterns - it compares and configures one resource with the other, thus eliminating the need to do it manually, which can be very time-consuming.

The specialty of AWS is that you can manage a wide range of cloud services side by side, be it for storage, computing needs, or networking solutions. But sometimes, it gets tough to configure all of your AWS resources and services simultaneously. But AWS offers a service for making this task easy - AWS CloudFormation.

Basic Concepts in AWS CloudFormation

This section describes how to use an AWS CloudFormation template - there are 9 main objects in the template that you have to be familiar with. This template will be in JSON or YAML language.

Format Version

Format version defines the version and capability of your template. It describes your cloud formation infrastructure.


In the description of the template, you can mention any extra comments that add more to the template.


Metadata is used along with YAML or JSON objects - this is used for adding more information using objects.


Updating and customizing templates is done using parameters. Parameters come in handy when you want to create or edit stacks with custom or dynamic values.


Mapping is the process where you connect certain keys to the values associated with them. These values are specified in conditional parameters.


Conditions can be used for multiple purposes; mainly, they define whether or not certain resources are created, or when resource properties are assigned during stack updation to a value. Conditions are also used for reusing templates in different operations or contexts.


By creating a simple, declarative language, transform helps reuse template components. Within a template, you can declare multiple transform functions if you want.


This is the part where you mention the other AWS resources that you want in your stack. It can include services like Amazon S3 Bucket, EC2 instance, etc.


The output is the value generated when in your cloud formation stack properties. You can import these values into other stacks.

How AWS CloudFormation Works

With AWS CloudFormation, you can create, update, and delete resources and services in your AWS account. CloudFormation templates reduce time-consuming tasks and configure them to avoid manually managing and updating your resources

One thing to notice is that AWS CloudFormation can perform only those actions that you have permission to do so. For example, if you can create EC2 instances in your account, then AWS CloudFormation can do the same since you have permission. Automating the creation of several resources like S3 buckets, DynamoDB Tables, etc., is made easy with AWS CloudFormation. 

Based on the declarations you have defined in your templates, AWS CloudFormation makes underlying calls to several resources in AWS. By adding all the resources required, a stack is made. Once the service reports that stack is made, you can start working with the AWS resources and services.

Commands For AWS CloudFormation

1: Create a Stack

aws cloudformation create-stack --stack-name my-stack --template-body file://template.yaml

2: Update a Stack

aws cloudformation update-stack --stack-name my-stack --template-body file://template.yaml 

3: Delete a Stack

aws cloudformation delete-stack --stack-name my-stack

4: Describe a Stack

aws cloudformation describe-stacks --stack-name my-stack
aws cloudformation create-stack
Creates a new CloudFormation stack using a template and specified parameters.
aws cloudformation delete-stack
Deletes an existing CloudFormation stack.
aws cloudformation update-stack
Updates an existing CloudFormation stack with changes to the template or parameters.
aws cloudformation describe-stacks
Retrieves information about one or more CloudFormation stacks, including their status, resources, and outputs.
aws cloudformation list-stacks
Lists all CloudFormation stacks in the current AWS account.
aws cloudformation describe-stack-events
Get events related to a specific CloudFormation stack, such as stack creation, update, or deletion events.
aws cloudformation describe-stack-resources
Lists all resources associated with a specific CloudFormation stack, along with their physical IDs, logical IDs, and resource types.
aws cloudformation validate-template
Validates the syntax of a CloudFormation template without creating a stack.
aws cloudformation deploy
Deploys a CloudFormation stack or changesets using a template and specified parameters.
aws cloudformation create-change-set
Creates a changeset for a CloudFormation stack, allowing you to preview proposed changes before executing updates.
aws cloudformation execute-change-set
Executes a changeset to apply changes to a CloudFormation stack.
aws cloudformation delete-change-set
Deletes a changeset for a CloudFormation stack.
aws cloudformation list-change-sets
Lists all changesets for a CloudFormation stack.
aws cloudformation list-stack-resources
Lists the logical IDs of resources that are associated with a specific CloudFormation stack.
aws cloudformation estimate-template-cost
Estimates the cost of deploying a CloudFormation template.
aws cloudformation describe-type
Retrieves information about an AWS CloudFormation extension type, including its schema and publisher.
aws cloudformation list-types
Lists all CloudFormation extension types that are registered with your account.
aws cloudformation describe-type-registration
Describes the current registration status for an extension type.
aws cloudformation register-type
Registers an extension type with CloudFormation.
aws cloudformation deregister-type
Deregisters an extension type with CloudFormation.
aws cloudformation describe-account-limits
Retrieves information about the CloudFormation limits for the AWS account.
aws cloudformation describe-change-set
Returns the inputs for the change set and a list of changes that AWS CloudFormation will make if you execute the change set.

Benefits of AWS CloudFormation

The best way to manage all of your Amazon Web Services resources and solutions effortlessly is through AWS CloudFormation. Here are some benefits offered by the service:

Less Time, Better Resource Management 

AWS CloudFormation is a one-stop cloud management service for all of your AWS services. Be it working with an existing template, or creating your own template, you can configure the service just the way you want to configure all of your AWS resources under one roof.

Easy Scaling 

Templates are very handy in CloudFormation - you can transform a template by adding more commands whenever needed. Scaling up and down based on demand is easier across solutions with CloudFormation.

Consistency in Approach

Deploying AWS resources using templates means that the same configuration is applied across different services. This way, CloudFormation can help you keep your services and applications consistent, even when you create and update your templates.

Better Security

If you have clearly defined your templates and built them strong enough, CloudFormation can offer you security across services. A well-defined, robust template can reduce any chances for intrusions in the configuration of resources.

Use Cases with AWS CloudFormation

Here are some example use cases of AWS CloudFormation:

To provision infrastructure, by performing multiple times to get the exact copies across different environments.

Autoscaling environments are made easy with CloudFormation - depending on the load, the service will scale up and down as needed.

AWS CloudFormation can be also deployed in multiple environments - this can be helpful in case of emergencies.

Conclusion - AWS CloudFormation

AWS offers multiple cloud services and solutions that can improve and enhance your business. Configuring all the cloud services as per your needs is easy with the AWS cloud formation service called AWS CloudFormation. This service makes it easy to manage and provision all your AWS solutions under one roof. By creating and editing the templates as needed, you can configure the resources just like you need them. AWS CloudFormation reduces the complexity of managing resources and reduces time-consuming practices. The service is also very efficient and effective when it comes to automating services and scaling them as per your incoming traffic and load.

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