Implement equivalent to AWS “Updates are not supported”

As Heat tries to maintain compatibility of its AWS resources, a user can expect that a template using Heat’s AWS compatible resources will work the same both on Heat and on AWS. Currently though we are missing a specific behavior of some AWS resources on stack update - a property of resource might not support any updates, including UpdateReplace (that is currently our default update behavior).

Problem description

AWS CloudFormation

AWS CloudFormation has a distinction between “Update requires: Replacement” and “Update requires: Updates are not supported” for a property of a resource. In latter case, an attempt to update this property during a stack update will result in an error putting resource in UPDATE_FAILED state.


The AWS::EC2::Volume resource has all properties marked as “Update requires: Updates are not supported” in AWS docs [1]. This is the relevant part of AWS event when trying to increase the volume size from 10 to 11 using update-stack command:

 "ResourceStatus": "UPDATE_FAILED",
 "ResourceType": "AWS::EC2::Volume",
    "Update to resource type AWS::EC2::Volume is not supported.",


In Heat we currently have default update behavior as UpdateReplace. Any updateable properties must be explicitly declared as such and handled in handle_update method of a resource. We have no clear way of completely denying any update to a resource (including replacing it with new resource). Thus if one e.g. follows the same scenario as in Example above, the stack update succeeds having replaced the volume.

From currently implemented AWS compatible resources the following are affected:

  • AWS::EC2::Volume - Updates are not supported [1]
  • AWS::EC2::VolumeAttachment - Updates are not supported [2]
  • AWS::CloudFormation::WaitCondition - Updates are not supported [3]
  • AWS::CloudFormation::Stack - Updates are not supported for TimeoutInMinutes property [4]
[1](1, 2)

Proposed change

  • add a property schema attribute update_replace_allowed with default value True
  • modify Resource.update_template_diff_properties method to raise NotSupported error (a check similar to check for update_allowed)

The properties schema of a resource then can specify update_replace_allowed=False which would lead to resource update failure on any attempt to update such property.


As an alternative we might mark all the properties of the AWS resource in question as update_allowed and raise the same error in resource’s handle_update. This though would make the update_allowed effectively a no-op, confusing users and documentation.



Primary assignee:
Pavlo Shchelokovskyy (pshchelo)


Target Milestone for completion:

Work Items

  • add update_replace_allowed property attribute
  • modify the default resource update logic
  • amend docs generation to display the status of this attribute for a property (probably only if it is False)
  • mark corresponding properties of AWS compatible resources as update_replace_allowed = False