Introduction to AWS CloudFormation

Introduction and Aim
The purpose of this lab is to use an Amazon EC2 instance and install WordPress with a local MySQL database. QwikLabs states that AWS CloudFormation ‘gives developers and systems administrators an easy way to create and manage a collection of related AWS resources, provisioning and updating them in an orderly and predictable fashion.’

 

Goals

  • Create a stack using an AWS CloudFormation template
  • Monitor the progress of the stack creation
  • Use the stack resources
  • Clean up when the stack is no longer required

 

Create a stack
In this section, I create a stack  from an AWS CloudFormation template.
InkedCreate Stack_LI

CloudFormation is one of the services found in the AWS management console. In the service, I can ‘Create Stack’, selecting the ‘WordPress blog’ template.
The details are as follows:
Name: MyWPTestStack
DBPassword: Pa55word
DBRootPassword: Pa55word1
DBUser: AWSQLStudent
Specifying Details

The lab script makes mention here that ‘the same WordPress template contains an input parameter, KeyName, which specifies the EC2 key pair for the Amazon Ec2 instance that is declared in the template. An Amazon key pair has been created for you.’

As I’m only following the lab script, not actually completing the lab through QwikLabs, I don’t have a pre-made template. However, I do have access to creating EC2 instances, alongside the ones I’ve already created, and I already have a key pair.

In the KeyName drop down on the Details page, I select the key pair that I’ve already created.

The automatically filled parameters are kept on their default settings, and no ‘Tags’ or ‘Advanced Options’ settings are changed, so all that is left to do is create the instance.

Stack Review

Monitoring stack creation
The AWS service for CloudFormation monitors the progress of the stack’s creation. Whilst being created, the status will be CREATE_IN_PROGRESS. Once finished, the status notification will show CREATE_COMPLETE.

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Using the stack
The WordPress installation still need to be completed. This is done by clicking on the outputs tab, and using the hyperlink located on the page.
Outputs WP
Once the installation is complete, the WordPress dashboard appears. From here, customization and blog posts can happen.

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Deleting the stack.
Deleting the stack involves selecting the stack to be deleted, under ‘Actions’ pressing ‘Delete Stack’, and then confirming the deletion process.
Delete Stack

During the process, the stack status changes to DELETE_IN_PROGRESS. When a stack is deleted, all of the resources associated with the stack will also be deleted.
DELETE_IN_PROGRESS

 

Conclusion
By following this lab, I’ve manged to learn how to use CloudFormation in creating a stack, and install a WordPress template.  The implementation of stacks appear to be very useful for running applications, though I would be interested in comparing it to the AWS Lambda service.

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