Update behaviors of stack resources - AWS CloudFormation

Update behaviors of stack resources

When you submit an update, AWS CloudFormation updates resources based on differences between what you submit and the stack's current template. Resources that haven't changed run without disruption during the update process. For updated resources, AWS CloudFormation uses one of the following update behaviors:

Update with No Interruption

AWS CloudFormation updates the resource without disrupting operation of that resource and without changing the resource's physical ID. For example, if you update certain properties on an AWS::CloudTrail::Trail resource, AWS CloudFormation updates the trail without disruption.

Updates with Some Interruption

AWS CloudFormation updates the resource with some interruption. For example, if you update certain properties on an AWS::EC2::Instance resource, the instance might have some interruption while AWS CloudFormation and Amazon EC2 reconfigure the instance.


AWS CloudFormation recreates the resource during an update, which also generates a new physical ID. AWS CloudFormation usually creates the replacement resource first, changes references from other dependent resources to point to the replacement resource, and then deletes the old resource. For example, if you update the AvailabilityZone property of an AWS::EC2::Instance resource type, AWS CloudFormation creates a new resource and replaces the current EC2 Instance resource with the new one.

If you're adding or removing a property that requires a replacement, it will also trigger an update. The update will happen even if the real value of the property doesn't change.

The method AWS CloudFormation uses depends on which property you update for a given resource type. The update behavior for each property is described in the AWS Resource Types Reference.

Depending on the update behavior, you can decide when to modify resources to reduce the impact of these changes on your application. In particular, you can plan when resources must be replaced during an update. For example, if you update the Port property of an AWS::RDS::DBInstance resource type, AWS CloudFormation replaces the DB instance by creating a new DB instance with the updated port setting and deletes the old DB instance. Before the update, you might plan to do the following to prepare for the database replacement:

  • Take a snapshot of the current databases.

  • Prepare a strategy for how applications that use that DB instance will handle an interruption while the DB instance is being replaced.

  • Ensure that the applications that use that DB instance considers the updated port setting and any other updates you have made.

  • Use the DB snapshot to restore the databases on the new DB instance.

This example isn't exhaustive, but it's meant to give you an idea of the things to plan for when a resource is replaced during an update.


If the template includes one or more nested stacks, AWS CloudFormation also initiates an update for every nested stack. This is necessary to determine whether the nested stacks have been modified. AWS CloudFormation updates only those resources in the nested stacks that have changes specified in corresponding templates.