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AWS CloudFormation OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

AWS CloudFormation is #15 ranked solution in top Configuration Management tools. PeerSpot users give AWS CloudFormation an average rating of 8.2 out of 10. AWS CloudFormation is most commonly compared to Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform: AWS CloudFormation vs Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform. AWS CloudFormation is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 66% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a comms service provider, accounting for 27% of all views.
Buyer's Guide

Download the Configuration Management Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: July 2022

What is AWS CloudFormation?

AWS CloudFormation provides a common language for you to model and provision AWS and third party application resources in your cloud environment. AWS CloudFormation allows you to use programming languages or a simple text file to model and provision, in an automated and secure manner, all the resources needed for your applications across all regions and accounts. This gives you a single source of truth for your AWS and third party resources.

AWS CloudFormation was previously known as CloudFormation.

AWS CloudFormation Customers
Nextdoor, Coinbase, Expedia
AWS CloudFormation Video

AWS CloudFormation Pricing Advice

What users are saying about AWS CloudFormation pricing:
"AWS CloudFormation doesn't have any cost because it's only the resources that you deploy with the solution that'll incur costs."

AWS CloudFormation Reviews

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Principal with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 10
A stable fallback Infrastructure Automation solution that would be nice to have beyond AWS
Pros and Cons
  • "The nested stacks would be one of the more valuable features."
  • "As soon as they manage to parametrize the whole thing and to implement parameters at all levels, it will become automatically a lot more flexible."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for deploying all the Infrastructure: VPCs, EC2 instances, storage solutions, most managed services. Providing IAM configuration, providing group account configurations, role management within IAM.

CloudFormation is THE Infrastructure as Code (IaC) solution AWS recommends.

Almost everything should, according to AWS, be automated and managed using CloudFormation - whenever possible. 

Within our organization, mostly the DevOps engineers use AWS CloudFormation — around 42 of them.

How has it helped my organization?

I don't really care how my organisation is functioning; I care about the way that my client's organisation functions. That's what I'm after. We host workshops teaching people the DevOps transformation process, how to do infrastructure automation — almost everything. 

Of course we do the same internally, but our internal needs and use-cases don't, even, come close to our Clients'.

What is most valuable?

First off, It's fairly easy to work with, although a bit verbose. It is legible. You can understand what you're doing. The introduction of "nested stacks" allows a modular design and repeatable  structures. The nested stacks would be one of the more valuable features. I am waiting for them to become much better with parameters as this is not quite up there.

What needs improvement?

The one bit of a drawback is that CloudFormation is, only, available in AWS.

When I have to work on other clouds or somebody has a configuration to be done on-prem Data Center, there's no way for me to use it.

It is what it is, AWS does not apparently intend to make this available all over.

The three big players in this area are Ansible, Terraform, and CloudFormation — except CloudFormation can only be used on AWS !

I would like to see less verbosity and better isolation.

One area that may be improved would be using variables as parameters in templates. This would make it a lot more flexible.

I don't know how soon that's going to happen because I'm trying to think from a developer's point of view - the guys that actually have to write and support all these features that I dream about.

Frankly, to evolve it but also maintain compatibility with what's in place now, may be a serious challenge.

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July 2022
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For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using AWS CloudFormation for just over one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's definitely stable. If it's not a long-running service, and this one's not, it's very easy to verify that you've got it where you want it. 

Just run a deployment, then it's very easy to look at the configuration and see exactly what came out. The easiest verification is the intuitive visual check-out.

There are ways to test around in the sense that you're not forced to use CloudFormation to see that it's correct. You can literally, visually inspect the configurations with the console and other means not using CloudFormation. There's always a way to verify, and the fact that you have a verification method available is convenient.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

If you want to deploy thousands of components - not only virtual machines, but, also, users, roles and services, in any of the AWS regions — it's not a problem.

How are customer service and support?

Frankly, I never had a problem, with AWS CloudFormation, per se.

Something advertised that doesn't work and to require support, that actually has never happened.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I did use another solution, which is Ansible, but I didn't switch. I'm still using Ansible as a backup for those cases where CloudFormation does not cover. Also, outside AWS, where CloudFormation is not available.

How was the initial setup?

CloudFormation is setup by AWS by default. It's easy and it doesn't require you to do anything.

When you create your infrastructure, there is no need for you to deploy anything like agents; everything is already in there.

It's very convenient in the sense that you don't need to worry about updating, upgrading, patching or monitoring for liabilities. AWS takes care of all of that.

What other advice do I have?

There's probably a lot of people that are trying to work around it. Or, to avoid it. My advice would be: use it when Amazon says so because it's probably the most straightforward approach to your problem. Afterwards, then you can become creative, for it's worth putting in the effort.

On a scale from one to ten, I would give this solution a rating of seven.

That rating would, definitely, be higher if CloudFormation would be made available on other platforms, outside Amazon.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Consulting Partner
PeerSpot user
Cloud Site Reliability Engineer and SecOps Lead at a wellness & fitness company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 10
A stable solution with good ability to treat infrastructure's code and makes things automatable and reproducible
Pros and Cons
  • "Its ability to treat infrastructure's code is valuable. It makes things automatable and reproducible."
  • "CloudFormation is not particularly good at handling cross-account dynamic references. If you try to refer to an object that CloudFormation has created in a separate AWS account, it tends to fall apart. That's because it is a byproduct of the multi-tenant configuration. This is the most glaring shortcoming in my perspective because you can't dynamically reference objects in other accounts that CloudFormation has created, but it is not a shortcoming that you can't overcome. This is the only pain point that I've come across that didn't have a workaround natively. Sometimes the confirmation is slow, and it could be faster. The downside to CloudFormation when you're fully embracing it is that the AWS services do not get released immediately fully CloudFormation enabled. If you need to use the latest AWS service that just got announced or reinvented, you're not going to be able to continue with CloudFormation for the first X number of months. This is because they develop the products separately, and then they hand it to the CloudFormation team, which later on develops a CloudFormation integration. So, if you need to be on the newest thing AWS has, CloudFormation is often going to be a constraint that prevents you from doing that."

What is our primary use case?

CloudFormation drives most of our AWS configuration. It is the configuration engine for our whole footprint. Literally, everything that we configure in AWS is configured in CloudFormation. We are using its latest version.

What is most valuable?

Its ability to treat infrastructure's code is valuable. It makes things automatable and reproducible.

What needs improvement?

CloudFormation is not particularly good at handling cross-account dynamic references. If you try to refer to an object that CloudFormation has created in a separate AWS account, it tends to fall apart. That's because it is a byproduct of the multi-tenant configuration. This is the most glaring shortcoming in my perspective because you can't dynamically reference objects in other accounts that CloudFormation has created, but it is not a shortcoming that you can't overcome. This is the only pain point that I've come across that didn't have a workaround natively. Sometimes the confirmation is slow, and it could be faster.

The downside to CloudFormation when you're fully embracing it is that the AWS services do not get released immediately fully CloudFormation enabled. If you need to use the latest AWS service that just got announced or reinvented, you're not going to be able to continue with CloudFormation for the first X number of months. This is because they develop the products separately, and then they hand it to the CloudFormation team, which later on develops a CloudFormation integration. So, if you need to be on the newest thing AWS has, CloudFormation is often going to be a constraint that prevents you from doing that.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable. Crashing is not really a concern. There are edge conditions that probably started off as bugs, but they're pretty well understood. There isn't an issue related to stability, reliability, or anything like that. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It scales as well as AWS does. Scaling is not a consideration in CloudFormation. You scale the things that feed your templates. In the end, you let AWS itself handle the scaling. Therefore, CloudFormation itself is not under scaling considerations.

Our users of this solution are software engineers, DevOps engineers, and SecOps engineers.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their tech support is very good at addressing failures. I would rate them an eight out of ten.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have used other solutions but not in AWS. To solve this problem, CloudFormation is the only thing I've used in AWS.

How was the initial setup?

It all depends on how much you're trying to do with it. The more you're trying to do with it, the more initial load you have to do. If you're just trying to retrieve a single object, you just write a confirmation template to load it up in there. There's nothing else to be done.

It is very quick and almost instant to bootstrap from nothing. I have a confirmation template that does it for me, but obviously, in AWS, doing a thing is not all you do. You do many things layered on top of each other. To get to something truly functional takes some time, but I would say it is pretty quick.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate AWS CloudFormation an eight out of ten. It does what it is supposed to do, but there are certainly ways in which it could be extended, and there are certain ways using which it could be integrated earlier into their release cycle.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Buyer's Guide
Configuration Management
July 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about Amazon, Red Hat, Chef and others in Configuration Management. Updated: July 2022.
622,645 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Sunil Pichamuthu - PeerSpot reviewer
Cloud Competency Manager at Sonata information Technology Limited
Real User
Easy to configure; has good stability and performance
Pros and Cons
  • "What I found most valuable in AWS CloudFormation is its configurability. The solution is easy to configure. I also like its change management configuration because that's also good."
  • "What could be improved in AWS CloudFormation is its user interface, in terms of graphical design, I prefer WYSIWYG."

What is our primary use case?

AWS CloudFormation is being used for landing zone creation and DR purposes.

What is most valuable?

What I found most valuable in AWS CloudFormation is its configurability. The solution is easy to configure. I also like its change management configuration because that's also good.

What needs improvement?

What could be improved in AWS CloudFormation is its user interface, in terms of graphical design, I prefer WYSIWYG.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been working with AWS CloudFormation for several years now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

AWS CloudFormation has good stability and performance.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

AWS CloudFormation is a scalable product.

How are customer service and support?

The technical support for AWS CloudFormation is always good and fast. I would rate it five out of five.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup for AWS CloudFormation was easy.

What about the implementation team?

We had some support from Amazon for the deployment of AWS CloudFormation. The deployment took a day to complete.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

AWS CloudFormation doesn't have any cost because it's only the resources that you deploy with the solution that'll incur costs.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We didn't evaluate other options. AWS CloudFormation is our first solution.

What other advice do I have?

I've been working with the latest version of AWS CloudFormation, as it's updated regularly.

My company deploys AWS CloudFormation for multiple customers, and I can't give an exact figure in terms of how many people use the solution.

My rating for AWS CloudFormation is ten out of ten.

My company is a partner of AWS CloudFormation, in particular, an advanced consulting partner.

My advice to new users of the solution is to go through the free online documentation and the video training on the AWS training site. This will help in evaluating and deploying AWS CloudFormation.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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PeerSpot user
VamsiMohan - PeerSpot reviewer
CTO at HUBER
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Resource management system that is straightforward to implement and scale

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for application hosting and utilize the caching mechanisms. 

What needs improvement?

The cost of licensing could be reduced. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for one year. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is a stable solution. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This is a scalable solution. 

How are customer service and support?

For the cost point of this solution, the customer service and support is quite good.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward and took approximately four weeks. 

What about the implementation team?

The implementation was completed by an external consultant. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?


What other advice do I have?

I would recommend the use of this solution. 

I would rate it an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Updated: July 2022
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Buyer's Guide
Download our free Configuration Management Report and find out what your peers are saying about Amazon, Red Hat, Chef, and more!