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But to choose the right cloud infrastructure automation tool is no small task because these tools can vary significantly. To help organizations with this process, there are seven prominent offerings that each take a different approach to provisioning cloud infrastructure and supporting automation.
AWS CloudFormation allows systems administrators to model and provision a set of related AWS and third-party resources and manage them throughout their lifecycles. They define templates to describe the desired resources and their dependencies, and CloudFormation uses those templates to provision and configure resources.
- CloudFormation automates provisioning and infrastructure updates, with support for rollback triggers and changeset previews.
- The AWS offering supports asynchronous replication and failover and failback capabilities through the use of multiple regions.
- AWS data centers and networks are built to protect data, identities and applications, with support for AWS identity and access management (IAM).
- The AWS offering complies with numerous industry standards, including Service Organization Control, or SOC; Payment Card Industry; Federal Risk and Authorization Management; Department of Defense Cloud Computing Security Requirements; and HIPAA.
- Admins can manage CloudFormation through the AWS Management Console and deploy infrastructure through template submission.
- Admins can generate AWS cost and usage reports and use rollback triggers to specify what they should monitor during stack creation.
Pricing. CloudFormation is free when admins use it with resource providers in AWS namespaces, in which case, organizations pay only for the resources they provision. Amazon charges for the use of other resource providers, starting at $0.0009 per handler operation for anything above 1,000 handler operations per month, per account.
Support and training. Amazon offers the AWS Free Tier level to help admins learn about AWS products, including CloudFormation. Amazon also provides documentation, videos and sample templates to help admins better understand how CloudFormation works. In addition, AWS offers three paid support plans: Developer, Business, and Enterprise.
Key takeaway. Admins can use the AWS CloudFormation Registry to model and provision third-party applications alongside AWS resources. They can also provision a common set of AWS resources across multiple accounts and regions, with the ability to model their organization’s entire cloud architecture in text files. CloudFormation automatically manages dependencies between resources.