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CloudFormation Template Components

Links: 102 AWS DVA Index


  • Resources are the core of your CloudFormation template (MANDATORY)
  • They represent the different AWS Components that will be created and configured
  • Resources are declared and can reference each other
  • AWS figures out creation, updates and deletes of resources for us
  • Identifier: AWS::aws-product-name::data-type-name
    • Example: AWS::EC2::Instance


  • Parameters are a way to provide inputs to your AWS CloudFormation template
  • They're important to know about if:
    • You want to reuse your templates across the company
    • Some inputs can not be determined ahead of time
  • Parameters are extremely powerful, controlled, and can prevent errors from happening in your templates thanks to types.
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Referencing a parameter

  • The Fn:Ref function can be leveraged to reference parameters
  • Parameters can be used anywhere in a template.
  • The shorthand for this in YAML is !Ref
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  • The function can also reference other elements within the template
!Ref can be used to refer parameters as well as resources.

Pseudo Parameters

  • AWS offers us pseudo parameters in any CloudFormation template.
  • These can be used at any time and are enabled by default.
    • Example: AWS::AccountId


  • Mappings are fixed variables within your CloudFormation Template.
  • They're very handy to differentiate between different environments (dev vs prod), regions (AWS regions), AMI types, etc
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  • All the values are hardcoded within the template
Mappings are great when you know in advance all the values that can be taken. If you want something more user specific then use parameters.
Accessing Map Values
  • We use Fn::FindInMap to return a named value from a specific key
  • !FindInMap [MapName, TopLevelKey, SecondLevelKey]

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Here AWS::Region is a pseudo parameter.


  • The Outputs section declares optional outputs values that we can import into other stacks (if you export them first)!
  • You can also view the outputs in the AWS Console or In using the AWS CLI
  • They're very useful for example if you define a network CloudFormation, and output the variables such as VPC ID and your Subnet IDs
  • It's the best way to perform some collaboration cross stack, as you let expert handle their own part of the stack
  • Example: Exporting a value
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  • To import the value we use Fn::ImportValue function or !ImportValue
  • Exporting and importing process:
    • Create a cross-stack reference and use the Export output field to export the value. Then use Fn:ImportValue intrinsic function to import the value.
You can't delete a CloudFormation Stack if its outputs are being referenced by another CloudFormation stack

To delete it first, you need to delete the other CloudFormation stacks that reference the exported outputs, then delete it

Whenever question mentions about linking CloudFormation templates go with outputs.
Exported output names must be unique within your region


  • Conditions are used to control the creation of resources or outputs based on a condition.
    • You cannot use conditions with parameters.
  • Conditions can be whatever you want them to be, but common ones are:
    • Environment (dev / test / prod)
    • AWS Region
    • Any parameter value
  • Each condition can reference another condition, parameter value or mapping.
  • We define a condition and then reference it
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Last updated: 2022-06-09