What is AWS CloudFormation?

You can use AWS CloudFormation’s sample templates or create your own templates to describe the AWS resources, and any associated dependencies or runtime parameters, required to run your application. You don’t need to figure out the order in which AWS services need to be provisioned or the subtleties of how to make those dependencies work.
AWS CloudFormation is a tool in the Infrastructure Build Tools category of a tech stack.

Who uses AWS CloudFormation?

251 companies reportedly use AWS CloudFormation in their tech stacks, including Nubank, Expedia.com, and Accenture.

290 developers on StackShare have stated that they use AWS CloudFormation.

AWS CloudFormation Integrations

Splunk Cloud, Kocho, λ Gordon, Bellerophon, and troposphere are some of the popular tools that integrate with AWS CloudFormation. Here's a list of all 10 tools that integrate with AWS CloudFormation.

Why developers like AWS CloudFormation?

Here’s a list of reasons why companies and developers use AWS CloudFormation
AWS CloudFormation Reviews

Here are some stack decisions, common use cases and reviews by companies and developers who chose AWS CloudFormation in their tech stack.

Joseph Kunzler
Joseph Kunzler
DevOps Engineer at Tillable · | 9 upvotes · 13.2K views
AWS CloudFormation
AWS Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)
Amazon EC2
Amazon S3

We use Terraform because we needed a way to automate the process of building and deploying feature branches. We wanted to hide the complexity such that when a dev creates a PR, it triggers a build and deployment without the dev having to worry about any of the 'plumbing' going on behind the scenes. Terraform allows us to automate the process of provisioning DNS records, Amazon S3 buckets, Amazon EC2 instances and AWS Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)'s. It also makes it easy to tear it all down when finished. We also like that it supports multiple clouds, which is why we chose to use it over AWS CloudFormation.

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Glenn 'devalias' Grant
Glenn 'devalias' Grant
Hack. Dev. Transcend. · | 5 upvotes · 13.8K views
Amazon DynamoDB
AWS CloudFormation
AWS Lambda

Working on a project recently, wanted an easy modern frontend to work with, decoupled from our backend. To get things going quickly, decided to go with React, Redux.js, redux-saga, Bootstrap.

On the backend side, Go is a personal favourite, and wanted to minimize server overheads so went with a #serverless architecture leveraging AWS Lambda, AWS CloudFormation, Amazon DynamoDB, etc.

For IDE/tooling I tend to stick to the #JetBrains tools: WebStorm / Goland.

Obviously using Git, with GitLab private repo's for managing code/issues/etc.

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AWS CloudFormation
Google Cloud Deployment Manager

I use Terraform because it hits the level of abstraction pocket of being high-level and flexible, and is agnostic to cloud platforms. Creating complex infrastructure components for a solution with a UI console is tedious to repeat. Using low-level APIs are usually specific to cloud platforms, and you still have to build your own tooling for deploying, state management, and destroying infrastructure.

However, Terraform is usually slower to implement new services compared to cloud-specific APIs. It's worth the trade-off though, especially if you're multi-cloud. I heard someone say, "We want to preference a cloud, not lock in to one." Terraform builds on that claim.

Terraform Google Cloud Deployment Manager AWS CloudFormation

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Joseph Kunzler
Joseph Kunzler
DevOps Engineer at Tillable · | 4 upvotes · 2.1K views
AWS CloudFormation

We use AWS CloudFormation because we needed a way to quickly and efficiently create & deploy lambda functions. We found two frameworks that work nicely as 'syntactic sugar' on top of CloudFormation - One of them being AWS SAM, and the other being Serverless Framework. We currently use the Serverless Framework because of it's multi-cloud capabilities.

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Amit Bhatnagar
Amit Bhatnagar
Chief Architect at Qrvey · | 3 upvotes · 4K views
AWS CodePipeline
AWS CloudFormation
Amazon Elasticsearch Service
AWS Fargate
Amazon DynamoDB

At Qrvey we moved from a SaaS application running in AWS to a deployed model where we would deploy the complete infrastructure and code to a customer's AWS account. This created a unique challenge as we were Cloud Native and hence were using a lot of AWS Services like Amazon DynamoDB, AWS Fargate , Amazon Elasticsearch Service, etc. We decided to first build AWS CloudFormation templates to convert all our infrastructure into code. Then created a AWS CloudFormation template that would first generate a AWS CodePipeline into a customer's AWS account. This pipeline would then deploy our Infrastructure AWS CloudFormation template and the code on that Infrastructure. This simplified and completely automated our upgrade process as well.

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Lead Software Engineer · | 2 upvotes · 2.9K views
atVolta IndustriesVolta Industries
AWS CloudFormation
AWS Lambda
AWS CodeBuild
AWS CodePipeline

At Volta we use AWS CodePipeline and AWS CodeBuild to automatically ship new AWS Lambda services without any effort. And we do it all with AWS CloudFormation, since configuration is easier to maintain than code.

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AWS CloudFormation's Features

  • AWS CloudFormation comes with the following ready-to-run sample templates: WordPress (blog),Tracks (project tracking), Gollum (wiki used by GitHub), Drupal (content management), Joomla (content management), Insoshi (social apps), Redmine (project mgmt)
  • No Need to Reinvent the Wheel – A template can be used repeatedly to create identical copies of the same stack (or to use as a foundation to start a new stack)
  • Transparent and Open – Templates are simple JSON formatted text files that can be placed under your normal source control mechanisms, stored in private or public locations such as Amazon S3 and exchanged via email.
  • Declarative and Flexible – To create the infrastructure you want, you enumerate what AWS resources, configuration values and interconnections you need in a template and then let AWS CloudFormation do the rest with a few simple clicks in the AWS Management Console, via the command line tools or by calling the APIs.

AWS CloudFormation Alternatives & Comparisons

What are some alternatives to AWS CloudFormation?
AWS CodeDeploy
AWS CodeDeploy is a service that automates code deployments to Amazon EC2 instances. AWS CodeDeploy makes it easier for you to rapidly release new features, helps you avoid downtime during deployment, and handles the complexity of updating your applications.
Chef enables you to manage and scale cloud infrastructure with no downtime or interruptions. Freely move applications and configurations from one cloud to another. Chef is integrated with all major cloud providers including Amazon EC2, VMWare, IBM Smartcloud, Rackspace, OpenStack, Windows Azure, HP Cloud, Google Compute Engine, Joyent Cloud and others.
With Terraform, you describe your complete infrastructure as code, even as it spans multiple service providers. Your servers may come from AWS, your DNS may come from CloudFlare, and your database may come from Heroku. Terraform will build all these resources across all these providers in parallel.
AWS Elastic Beanstalk
Once you upload your application, Elastic Beanstalk automatically handles the deployment details of capacity provisioning, load balancing, auto-scaling, and application health monitoring.
Packer automates the creation of any type of machine image. It embraces modern configuration management by encouraging you to use automated scripts to install and configure the software within your Packer-made images.
See all alternatives

AWS CloudFormation's Followers
304 developers follow AWS CloudFormation to keep up with related blogs and decisions.
Jonas Pereira
Andreas Kleiber
Naresh Kancharla
nhut le
Michael Barrett
Kiranchang Kanagasekar
Marvin Schramm
Rui Silva
Vincent Aubé