AWS CloudFormation: Overview, Features, Components and more

AWS CloudFormation is a part of AWS service that utilizes template files for automating the overall setup of AWS resources. Furthermore, AWS CloudFormation can be described as infrastructure automation AWS CloudFormation and also as a cloud automation system as it is capable of automating the overall setup and deployment of different Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offerings available on the AWS.

Furthermore, CloudFormation can be used for automating the configuration of workloads that run on the most renowned AWS services, such as, the EC2 compute service, the S3 storage service, and the IAM service for configuring access control. Also, CloudFormation templates can be applied to AWS services that are used for niche use cases like the AWS satellite management solution. Generally, for AWS-based services, ClodFormation can be used for automating its configuration and deployment.

Features of AWS CloudFormation

Some of the key features of AWS CloudFormation are:

  • Extensibility: With the help of AWS CloudFormation Registry, one can easily model and provision third party resources and modules published by AWS Partner Network (APN) partners and developers. By using AWS CloudFormation CLI, one can easily build their own resource providers given it is an open-source tool that helps in streamlining the development process, including the local testing process and code generation capacity.
  • Managing Cross Account & Cross-region: CloudFormation StackSets allow you to provision a common set of AWS resources across various accounts and regions, using a single CloudFormation template. StackSets further allows you to automatically provision, update and delete stacks too with high safety.
  • Authoring with JSON/YAML: CloudFormation lets you model your entire cloud environment in text files.
  • Authoring with programming languages you are familiar with: Using AWS Cloud Development Kit (AWS CDK), you can define your cloud environment utilizing TypeScript, Python, Java codes, and .NET.
  • Building serverless applications with SAM: One can build serverless applications faster utilizing AWS Serverless Application Model (SAM) which is an open-source framework that offers shorthand syntax for expressing APIs, functions, databases and even source mappings.
  • Safety controls: CloudFormation helps to automate provisioning as well as updating your infrastructure in a highly secure and controlled manner.
  • Preview modifications to your environment: AWS CloudFormation Change lets you preview how the proposed modifications to a stack might have an impact on your running resources.
  • Dependency management: AWS CloudFormation helps in automatically managing dependencies in between your resources while carrying stack management actions.

Components of AWS CloudFormation

AWS CloudFormation has several components, which are as described below:

  • Description: It allows you to provide arbitrary comments related to your template. It’s a JSON string with length ranging between 0 and 1024 bytes and its value can never be based on a parameter or function.
  • Mappings: It helps in matching a key to a corresponding set of named values. Mappings are mentioned in the ‘Mappings’ section, having every mapping separated by a comma.
  • Conditions: All the conditions are defined in the ‘Conditions section’ of a template with the help of intrinsic functions. By using these intrinsic functions, one can compare two values with each other. Based upon the result of a condition, one can create resources.
  • Resources: This section allows you to declare the AWS resources you would want as a part of your stack.
  • Properties: The properties section is declared for every resource just next to the Resource Type declaration.
  • Outputs: The template output section allows you to return one or additional values to the user in response to the AWS CloudFormation describe-stacks command.

AWS CloudFormation is a robust templating language that allows you to develop managed stacks of AWS resources along with a growing library of templates. We hope that through this article you will be able to gain a deeper understanding of AWS CloudFormation.

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