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Atlas

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Atlas vs AWS CloudFormation: What are the differences?

Atlas: Develop, deploy, and maintain your application anywhere. Use one console and one workflow from development to production. Atlas is one foundation to manage and provide visibility to your servers, containers, VMs, configuration management, service discovery, and additional operations services; AWS CloudFormation: Create and manage a collection of related AWS resources. You can use AWS CloudFormation’s sample templates or create your own templates to describe the AWS resources, and any associated dependencies or runtime parameters, required to run your application. You don’t need to figure out the order in which AWS services need to be provisioned or the subtleties of how to make those dependencies work.

Atlas and AWS CloudFormation can be categorized as "Infrastructure Build" tools.

Decisions about Atlas and AWS CloudFormation
Kirill Shirinkin
Cloud and DevOps Consultant at mkdev · | 3 upvotes · 145.6K views

Ok, so first - AWS Copilot is CloudFormation under the hood, but the way it works results in you not thinking about CFN anymore. AWS found the right balance with Copilot - it's insanely simple to setup production-ready multi-account environment with many services inside, with CI/CD out of the box etc etc. It's pretty new, but even now it was enough to launch Transcripto, which uses may be a dozen of different AWS services, all bound together by Copilot.

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Because Pulumi uses real programming languages, you can actually write abstractions for your infrastructure code, which is incredibly empowering. You still 'describe' your desired state, but by having a programming language at your fingers, you can factor out patterns, and package it up for easier consumption.

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Sergey Ivanov
Overview

We use Terraform to manage AWS cloud environment for the project. It is pretty complex, largely static, security-focused, and constantly evolving.

Terraform provides descriptive (declarative) way of defining the target configuration, where it can work out the dependencies between configuration elements and apply differences without re-provisioning the entire cloud stack.

Advantages

Terraform is vendor-neutral in a way that it is using a common configuration language (HCL) with plugins (providers) for multiple cloud and service providers.

Terraform keeps track of the previous state of the deployment and applies incremental changes, resulting in faster deployment times.

Terraform allows us to share reusable modules between projects. We have built an impressive library of modules internally, which makes it very easy to assemble a new project from pre-fabricated building blocks.

Disadvantages

Software is imperfect, and Terraform is no exception. Occasionally we hit annoying bugs that we have to work around. The interaction with any underlying APIs is encapsulated inside 3rd party Terraform providers, and any bug fixes or new features require a provider release. Some providers have very poor coverage of the underlying APIs.

Terraform is not great for managing highly dynamic parts of cloud environments. That part is better delegated to other tools or scripts.

Terraform state may go out of sync with the target environment or with the source configuration, which often results in painful reconciliation.

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I personally am not a huge fan of vendor lock in for multiple reasons:

  • I've seen cost saving moves to the cloud end up costing a fortune and trapping companies due to over utilization of cloud specific features.
  • I've seen S3 failures nearly take down half the internet.
  • I've seen companies get stuck in the cloud because they aren't built cloud agnostic.

I choose to use terraform for my cloud provisioning for these reasons:

  • It's cloud agnostic so I can use it no matter where I am.
  • It isn't difficult to use and uses a relatively easy to read language.
  • It tests infrastructure before running it, and enables me to see and keep changes up to date.
  • It runs from the same CLI I do most of my CM work from.
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Pros of Atlas
Pros of AWS CloudFormation
    Be the first to leave a pro
    • 43
      Automates infrastructure deployments
    • 21
      Declarative infrastructure and deployment
    • 13
      No more clicking around
    • 3
      Any Operative System you want
    • 3
      Atomic
    • 3
      Infrastructure as code
    • 1
      CDK makes it truly infrastructure-as-code
    • 1
      Automates Infrastructure Deployment
    • 0
      K8s

    Sign up to add or upvote prosMake informed product decisions

    Cons of Atlas
    Cons of AWS CloudFormation
      Be the first to leave a con
      • 4
        Brittle
      • 2
        No RBAC and policies in templates

      Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

      What is Atlas?

      Atlas is one foundation to manage and provide visibility to your servers, containers, VMs, configuration management, service discovery, and additional operations services.

      What is AWS CloudFormation?

      You can use AWS CloudFormation’s sample templates or create your own templates to describe the AWS resources, and any associated dependencies or runtime parameters, required to run your application. You don’t need to figure out the order in which AWS services need to be provisioned or the subtleties of how to make those dependencies work.

      Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

      What companies use Atlas?
      What companies use AWS CloudFormation?
      See which teams inside your own company are using Atlas or AWS CloudFormation.
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      What tools integrate with Atlas?
      What tools integrate with AWS CloudFormation?
        No integrations found

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