AWS CloudFormation vs Azure Resource Manager

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AWS CloudFormation vs Azure Resource Manager: What are the differences?

Developers describe AWS CloudFormation as "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. On the other hand, Azure Resource Manager is detailed as "* A management framework that allows administrators to deploy, manage and monitor Azure resources*". It also allows administrators to apply access controls to all services in a resource group with role-based access control (RBAC), which is integrated into ARM.

AWS CloudFormation and Azure Resource Manager can be categorized as "Infrastructure Build" tools.

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, Azure Resource Manager provides the following key features:

  • Deploy app resources
  • Organize resources
  • Control access to resources

Azure Resource Manager is an open source tool with 63 GitHub stars and 46 GitHub forks. Here's a link to Azure Resource Manager's open source repository on GitHub.

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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 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.
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      What are some alternatives to AWS CloudFormation and Azure Resource Manager?
      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 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.
      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.
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      Decisions about AWS CloudFormation and Azure Resource Manager
      Joseph Kunzler
      Joseph Kunzler
      DevOps Engineer at Tillable · | 9 upvotes · 53.8K views
      atTillableTillable
      Amazon S3
      Amazon S3
      Amazon EC2
      Amazon EC2
      AWS Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)
      AWS Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)
      AWS CloudFormation
      AWS CloudFormation
      Terraform
      Terraform

      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.

      See more
      Terraform
      Terraform
      Google Cloud Deployment Manager
      Google Cloud Deployment Manager
      AWS CloudFormation
      AWS CloudFormation

      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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      Interest over time
      Reviews of AWS CloudFormation and Azure Resource Manager
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      How developers use AWS CloudFormation and Azure Resource Manager
      Avatar of CloudRepo
      CloudRepo uses AWS CloudFormationAWS CloudFormation

      Manually clicking around the AWS UI or scripting AWS CLI calls can be both a slow and brittle process.

      We needed to be able to reconstruct CloudRepo's infrastructure in case of disaster or moving to another AWS Region.

      Setting up our infrastructure with CloudFormation allows us to update it easily as well as duplicate or recreate things when the need arises.

      Avatar of Opstax Ltd
      Opstax Ltd uses AWS CloudFormationAWS CloudFormation

      Opstax uses CloudFormation for anything infrastructure related! CloudFormation allows us to use infrastructure-as-code as a constant blueprint/map of our environment. It means we can accurately and efficiently deploy replicated or new infrastructure with no time wasted clicking around and no human error.

      Avatar of Flux Work
      Flux Work uses AWS CloudFormationAWS CloudFormation

      Manage infrastructure as codes. Native AWS solution so it has better support to AWS resources than Terraform, also can leverage AWS Business Support.

      Avatar of Endource
      Endource uses AWS CloudFormationAWS CloudFormation

      Manages the infrastructure for core website

      Avatar of Patty R
      Patty R uses AWS CloudFormationAWS CloudFormation

      Deploys and maintains the infrastructure.

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