AWS is home to some large scale operations, and quite a few of them have realised the importance of infrastructure as code.
AWS has offered it's own solution for this since 2011 and is the default choice for many of our customers, meaning we at Nordcloud spend quite a significant amount of time writing CloudFormation code. Although the language is relatively simple, it's also very powerful, and like the AWS platform, it is changing rapidly.
Nordcloud often works on projects where we need to deploy the same CloudFormation Templates across mutiple regions or AWS accounts - and this has caused some headaches, and lead to the development of some creative solutions to help our customers manage their infrasture. This now all changes, as at the start of this week, AWS surprised us (pleasantly!) by introducing Stacksets!
All deployments following AWS Best Pratice should be running across multiple Availability Zones, but the next obvious step would be across multi-regions. These could be for improved latency for multi-national customers, disaster recovery, or to simply reduce cost. Until now it has been impossible to have connected stacks in multiple regions, as most of the time you would get duplicated code, duplicated S3 buckets, and duplicated 'master' networks (it also works if your organisation only operates in one region as the most simple set-up can include more than on AWS account). Nordcloud, with help from AWS, is ready to help find the best account structure for you, there is just a short set-up process prior to this to set up Stacksets. You'll then be up and running deploying across accounts, regions, and CloudFormation Stacks.
Hopefully it will not be too much longer before AWS will add YAML support for parameter files and provide a quicker way to test CloudFormaion code. In the meantime though, Stacksets are a smart way to get rid of old and tricky workarounds and they are completely free to start using today!