If you were talking to someone whose organization is considering AWS CloudFormation, what would you say?
How would you rate it and why? Any other tips or advice?
I would rate AWS CloudFormation an eight out of ten. It does what it is supposed to do, but there are certainly ways in which it could be extended, and there are certain ways using which it could be integrated earlier into their release cycle.
There's probably a lot of people that are trying to work around it. Or, to avoid it. My advice would be: use it when Amazon says so because it's probably the most straightforward approach to your problem. Afterwards, then you can become creative, for it's worth putting in the effort. On a scale from one to ten, I would give this solution a rating of seven. That rating would, definitely, be higher if CloudFormation would be made available on other platforms, outside Amazon.
We are a solution provider and system integrator with AWS. We are also a solution provider with VMware. We don't personally use the solution. Instead, we deploy it for our customers. The companies we work with range from small companies to large enterprises. Our clients use the solution daily. I'd advise other organizations to definitely have an understanding of the AWS portfolio, and the product portfolio. It's also important to first understand the manual structure because it's basically automating manual tasks. It depends upon how repetitive those tasks are, because sometimes building a blueprint might take a sufficient amount of time and if those are not very repeatable and it's done once in a week or more, then it doesn't make sense to use CloudFormation to automate that. I'd rate the solution seven out of ten.
When it comes to this solution, there are a lot of things that happen. New features can come out every week and down the line, there are a lot of new things that come very fast. Keeping up with the innovations or product services that are being introduced is a taxing job. CloudFormation is not used on a daily basis. It is only used for specific purposes whenever there is a requirement. You use it to set up a certain environment. My advice for anybody who is considering using this solution to implement their environment is to consider the complexity of what they want to do. If you want to bring up a simple environment and are familiar with coding using JSON or YAML then try it on your own. Importantly, however, it is not enough to be familiar with the scripting language. You need to understand AWS architecture. The combination of these things is required for the template. If you do build it on your own then I would still suggest having it validated by AWS. If you are unfamiliar with coding or the infrastructure then I would suggest involving a third-party to assist. Not having the proper expertise internally will increase the time required for the project. I feel that it is not a bad idea to involve AWS, as well. Overall, this solution is good but there is always room for improvement. I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.
Are there any significant advantages in addition to using IaC tools for automation? What tools are the top leaders in this category?