AWS CloudFormation refers to a service which can help you install AWS resources in a way that allows you to spend much less time managing these resources. In other words, you get more time to focus on the applications you will run in the cloud. So, you can build a template which will define all the AWS resources which you need and this service will then look into provisioning these and configuring these on your behalf. This means that you will not have to create or configure the AWS resources separately.
How Can AWS CloudFormation Help You?
AWS CloudFormation will make infrastructure management much simpler for you. When you have scalable web applications you can use Auto Scaling, Elastic Load Balancer and Relational Database Service instances and for each, you will have to use these services individually for getting the resources. When resources have been provisioned you will then need to configure these so that they can work together. But this is time consuming and complex. Rather, you can modify a template in AWS CloudFormation which will describe all the resources and their features. So, this service will provision the load balancer, database and auto scaling group for you. When the stack is created the resources are active and you get to delete this stack easily too.
You can also replicate the infrastructure using AWS CloudFormation services. When your apps need more availability you may decide to get it replicated in multiple regions so that if it is unavailable in any one region, users can still get to access it in others. But to replicate apps, you must replicate resources and this is where CloudFormation can help you. You get to reuse the template repeatedly for setting up resources.
Sometimes there are underlying resources which you must upgrade instantly. When you have to do such tasks manually it may require you to roll back to the previous infrastructure in case something goes wrong. This requires you to remember the resources you had changed and also your original settings. But with CloudFormation from Amazon, this problem is resolved as the template will clearly define which resources had been used. These templates are text files and you may track the differences in them to monitor changes in the infrastructure.
Finally, the AWS CloudFormation can be obtained without any additional charges and you only pay for resources that you use for running the applications.
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