Understanding CloudFormation Resource Types - Tutorial

AWS CloudFormation provides a wide range of resource types that you can use to define and manage your infrastructure as code. Each resource type represents a specific AWS service or a custom resource defined by your own code. In this tutorial, we will explore the concept of CloudFormation resource types and how they can be used in your CloudFormation templates.

What are CloudFormation Resource Types?

CloudFormation resource types represent the AWS services or custom resources that you want to provision and manage using CloudFormation. Each resource type has a unique identifier and a set of properties that define its configuration. By specifying resource types in your CloudFormation templates, you can declaratively define the desired state of your infrastructure.

Examples of CloudFormation Resource Types

Here are a few examples of CloudFormation resource types:

  • AWS::EC2::Instance: Represents an Amazon EC2 instance that you want to create and manage.
    { "Resources": { "MyEC2Instance": { "Type": "AWS::EC2::Instance", "Properties": { "InstanceType": "t2.micro", "ImageId": "ami-12345678", "KeyName": "my-key-pair" } } } }
  • AWS::S3::Bucket: Represents an Amazon S3 bucket that you want to create and manage.
    { "Resources": { "MyS3Bucket": { "Type": "AWS::S3::Bucket", "Properties": { "BucketName": "my-bucket" } } } }

Working with CloudFormation Resource Types

To work with CloudFormation resource types, follow these steps:

  1. Create a CloudFormation template in JSON or YAML format.
  2. Specify the desired resource types using the "Type" property within the "Resources" section of the template.
  3. Configure the properties specific to each resource type to define its behavior and configuration.
  4. Optionally, add other sections like "Parameters", "Mappings", or "Outputs" to further customize your template.
  5. Validate and deploy the CloudFormation template using the AWS Management Console, AWS CLI, or SDKs.
  6. Monitor the stack creation/update process and view the created resources in the AWS Management Console.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Using an incorrect or unsupported resource type for the desired AWS service.
  • Misconfiguring the properties of a resource type, leading to deployment errors or undesired behavior.
  • Not properly understanding the dependencies between resource types, causing issues with resource creation or deletion.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Can I create custom resource types in CloudFormation?

    Yes, you can create custom resource types using AWS CloudFormation custom resources. Custom resources allow you to extend CloudFormation's capabilities by implementing your own logic to provision and manage resources not supported by CloudFormation natively.

  • How can I find the available resource types for AWS services?

    You can refer to the AWS CloudFormation documentation, which provides a comprehensive list of resource types for each AWS service. Additionally, you can use tools like the AWS CLI or AWS CloudFormation Designer to explore available resource types.

  • Can I use conditionals with resource types?

    Yes, CloudFormation supports conditionals using intrinsic functions like "Fn::If" or "Fn::Condition". You can conditionally create or configure resource types based on specific conditions or input parameters.

  • Can I use third-party or community-supported resource types?

    Yes, CloudFormation allows the use of third-party or community-supported resource types. These resource types are typically provided as AWS CloudFormation registry modules and can be referenced in your templates using the "Type" property.

  • Can I update the properties of a resource type after it has been created?

    Yes, you can update the properties of certain resource types, depending on the AWS service's capabilities. However, not all properties can be updated, and some updates may require resource replacement or manual intervention.


In this tutorial, you learned about CloudFormation resource types and how they are used to define and manage AWS resources in your CloudFormation templates. You saw examples of resource types and the steps involved in working with them. Remember to carefully choose the appropriate resource types for your desired AWS services and configure their properties correctly to achieve the desired infrastructure state.