AWS CloudFormation
User Guide (API Version 2010-05-15)
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A stack is a collection of AWS resources. With AWS CloudFormation you can do the following with your stacks:

  • Create an AWS CloudFormation stack using aws cloudformation create-stack, providing a name, and specifying a template that defines the stack.

  • Track the progress of the create operation using aws cloudformation describe-stack-events. AWS CloudFormation optimizes the order of member resource creation during stack creation, taking into account resource dependencies, so it's not possible to predict the order in which each resource will be created. The aws cloudformation describe-stack-events command enables you to monitor the progress.

  • List your running stacks using aws cloudformation describe-stacks or aws cloudformation list-stacks, filtering by a specific stack name or stack status. Only running stacks and stacks in the process of being created or deleted are listed with aws cloudformation describe-stacks. You can use aws cloudformation list-stacks to list stacks that have any status (even if they have been deleted within the past 90 days), filtering on the status if you need to.

  • Itemize the contents of a stack using aws cloudformation describe-stack-resources. You can do this even when a stack is being created or deleted, enabling you to see the state of individual member resources.

  • View the history of the events produced by a stack using aws cloudformation describe-stack-events, optionally filtering by a specific stack name. You can see events for a deleted stack for up to 90 days.

  • Delete a stack using aws cloudformation delete-stack. When you delete a stack, each of its member resources is deleted as well. As with the stack creation, AWS CloudFormation optimizes the deletion sequence, so the order isn't predictable. You can track the progress of the deletion using aws cloudformation describe-stack-events and list deleted stacks using aws cloudformation list-stacks.

AWS CloudFormation makes sure all member resources are created or deleted as appropriate. Because AWS CloudFormation treats the members of a stack as a single unit, they must all be created successfully for the stack to be created. If for any reason a member resource cannot be created, AWS CloudFormation rolls the stack back and automatically deletes the member resources that were created.


You are charged for the stack resources for the time they were operating (even if you deleted the stack right away).

For more information, see Modifying AWS CloudFormation Templates.