Skip to content

AWS Copilot v1.18: Certificate import, ordering deployments in a pipeline, and more

The AWS Copilot core team is announcing the Copilot v1.18 release. Special thanks to @corey-cole who contributed to this release. Our public сommunity сhat is growing and has almost 280 people online and over 2.2k stars on GitHub. Thanks to every one of you who shows love and support for AWS Copilot.

Copilot v1.18 brings several new features and improvements:

  • Certificate import: You can now run copilot env init --import-cert-arns to import validated ACM certificates to your environment's load balancer listener. See detailed section.
  • Ordering deployments in a pipeline: You can now control the order in which services or jobs get deployed in a continuous delivery pipeline. See detailed section.
  • Additional pipeline improvements: Besides deployment orders, you can now limit which services or jobs to deploy in your pipeline or deploy custom cloudformation stacks in a pipeline. See detailed section.
  • "recreate" strategy for faster redeployments: You can now specify "recreate" deployment strategy so that ECS will stop old tasks in your service before starting new ones. See detailed section.
  • Tracing for Load Balanced Web, Worker, and Backend Service: To collect and ship traces to AWS X-Ray from ECS tasks, we are introducing observability.tracing configuration in the manifest to add an AWS Distro for OpenTelemetry Collector sidecar container. See detailed section.

What’s AWS Copilot?

Posted On: May 9, 2022

The AWS Copilot CLI is a tool for developers to build, release, and operate production ready containerized applications on AWS.
From getting started, pushing to staging, and releasing to production, Copilot can help manage the entire lifecycle of your application development. At the foundation of Copilot is AWS CloudFormation, which enables you to provision infrastructure as code in a single operation. Copilot provides pre-defined CloudFormation templates and user-friendly workflows for different types of micro services creation and operation, enabling you to focus on developing your application, instead of writing deployment scripts.

See the section Overview for a more detailed introduction to AWS Copilot.

Certificate Import

Contributed by Penghao He

If you have domains managed outside of Route 53, or want to enable HTTPS without having a domain associated with your application, you can now use the new --import-cert-arns flag to import any validated certificates when creating your environments.

$ copilot env init --import-cert-arns arn:aws:acm:us-east-1:123456789012:certificate/12345678-1234-1234-1234-123456789012 --import-cert-arns arn:aws:acm:us-east-1:123456789012:certificate/87654321-4321-4321-4321-210987654321

For example, one of the certificates has as its domain and * as a subject alternative name (SAN):

Sample certificate
  "Certificate": {
    "CertificateArn": "arn:aws:acm:us-east-1:123456789012:certificate/12345678-1234-1234-1234-123456789012",
    "DomainName": "",
    "SubjectAlternativeNames": [
    "DomainValidationOptions": [
        "DomainName": "",
        "ValidationDomain": "",
        "ValidationStatus": "SUCCESS",
        "ResourceRecord": {
          "Name": "",
          "Type": "CNAME",
          "Value": ""
        "ValidationMethod": "DNS"

Then, you need to specify aliases that are valid against any of the imported certificates in a Load Balanced Web Service manifest:

name: frontend
type: Load Balanced Web Service
  path: 'frontend'


Specifying http.alias in service manifests is required for deploying services to an environment with imported certificates.

After the deployment, add the DNS of the Application Load Balancer (ALB) created in the environment as an A record to where your alias domain is hosted. For example, if your alias domain is hosted in Route 53:

Sample Route 53 A Record
  "Name": "",
  "Type": "A",
  "AliasTarget": {
    "HostedZoneId": "Z1H1FL3HABSF5",
    "DNSName": "",
    "EvaluateTargetHealth": true

Now, your service has HTTPS enabled using your own certificates and can be accessed via!

Controlling Order of Deployments in a Pipeline

Contributed by Efe Karakus

Copilot provides the copilot pipeline commands to create continuous delivery pipelines to automatically release microservices in your git repository.
Prior to v1.18, all services and jobs defined in your git repository got deployed in parallel for each stage. For example, given a monorepo with three microservices: frontend, orders, warehouse. All of them got deployed at the same time to the test and prod environments:

Rendered pipeline

name: release
  provider: GitHub
    branch: main
- name: test
- name: prod
  requires_approval: true
├── frontend
│   └── manifest.yml
├── orders
│   └── manifest.yml
└── warehouse
    └── manifest.yml

Starting with v1.18, you can control the order of your deployments in your pipeline with the new deployments field.

  - name: test
        depends_on: [orders, warehouse]
  - name: prod
    require_approval: true
        depends_on: [orders, warehouse]
With the manifest above, we're declaring that the orders and warehouse services should be deployed prior to the frontend so that clients can't send new API requests before the downstream services are ready to accept them. Copilot figures out in which order the stacks should be deployed, and the resulting CodePipeline looks as follows: Rendered ordered pipeline

Additional pipeline improvements

There are a few other enhancements that come with the new deployments field: 1. It is now possible for monorepos to configure which services or jobs to deploy in a pipeline. For example, I can limit the pipeline to only deploy the orders microservice:

2. Your pipelines can now deploy standalone CloudFormation templates that are not generated by Copilot. For example, if we have a repository structured as follows:
 ├── api
 │   └── manifest.yml
 └── templates
     ├── cognito.params.json
     └── cognito.yml
Then I can leverage the new stack_name, template_path and template_config fields under deployments to specify deploying the cognito cloudformation stack in my pipeline:
    stack_name: myapp-test-cognito
    template_path: infrastructure/cognito.yml
    template_config: infrastructure/cognito.params.json
The final step would be modifying the copilot generated buildspec to copy the files under copilot/templates to infrastructure/ with cp -r copilot/templates infrastructure/ so that the template_path and template_config fields point to existing files.

"recreate" Strategy for Faster Redeployments

Contributed by Parag Bhingre


Due to the possible service downtime caused by "recreate", we do not recommend using it for your production services.

Before v1.18, a Copilot ECS-based service (Load Balanced Web Service, Backend Service, and Worker Service) redeployment always spun up new tasks, waited for them to be stable, and then stopped the old tasks. In order to support faster redeployments for ECS-based services in the development stage, users can specify "recreate" as the deployment strategy in the service manifest:

  rolling: recreate

Under the hood, Copilot sets minimumHealthyPercent and maximumPercent to 0 and 100 respectively (defaults are 100 and 200), so that old tasks are stopped before spinning up any new tasks.

Tracing for Load Balanced Web Service, Worker Service, and Backend Service

Contributed by Danny Randall

In v1.17, Copilot launched support for sending traces from your Request-Driven Web Services to AWS X-Ray. Now, you can easily export traces from your Load Balanced Web, Worker, and Backend services to X-Ray by configuring observability in your service's manifest:

  tracing: awsxray

For these service types, Copilot will deploy an AWS Distro for OpenTelemetry Collector sidecar container to collect traces from your service and export them to X-Ray. After instrumenting your service to send traces, you can view the end-to-end journey of requests through your services to aid in debugging and monitoring performance of your application.

X-Ray Service Map Example

Read our documentation on Observability to learn more about tracing and get started!

What’s next?

Download the new Copilot CLI version by following the link below and leave your feedback on GitHub or our Community Chat: