AWS CloudFormation Overview: Concepts, Benefits, Use Cases, Pricing, and More

AWS CloudFormation

AWS CloudFormation makes cloud infrastructure management easy by allowing users to build, edit, and delete AWS resources in a regulated and predictable manner.

Using CloudFormation, you can manage your whole AWS environment by developing templates that specify the AWS settings you want to use. The provisioning of new environments or updating existing ones may be accomplished with these templates’ help.

CloudFormation is a simple method to manage the resources you have in your AWS account. It may help you save time and money by automating your infrastructure’s administration.

Here’s everything we’ll cover in this blog post:

What is AWS CloudFormation?

AWS CloudFormation is a cloud service that takes care of the provisioning and configuring of your AWS resources after you create a template that outlines all the AWS resources you want, such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances or Amazon Relational Database (RDS DB) instances. CloudFormation determines what resources rely on what else, so you won’t have to manually generate and configure AWS resources one at a time.

Read on to find out how to utilize AWS CloudFormation templates to understanding CloudFormation principles and CloudFormation resources so you can begin automating best practices with infrastructure as code.

AWS CloudFormation Concepts

The following 10 features make up the core of AWS CloudFormation Concepts.

AWS CloudFormation Stacks

This is the collection of resources that you have outlined within the template that you are using. When employed in a stack, each resource may be handled and analyzed as a single entity, including the status of the resources and dependencies on other resources.

Change Sets

If you have created a deployment with CloudFormation and want to make changes to it, you may do so by updating the template used to build the deployment. After that, you can construct a change set that will summarize the changes that the revised template will apply before you make the change.

AWS CloudFormation Parameters

Using AWS CloudFormation parameters, you may customize the settings applied to each deployment specifically to meet your needs. You can provide individualized values for each AWS CloudFormation deployment using parameters, and Cloud formation will apply these values dynamically.

AWS CloudFormation Stack Set

A stack set is a collection of individual stacks or resources that are organized according to a template and can be managed together as a single entity and can mimic a group in AWS.

AWS CloudFormation Templates

This is a declarative code file written in either YAML or JSON. It contains all of the data in text form that outlines the resources that will be utilized to launch any application that may be chosen.

You may use any text editing tool or AWS CloudFormation designer to create, view, and alter templates.


You can map keys to a corresponding named value using mappings, and you may specify this value in a dependent parameter. At the same time, you can get discounts from a map with the assistance of the intrinsic function “Fn::FindInMap.”


A condition is a statement that can be made within an Amazon Web Services (AWS) template to determine whether or not particular resources are produced or when resource attributes are assigned to a value during stack generation or updating.

You might utilize conditions when you want to reuse templates by developing resources for various scenarios and can define specific requirements while using intrinsic functions.

Whenever a stack is created using a template, each of the conditions contained in the template is examined and assessed. Creating any resources connected to a state that evaluates as true occurs automatically, while the invalid needs are disregarded.


The AWS CloudFormation template components may be reused thanks to Transform, creating a simple declarative language for using CloudFormation. Within a single template, you have the option to specify a single transform or several transformations utilizing this section.


Using this section, you can define the AWS resource you wish to build and specify in the stack. For example, you want to construct an Amazon S3 bucket or an AWS Lambda.


The output part of a template is where the output values are described. These may be values that may be imported into other stacks, or they may be values that are returned when you inspect the attributes of your stack.

For instance, if you want to make it simpler to locate the name of an S3 bucket, you may specify an output and then use the “Description-stacks” command that is available through the AWS CloudFormation service.

How does AWS CloudFormation work?

AWS CloudFormation is a cloud management service that allows you to create, update, and delete resources in your AWS account. It uses templates to describe the structure of your AWS resources, and you can use these templates to provision and manage your resources.

You can also use CloudFormation to automate the creation of AWS resources, such as Amazon EC2 instances, Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) buckets, and Amazon DynamoDB tables. CloudFormation provides a declarative way (including the AWS CloudFormation CLI) to define your AWS resources and supports several programming languages you can use to determine your templates.


The AWS architecture that allows you to model and manage third-party and AWS resources are as follows:

  1. Code Infrastructure: Using the AWS CloudFormation template, you can code your infrastructure from scratch. 
  2. Amazon S3: You can check the template code locally, or even upload it to the S3 bucket. 
  3. AWS Cloudformation: You can command APIs or line tools by using AWS CloudFormation and create a stack. 
  4. Output: Output is generated based on the configures and provisions as specified by your resources and stacks. 

Benefits of AWS CloudFormation

If you’re looking for a way to simplify the provisioning and managing of your Amazon Web Services (AWS) resources, then AWS CloudFormation is worth checking out. Here are some of the benefits that CloudFormation can offer:

  1. Reduced time spent on resource management

With CloudFormation, you can create templates that specify all the AWS resources you need for your application. This means you don’t have to provision and configure each resource separately.

  1. Increased efficiency and consistency

Since everything is defined in templates, it’s easy to replicate environments or make changes across multiple resources at once. This can save you a lot of time and effort and help to keep your settings consistent.

  1. Infrastructure as code

CloudFormation allows you to treat your AWS infrastructure like any other code, which makes it much easier to manage versioning and changes.

  1. Improved collaboration and documentation

Since everything is defined in templates, it’s easy for other team members (or future you!) to understand what resources are needed and why. This can help in improving collaboration and make it easier to document your cloud infrastructure.

  1. Easy updates

Using CloudFormation templates, you may not only deploy new resources but also make modifications to resources that are already in existence. This capability makes adding extra storage to a fleet of EC2 instances or updating the access control rules more accessible.

  1. Auditing and change management

CloudFormation makes it easy to keep tabs on the infrastructure you’ve set up and how it evolves by keeping account of the templates you’ve used. CloudFormation’s built-in change-tracking features eliminate the need to sift through logs to piece together the history of modifications made to your AWS services and resources.

  1. Security

CloudFormation isn’t a security technology in and of itself, it may help make your AWS system more secure by lowering the likelihood of lapses in judgment that could lead to intrusions. If your CloudFormation templates are well-built, you won’t have to fear that an engineer deploying resources may fail to take precautions like enabling access control or leaving sensitive information open to unauthorized eyes.

Overall, AWS CloudFormation can save you time and effort in provisioning and managing your AWS resources.

AWS CloudFormation Best Practices

When developing templates for AWS CloudFormation, there are some best practices that you should adhere to ensure that your templates are legible, easily maintained, and simple to work with. You should follow these principles.

  • Liberal use of comments: When developing CloudFormation templates, one of the essential things you need to keep in mind is to make liberal use of comments. Comments can be used to give valuable reminders or directions for future template authors, in addition to helping to explain what a specific area of code is doing. 
  • Utilize clear names for your resources: Utilizing clear names for all of your resources and parameters is yet another recommended best practice. This makes your template easier to grasp and more convenient to deal with.
  • Package a reusable CloudFormation template: You may capture best practices for security, resilience, scalability, operational excellence, and cost optimization by packaging a reusable CloudFormation template into a single resource definition and then reusing that module across many infrastructure definitions.
  • Custom resource validation criteria: You can incorporate your custom resource validation criteria directly into the CloudFormation engine via hooks. Before continuing with the resource configuration, this grants you complete control, allowing you to check the settings and request the AWS API.
  • Use standards typical for JavaScript: while formatting the code for your template, it is recommended that you use the standards that are typical for JavaScript. This makes it easier to read and more manageable in the long run.

By adhering to these straightforward recommendations for best practices, you can ensure that the CloudFormation templates you create are simple to read, comprehend, and operate.

AWS CloudFormation Use Cases

AWS CloudFormation can help you provision and manage your AWS resources consistently and repeatedly. In this post, we’ll discuss some everyday use cases for CloudFormation.

  1. Infrastructure management with DevOps 

You can use AWS CloudFormation to test, automate, and deploy the infrastructure templates with delivery automation (CD/CI) and continuous integration. 

  1. Production stacks scaling 

AWS CloudFormation allows you to run anything be it a single file like Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) or some multi-region complex application. 

  1. Define subnets/services 

With AWS CloudFormation, you can define provisioning services like Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) or OpsWorks, or an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) subnet with ease. 

Learn more about AWS CloudFormation pricing to get a better idea. 

Learn AWS CloudFormation on Cloud Academy

Cloud Academy is one of the best places to start if you want to learn how to utilize AWS CloudFormation. You can learn all you need about using CloudFormation by enrolling in one of the courses available on Cloud Academy. The followings are some courses and labs that can help you learn the concepts and hands-on about AWS CloudFormation.

  1. Introduction to AWS CloudFormation
  2. Advanced use of AWS CloudFormation
  3. AWS CloudFormation Playground
  4. AWS CloudFormation stack update challenge

I hope this blog post helped you understand AWS CloudFormation’s aspects and features. If you have thoughts or questions, feel free to leave a comment or contact Cloud Academy.

Thanks and Happy Learning!

Cloud Academy