Using AWS CloudFormation StackSets - Tutorial

Welcome to this tutorial on using AWS CloudFormation StackSets. StackSets enable you to deploy and manage CloudFormation stacks across multiple accounts and regions in a centralized and streamlined manner. By using StackSets, you can easily maintain consistency and scalability in your infrastructure deployments.

Example of Using StackSets

Let's consider an example where you want to deploy a CloudFormation stack across multiple AWS accounts and regions using a StackSet.

aws cloudformation create-stack-set \ --stack-set-name MyStackSet \ --template-body file://stack-template.yml \ --parameters ParameterKey=Environment,ParameterValue=Production \ --regions us-west-2 eu-west-1 ap-southeast-1 \ --accounts 123456789012 987654321098 567890123456

In the above example, we use the AWS CLI command create-stack-set to create a StackSet named "MyStackSet". We specify the CloudFormation template using the --template-body parameter and provide values for the Environment parameter using the --parameters flag. We deploy the stack to the specified regions and accounts using the --regions and --accounts parameters, respectively.

Steps to Use AWS CloudFormation StackSets

  1. Create an AWS CloudFormation template that defines the stack resources you want to deploy using the StackSet.
  2. Create a StackSet using the AWS Management Console, AWS CLI, or AWS SDKs. Specify the template, parameters, regions, and accounts to target.
  3. Optionally, set deployment options such as instance concurrency, failure tolerance, and stack drift detection.
  4. Deploy the StackSet to the specified accounts and regions. CloudFormation will automatically create and manage stacks in each target account and region.
  5. Monitor the deployment status and stack operations using CloudFormation events and the StackSet administration features.
  6. Perform updates or modifications to the StackSet template, parameters, or deployment options as needed.

Common Mistakes with AWS CloudFormation StackSets

  • Not considering the permissions required for StackSet operations, leading to deployment failures or restrictions.
  • Overlooking the need for cross-account roles or trust relationships for StackSet deployments.
  • Not properly validating or testing the StackSet template and parameters before deploying at scale.
  • Ignoring or not monitoring stack drift and failing to remediate inconsistencies in deployed stacks.
  • Not following best practices for stack management, such as creating and updating stacks in a controlled manner.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I add or remove accounts from an existing StackSet?

Yes, you can add or remove accounts from an existing StackSet using the update-stack-set command and specifying the accounts to add or remove.

2. How can I control the deployment order of stacks within a StackSet?

You can use deployment options such as maximum concurrent deployments and failure tolerance to control the deployment order and ensure the desired level of concurrency and reliability.

3. Can I deploy StackSets across different AWS regions?

Yes, StackSets support deployments across multiple AWS regions. You can specify the regions to target during the StackSet creation or update process.

4. What is stack drift and how does it impact StackSets?

Stack drift refers to configuration changes made directly to individual stacks deployed from a StackSet. Stack drift can impact the consistency of managed stacks within a StackSet. It is important to periodically detect and remediate stack drift to maintain the desired state.

5. Can I update the StackSet template or parameters after deployment?

Yes, you can update the StackSet template or parameters by using the update-stack-set command. The update process will propagate the changes to the stacks in each target account and region.


AWS CloudFormation StackSets provide a powerful mechanism for deploying and managing CloudFormation stacks at scale across multiple accounts and regions. By utilizing StackSets, you can streamline your deployment processes, ensure consistency, and simplify management tasks. Understanding how to create, deploy, and manage StackSets is essential for efficient and centralized stack management in complex AWS environments.