cfn-sphere AWS CloudFormation management cli

aws, cfn-sphere, cloud, cloudformation, infrastructure-as-code, yml
pip install cfn-sphere==1.0.6



A CLI tool intended to simplify AWS CloudFormation handling.

Build Status


  • cfn templates in yml or json
  • build for human interaction and automation (run 'cf sync stacks.yml' triggered by a git push if you dare ;-)
  • a source of truth defining cloudformation stacks with their template and parameters
  • cross referencing parameters between stacks (use a stack output as parameter for another stack)
  • automatic stack dependency resolution including circular dependency detection
  • helper features easing the use of cfn functions like Fn::Join, Ref or Fn::GetAtt
  • easy user-data definition for
  • allow stack parameter values updates in command line interface
  • encrypt/decrypt values with AWS KMS (



As python artifact:

pip install cfn-sphere


$ cf --help

  This tool manages AWS CloudFormation templates and stacks by providing an
  application scope and useful tooling.

  --version  Show the version and exit.
  --help     Show this message and exit.

  convert            Convert JSON to YAML or vice versa
  decrypt            Decrypt a given ciphertext with AWS Key
  delete             Delete all stacks in a stack configuration
  encrypt            Encrypt a given string with AWS Key
  render_template    Render template as it would be used to create or update a stack
  sync               Sync AWS resources with stack configuration file
  validate_template  Validate template with CloudFormation API

Getting Started

1. Create Stacks Config

Create a YAML file containing a region and some stacks in a stacks.yml file f.e.:

region: eu-west-1
        template-url: vpc.yml
        template-url: app.yml
            vpcID: "|ref|"
            dockerImageName: myapp
            appVersion: 1

2. Write your CloudFormation templates

Write your templates and configure them in your stacks.yml

3. Sync it

A simple command synchronizes your definition with reality!

cf sync myapp-test.yml

3.1 Update Stack with CLI Parameter

To update parameters of a stack defined within myapp-test.yml without having to modify the templates, simply use the --parameter or -p flag.

cf sync --parameter "test-stack.dockerImageName=mytestapp" --parameter "test-stack.appVersion=234" myapp-test.yml

4. Go further

Read here to see what cfn-sphere can do for you. There are a lot of things that can help you:

Config Reference

See the wiki to see what you can do in a stack configuration: StackConfig Reference

Template Reference

Cfn-Sphere supports native cloudformation templates written in JSON or YAML, located in local filesystem or s3. There are some improvements like simplified intrinsic functions one can use. See the reference for details: Template Reference



  • python >= 2.6
  • virtualenv
  • pybuilder


git clone
cd cfn-sphere
virtualenv .venv --python=python2.7
source .venv/bin/activate
pip install pybuilder
pyb install_dependencies


  • Create an issue to discuss the problem and track changes for future releases
  • Create a pull request with your changes (as small as possible to ease code reviews)


Copyright Marco Hoyer

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.