AWS CloudFormation vs AWS Elastic Beanstalk

AWS CloudFormation

1.2K
924
+ 1
85
AWS Elastic Beanstalk

1.8K
1.5K
+ 1
240
Add tool

AWS CloudFormation vs AWS Elastic Beanstalk: What are the differences?

AWS CloudFormation: Create and manage a collection of related AWS resources. 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 Elastic Beanstalk: Quickly deploy and manage applications in the AWS cloud. Once you upload your application, Elastic Beanstalk automatically handles the deployment details of capacity provisioning, load balancing, auto-scaling, and application health monitoring.

AWS CloudFormation belongs to "Infrastructure Build Tools" category of the tech stack, while AWS Elastic Beanstalk can be primarily classified under "Platform as a Service".

Some of the features offered by AWS CloudFormation are:

  • 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.

On the other hand, AWS Elastic Beanstalk provides the following key features:

  • Elastic Beanstalk is built using familiar software stacks such as the Apache HTTP Server for Node.js, PHP and Python, Passenger for Ruby, IIS 7.5 for .NET, and Apache Tomcat for Java
  • There is no additional charge for Elastic Beanstalk - you pay only for the AWS resources needed to store and run your applications.
  • Easy to begin – Elastic Beanstalk is a quick and simple way to deploy your application to AWS. You simply use the AWS Management Console, Git deployment, or an integrated development environment (IDE) such as Eclipse or Visual Studio to upload your application

"Automates infrastructure deployments" is the primary reason why developers consider AWS CloudFormation over the competitors, whereas "Integrates with other aws services" was stated as the key factor in picking AWS Elastic Beanstalk.

Sellsuki, Close, and Edify are some of the popular companies that use AWS Elastic Beanstalk, whereas AWS CloudFormation is used by Expedia.com, Redox Engine, and TimeHop. AWS Elastic Beanstalk has a broader approval, being mentioned in 374 company stacks & 118 developers stacks; compared to AWS CloudFormation, which is listed in 197 company stacks and 77 developer stacks.

Decisions about AWS CloudFormation and AWS Elastic Beanstalk

Because Pulumi uses real programming languages, you can actually write abstractions for your infrastructure code, which is incredibly empowering. You still 'describe' your desired state, but by having a programming language at your fingers, you can factor out patterns, and package it up for easier consumption.

See more
Sergey Ivanov
Overview

We use Terraform to manage AWS cloud environment for the project. It is pretty complex, largely static, security-focused, and constantly evolving.

Terraform provides descriptive (declarative) way of defining the target configuration, where it can work out the dependencies between configuration elements and apply differences without re-provisioning the entire cloud stack.

Advantages

Terraform is vendor-neutral in a way that it is using a common configuration language (HCL) with plugins (providers) for multiple cloud and service providers.

Terraform keeps track of the previous state of the deployment and applies incremental changes, resulting in faster deployment times.

Terraform allows us to share reusable modules between projects. We have built an impressive library of modules internally, which makes it very easy to assemble a new project from pre-fabricated building blocks.

Disadvantages

Software is imperfect, and Terraform is no exception. Occasionally we hit annoying bugs that we have to work around. The interaction with any underlying APIs is encapsulated inside 3rd party Terraform providers, and any bug fixes or new features require a provider release. Some providers have very poor coverage of the underlying APIs.

Terraform is not great for managing highly dynamic parts of cloud environments. That part is better delegated to other tools or scripts.

Terraform state may go out of sync with the target environment or with the source configuration, which often results in painful reconciliation.

See more

I personally am not a huge fan of vendor lock in for multiple reasons:

  • I've seen cost saving moves to the cloud end up costing a fortune and trapping companies due to over utilization of cloud specific features.
  • I've seen S3 failures nearly take down half the internet.
  • I've seen companies get stuck in the cloud because they aren't built cloud agnostic.

I choose to use terraform for my cloud provisioning for these reasons:

  • It's cloud agnostic so I can use it no matter where I am.
  • It isn't difficult to use and uses a relatively easy to read language.
  • It tests infrastructure before running it, and enables me to see and keep changes up to date.
  • It runs from the same CLI I do most of my CM work from.
See more
Pros of AWS CloudFormation
Pros of AWS Elastic Beanstalk

Sign up to add or upvote prosMake informed product decisions

Cons of AWS CloudFormation
Cons of AWS Elastic Beanstalk

Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

No Stats

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.

What is 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.
What companies use AWS CloudFormation?
What companies use AWS Elastic Beanstalk?

Sign up to get full access to all the companiesMake informed product decisions

What tools integrate with AWS CloudFormation?
What tools integrate with AWS Elastic Beanstalk?

Sign up to get full access to all the tool integrationsMake informed product decisions

What are some alternatives to AWS CloudFormation and AWS Elastic Beanstalk?
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
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.
Terraform
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 Config
AWS Config is a fully managed service that provides you with an AWS resource inventory, configuration history, and configuration change notifications to enable security and governance. With AWS Config you can discover existing AWS resources, export a complete inventory of your AWS resources with all configuration details, and determine how a resource was configured at any point in time. These capabilities enable compliance auditing, security analysis, resource change tracking, and troubleshooting.
Azure Resource Manager
It is the deployment and management service for Azure. It provides a management layer that enables you to create, update, and delete resources in your Azure subscription. You use management features, like access control, locks, and tags, to secure and organize your resources after deployment.
See all alternatives
Interest over time
News about AWS CloudFormation
More news