What Is AWS Cloudformation And Its Benefits: Ultimate Guide

Do you think you know everything about What Is AWS Cloudformation and its benefits? If you don’t then read this AWS article to know all about it and its benefits.

In 1997 Nokia phones introduced the first built-in mobile application in the world. It was a widely known and played game called “Snake“. 25 years later, the world we live in has completely changed and turned on its head as now billions of apps exist.

Everything we do in our life we can do with an app, hence, AWS Cloudformation and its benefits have become an essential part of modern developers.

Era of AWS Cloudformation

Thanks to services like AWS Cloudformation from Amazon Web Services, we believe this has been the engineering force behind this progress.

If you are inexperienced in knowing what it is, then fret not because we will explain in great detail what AWS Cloudformation and its benefits are. So without any further ado, let’s begin with the basics.

What is AWS Cloudformation?

AWS Cloudformation, in its most basic form, is the blueprint on which every modern developer builds, maintains, implements, and customizes their application. It is the blank canvas from which you can begin your art and is also the brush that paints the art for you.

Benefits of AWS Cloudformation

  • You never have to do anything, as AWS Cloudformation does all the heavy lifting for you while you take a back seat and let it happen. You upload a document as code and tell it what to do, and it figures everything else out on its own and performs all the tasks for you to achieve the result required.
  • What makes AWS Cloudformation more remarkable is that it aborts the whole operation when it hits a hurdle. Then, it lets you know where the problem is by notifying you so you can review the code and make the changes required for it to work.
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Before we get into the benefits of AWS Cloudformation, we would like to highlight what exactly is in it. So what are the key concepts of AWS Cloudformation that this technology rests on?

AWS Cloudformation Key Concepts

AWS Cloudformation and its benefits that we dearly love can only perform their job thanks to the work its key concepts do. The following are the three key concepts of AWS Cloudformation:

1. Templates

A template is a document with the resources you want Cloudformation to implement. The text document of code tells the service what to do, why to do, where to do, and how to do it.

The best thing about these AWS Cloudformation templates is that they help the service precisely as they are told. If there is any discrepancy in the implementation, then Cloudformation reverts this to you so you can fix it.

2. Stacks

Stacks are the second key concept of AWS Cloudformation, and these are the logical groupings of your template and resources.

You set them up on an application level, and they allow you to implement the template information the way you want.

You can deploy them one by one, or deploy them all at once. There is no right or wrong way. It just depends on your need.

3. Changesets

The final key concept of AWS Cloudformation is changesets, and they provide you with a platform for your incremental update.

In non-specialists’ terms, changesets are the difference tellers of what your previous AWS Cloudformation upload was and what the changes you are trying to make currently are.

Conveniences AWS Cloudformation And Its Benefits Provide You

Now that you know what AWS Cloudformation is and the key concepts. So now we want to highlight the conveniences of AWS Cloudformation and the benefits it provides you:

1. Your Life Becomes A Lot Convenient With AWS Cloudformation

  • To explain the conveniences of AWS Cloudformation you need to indulge me in this example;
  • If you design a good enough application, your company will ask you to scale it to other regions.
  • Replication can take a lot out of you, and you better not make a mistake doing it as in that case, all your hard work will go in vain.
  • Hence, if you do not utilize the service of AWS Cloudformation, then your life could become a living hell, especially when it comes to designing and scaling your application because currently, all the heavy lifting is done by it.
  • They can replicate everything as many times as you want, providing you to scale your application for many regions.
  • Its alternative is to do everything yourself, and a single mistake can end up costing you a lot.
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2. Code Review Allows You Infrastructural Changes

  • Another convenience AWS Cloudformation and its benefits provide you is the ability to code review your infrastructural changes.
  • If your template is not working as directed, AWS Cloudformation tells you where the problem is.
  • By reviewing the code, you can fix it and make only necessary structural changes compared to going through the whole process.

3. You Can Easily Integrate It With CI Pipeline

The third major convenience AWS Cloudformation and its benefits provide you are that you can very easily integrate it with the CI pipeline. 

Doing this based on changes to your files will automatically deploy all your changes to the application.

4. The Ability To Easily Update Infrastructure

AWS Cloud formation has achieved and enjoyed the status it currently does because of the flexibility it provides you.

One of its significant benefits is that you can easily update a specific infrastructure through it as you, please.

5. Incredible And Vast Community Support

The last convenience AWS Cloudformation provides you is that it has large and incredible community support. Even if you are ever in trouble, you can find a solution to your every problem.

Cons AWS Cloudformation Have

Even though AWS Cloudformation is touted as a top-of-the-line service in its category, however, to be fair to it, we would like to highlight that it is not perfect. The following are the cons it has:

1. Steep Learning Curve

AWS Cloudformation is a challenging undertaking as you can’t just roll out of bed and expect to be an expert on it.

You need to invest time and effort in it to learn the basics, so you can learn to use it expertly with time.

2. Minor Changes Can Offset The Whole Infrastructure

The second con it has is that even minor changes can upset the whole infrastructure if you are a beginner.

Plus, solving that for a beginner is a nightmare which is why it is one of the most significant drawbacks of AWS Cloudformation.

3. Dreaded Drift Can Make Your Life Hell

According to us, the final con AWS Cloudformation possesses is that its drift can be painful. Drift is the update it showcases, and it only shows them when you upgrade it.

Companies That Use AWS Cloudformation

The following are the major companies that actively use AWS Cloudformation and its benefits to develop, support, and maintain their applications.

In what regions is AWS Cloudformation available?

As of April 2022, AWS Cloudformation is available in the following regions

US East (North Virginia)US West (Ohio)
US West (Oregon)US West (North California)
South America (Sao Paulo)EU (Ireland)
Asia Pacific (Singapore)Asia Pacific (Tokyo)
Asia Pacific (Sydney)Asia Pacific (Mumbai)

AWS cloudformation vs terraform

So, let’s talk about these two tools which do almost the same work but with a difference.

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AWS CloudformationHashicorp Terraform
IaC tool that can be used to deploy infrastructure only in the AWS ecosystem.Also, an IaC tool that can be used to deploy the infrastructure in any cloud environment.
If it’s for AWS, Cloudformation is a better choice, as it handles the dependencies very well.Terraform is not that good at handling dependencies but for multiple clouds, this is a good choice.
Supports JSON and YAML languageOnly supports Hashicorp Configuration Language which is similar to JSON.
As this is deployed in AWS as a service it maintains the state information there itself.Terraform maintains the information in a state file that is stored mostly in an S3 bucket and it compares the file with every deployment to update it.
Free, you will only pay for the resource you build upThis is also free but they also have an Enterprise edition, which is paid. With the pad version users get additional options and features.

AWS cloudFormation template example

Let’s check out a sample Cloudformtion code that will create an S3 bucket in the AWS environment.

CloudFormation For S3 Bucket

FAQs of What is AWS Cloudformation

Below we have answered some of AWS Cloudformation’s most prominent FAQs.

Q: What Is The Most Significant Benefit AWS Cloudformation Serves You?

According to us, making our life easier by doing all the heavy lifting is the most significant benefit AWS Cloudformation can serve us.

Q: How Can I use AWS Cloudformation?

You can start using AWS Cloudformation by going to the Amazon Web Services home page and creating a free AWS Cloudformation account.

Q: Does AWS Cloudformation Provide Sample Templates For Beginners?

Yes, AWS Cloudformation provides sample templates for beginners to test the service. Once they gain experience, they can start preparing their templates to work with.

Q: Can I expect help from the AWS Cloudformation community?

100% absolutely yes, you can expect help from the AWS Cloudformation community. Cloudformation is not a new concept hence experts in the domain exist, and they will be more than happy to assist you in solving your problem.

Q: Does AWS Cloudformation Offer A Free Tier?

Yes, AWS Cloudformation offer free tier. You only pay for what you use here, so you won’t have to pay if you are not saving data and generating snapshots.

Q: AWS cloudformation s3?

Cloudformation for deploying saves a copy of our template in an S3 bucket and the run the deployment from there using AWS Cloudformation.

Q: AWS cloudformation cli?

We can also trigger cloud formation from the local machine cli. For that, we have to first configure aws cli in the local machine.

Q: AWS cloudformation documentation?

We have tried to cover as many details about the cloud formation here, still, if you like to read more about it then refer to the AWS Documentation here.

Bottom Line on AWS Cloudformation And Its Benefits

AWS Cloudformation allows you to scale your business operation worldwide as, through it, you can manage and extend your operation with unrivaled convenience.

Hence it has become one of the most used services by application developers globally.

What do you think about What is AWS Cloudformation? Do you think is it worth the hype? Let us know in the comments section, what new you have learned in this AWS cloudformation tutorial?

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