AWS CloudFormation
User Guide (API Version 2010-05-15)

Using Dynamic References to Specify Template Values

Dynamic references provide a compact, powerful way for you to specify external values that are stored and managed in other services, such as the Systems Manager Parameter Store, in your stack templates. When you use a dynamic reference, CloudFormation retrieves the value of the specified reference when necessary during stack and change set operations.

CloudFormation currently supports the following dynamic reference patterns:

  • ssm, for plaintext values stored in AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store

  • ssm-secure, for secure strings stored in AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store

  • secretsmanager, for entire secrets or specific secret values that are stored in AWS Secrets Manager

Some considerations when using dynamic references:

  • You can include up to 60 dynamic references in a stack template.

  • For transforms, such as AWS::Include and AWS::Serverless, AWS CloudFormation does not resolve dynamic references prior to invoking any transforms. Rather, AWS CloudFormation passes the literal string of the dynamic reference to the transform. Dynamic references (including those inserted into the processed template as the result of a transform) are resolved when you execute the change set using the template.

  • Dynamic references for secure values, such as ssm-secure and secretsmanager, are not currently supported in custom resources.

Note

Do not create a dynamic reference that has a backslash (\) as the final value. AWS CloudFormation cannot resolve those references, which results in a resource failure.

Specifying Dynamic References in Stack Templates

Dynamic references adhere to the following pattern:

'{{resolve:service-name:reference-key}}'

service-name

Specifies the service in which the value is stored and managed.

Required.

Currently, valid values include:

  • ssm: Systems Manager Parameter Store plaintext parameter.

  • ssm-secure: Systems Manager Parameter Store secure string parameter.

    Note

    Currently, SecureString parameters are not supported by Systems Manager in the cn-north-1 and cn-northwest-1 regions.

    For more information, see AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store in the AWS Systems Manager User Guide.

  • secretsmanager: AWS Secrets Manager secret.

reference-key

The reference key. Depending on the type of dynamic reference, the reference key may be comprised of mutliple segments.

Required.

SSM Parameters

Use the ssm dynamic reference to include values stored in the Systems Manager Parameter Store of type String or StringList in your templates.

Reference Pattern

For SSM Parameters, the reference-key segment is composed of the parameter name and version number. Use the following pattern:

'{{resolve:ssm:parameter-name:version}}'

Your reference must adhere to the following regular expression pattern for parameter-name and version:

'{{resolve:ssm:[a-zA-Z0-9_.-/]+:\\d+}}'

parameter-name

The name of the parameter in the Systems Manager Parameter Store. The parameter name is case-sensitive.

Required.

version

An integer that specifies the version of the parameter to use. You must specify the exact version is required. You cannot currently specify that AWS CloudFormation use the latest version of a parameter. For more information, see Working with Parameter Versions in the AWS Systems Manager User Guide

Required.

Example

The following example uses an ssm dynamic reference to set the access control for an S3 bucket to a parameter value stored in Systems Manager Parameter Store. As specified, CloudFormation will use version 2 of the S3AccessControl parameter for stack and change set operations.

JSON

"MyS3Bucket": { "Type": "AWS::S3::Bucket", "Properties": { "AccessControl": "{{resolve:ssm:S3AccessControl:2}}"" } }

YAML

  MyS3Bucket:     Type: 'AWS::S3::Bucket'     Properties:       AccessControl: '{{resolve:ssm:S3AccessControl:2}}'

To specify a parameter stored in the Systems Manager Parameter Store, you must have access to call GetParameters for the specified parameter. For more information, see Controlling Access to Systems Manager Parameters in the AWS Systems Manager User Guide.

Additional considerations to note when using the ssm dynamic reference pattern:

  • Currently, CloudFormation does not support cross-account SSM parameter access.

  • For custom resources, CloudFormation resolves ssm dynamic references prior to sending the request to the custom resource. For more information, see Custom Resources.

  • CloudFormation does not support using parameter labels or public parameters in dynamic references.

    A parameter label is a user-defined alias to help you manage different versions of a parameter. For more information, see Labeling Parameters in the AWS Systems Manager User Guide.

    A public parameter is a parameter provided by an AWS service for use with that service, and stored in AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store. For an example of public parameters, see Retrieving the Amazon ECS-optimized AMI Metadata in the Amazon Elastic Container Service Developer Guide.

SSM Secure String Parameters

Use the ssm-secure dynamic reference pattern to specify AWS Systems Manager SecureString type parameters in your templates. For ssm-secure dynamic references, AWS CloudFormation never stores the actual parameter value. AWS CloudFormation accesses the parameter value during create and update operations for stacks and change sets. Currently, secure string parameters can only be used for resource properties that support the ssm-secure dynamic reference pattern.

A secure string parameter is any sensitive data that needs to be stored and referenced in a secure manner. That is, data that you don't want users to alter or reference in clear text, such as passwords or license keys. For more information on secure strings, see Use Secure String Parameters in the AWS Systems Manager User Guide.

Secure string parameters values are not stored in CloudFormation, nor are they returned as part of in any API call results.

Reference Pattern

For ssm-secure dynamic references, the reference-key segment is composed of the parameter name and version number. Use the following pattern:

'{{resolve:ssm-secure:parameter-name:version}}'

Your reference must adhere to the following regular expression pattern for parameter-name and version:

'{{resolve:ssm-secure:[a-zA-Z0-9_.-/]+:\\d+}}'

parameter-name

The name of the parameter in the Systems Manager Parameter Store. The parameter name is case-sensitive.

Required.

version

An integer that specifies the version of the parameter to use. You must specify the exact version is required. You cannot currently specify that AWS CloudFormation use the latest version of a parameter. For more information, see Working with Parameter Versions in the AWS Systems Manager User Guide

Required.

Example

The following example uses an ssm-secure dynamic reference to set the password for an IAM user to a secure string stored in Systems Manager Parameter Store. As specified, CloudFormation will use version 10 of the IAMUserPassword parameter for stack and change set operations.

JSON

"MyIAMUser": { "Type": "AWS::IAM::User", "Properties": { "UserName": "MyUserName", "LoginProfile": { "Password": "{{resolve:ssm-secure:IAMUserPassword:10}}" } } }

YAML

  MyIAMUser:     Type: AWS::IAM::User     Properties:       UserName: 'MyUserName'       LoginProfile:         Password: '{{resolve:ssm-secure:IAMUserPassword:10}}'

Additional considerations to note when using the ssm-secure dynamic reference pattern:

  • CloudFormation does not return the actual parameter value for secure strings in any API calls, but rather returns the literal dynamic reference.

  • CloudFormation does store the literal dynamic reference, which contains the plaintext parameter name of the secure string.

  • For change sets, CloudFormation compares the literal dynamic reference string. It does not resolve and compare the actual values of ssm-secure references.

  • Dynamic references for secure values, such as ssm-secure and secretsmanager, are not currently supported in custom resources.

  • In cases where CloudFormation must rollback a stack update, that update rollback operation will fail if the previously-specified version of a secure string parameter is no longer available. in such cases, do one of the following:

    • Use CONTINUE_UPDATE_ROLLBACK to skip the resource.

    • Recreate the secure string parameter in the Systems Manager Parameter Store, and update it until the parameter version reaches the version used in the template. Then use CONTINUE_UPDATE_ROLLBACK without skipping the resource.

  • Currently, AWS CloudFormation does not support cross-account SSM parameter access.

  • CloudFormation does not support using parameter labels or public parameters in dynamic references.

    A parameter label is a user-defined alias to help you manage different versions of a parameter. For more information, see Labeling Parameters in the AWS Systems Manager User Guide.

    A public parameter is a parameter provided by an AWS service for use with that service, and stored in AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store. For an example of public parameters, see Retrieving the Amazon ECS-optimized AMI Metadata in the Amazon Elastic Container Service Developer Guide.

Resources that Support Dynamic Parameter Patterns for Secure Strings

Resources that support the ssm-secure dynamic reference pattern currently include:

Secrets Manager Secrets

Use the secretsmanager dynamic reference to retrieve entire secrets or secret values that are stored in AWS Secrets Manager for use in your templates. Secrets can be database credentials, passwords, third-party API keys, and even arbitrary text. Using Secrets Manager, you can store and control access to these secrets centrally. Secrets Manager enables you to replace hardcoded credentials in your code (including passwords), with an API call to Secrets Manager to retrieve the secret programmatically. For more information, see see What Is AWS Secrets Manager? in the AWS Secrets Manager User Guide.

To specify a secret stored in Secrets Manager, you must have access to call GetSecretValue for the specified secret.

Important

The secretsmanager dynamic reference can be used in all resource properties. Using the secretsmanager dynamic reference guarantees that neither Secrets Manager or CloudFormation logs or persists any resolved secret value. However, the secret value may show up in the service whose resource it is being used in. You should review your usage to avoid leaking secret data.

Dynamic references for secure values, such as secretsmanager, are not currently supported in custom resources.

Reference Pattern

For Secrets Manager secrets, the reference-key segment is composed of several segments, including the secret id, secret value key, version stage, and version id. Use the following pattern:

{{resolve:secretsmanager:secret-id:secret-string:json-key:version-stage:version-id}}

secret-id

The name or Amazon Resource Name (ARN) that serves as a unique identifier for the secret.

To access a secret in your AWS account, you need only specify the secret name. To access a secret in a different AWS account, specify the complete ARN of the secret.

Required.

secret-string

Currently, the only supported value is SecretString. The default is SecretString.

json-key

Specifies the key name of the key-value pair whose value you want to retrieve. If you do not specify a json-key, CloudFormation retrieves the entire secret text.

This segment may not include the colon character ( : ).

version-stage

Specifies the secret version that you want to retrieve by the staging label attached to the version. Staging labels are used to keep track of different versions during the rotation process. If you use version-stage then don't specify version-id. If you don't specify either a version stage or a version ID, then the default is to retrieve the version with the version stage value of AWSCURRENT.

This segment may not include the colon character ( : ).

version-id

Specifies the unique identifier of the version of the secret that you want to use in stack operations. If you specify version-id, then don't specify version-stage. If you don't specify either a version stage or a version ID, then the default is to retrieve the version with the version stage value of AWSCURRENT.

This segment may not include the colon character ( : ).

Examples

The following example uses the secret-name and json-key segments to retrieve the username and password values stored in the MyRDSSecret secret. By default, the secret version retrieved is the version with the version stage value of AWSCURRENT.

JSON

{ "MyRDSInstance": { "Type": "AWS::RDS::DBInstance", "Properties": { "DBName": "MyRDSInstance", "AllocatedStorage": "20", "DBInstanceClass": "db.t2.micro", "Engine": "mysql", "MasterUsername": "{{resolve:secretsmanager:MyRDSSecret:SecretString:username}}", "MasterUserPassword": "{{resolve:secretsmanager:MyRDSSecret:SecretString:password}}" } } }

YAML

MyRDSInstance: Type: 'AWS::RDS::DBInstance' Properties: DBName: MyRDSInstance AllocatedStorage: '20' DBInstanceClass: db.t2.micro Engine: mysql MasterUsername: '{{resolve:secretsmanager:MyRDSSecret:SecretString:username}}' MasterUserPassword: '{{resolve:secretsmanager:MyRDSSecret:SecretString:password}}'

Specifying the following segments would retrieve the entire SecretString field for the version of the MySecret secret with the version stage value of AWSCURRENT.

  '{{resolve:secretsmanager:MySecret}}' or '{{resolve:secretsmanager:MySecret::::}}'

Specifying the following segments would retrieve the password value for the version of the MySecret SecretString with the version stage value of AWSCURRENT.

  '{{resolve:secretsmanager:MySecret:SecretString:password}}'

Specifying the following segments would retrieve the password value for the version of the MySecret secret with the version ID of EXAMPLE1-90ab-cdef-fedc-ba987EXAMPLE.

  '{{resolve:secretsmanager:MySecret:SecretString:password:SecretString:EXAMPLE1-90ab-cdef-fedc-ba987EXAMPLE}}'

Specifying the following segments would retrieve the entire SecretString for the version of the MySecret secret with the version stage value of AWSCURRENT from another AWS account. Note that you must specify the complete secret ARN to access secrets in another AWS account.

  '{{resolve:secretsmanager:arn:aws:secretsmanager:us-west-2:123456789012:secret:MySecret-asd123}}'

Specifying the following segments would retrieve the password value for the version of the MySecret secret with the version stage value of AWSCURRENT from another AWS account. Note that you must specify the complete secret ARN to access secrets in another AWS account.

  '{{resolve:secretsmanager:arn:aws:secretsmanager:us-west-2:123456789012:secret:MySecret-asd123:SecretString:password}}'

Specifying the following segments would retrieve the the password value for the version of the MySecret secret with the version stage value of AWSPENDING from another AWS account. Note that you must specify the complete secret ARN to access secrets in another AWS account.

  '{{resolve:secretsmanager:arn:aws:secretsmanager:us-west-2:123456789012:secret:MySecretName-asd123:SecretString:password:AWSPENDING}}'