When deploying multiple environments, some into the same AWS account, some across multiple AWS accounts, we need to ensure the resource names do not thrash across environments. For example, in our checkout-api service, we have a Lambda function called checkout. Now, if two developers are working on two different features, one deploys to the featureA environment and one deploys to the featureB environment, and both environments reside in the Dev AWS account, only one environment can be successfully deployed. The second environment will get an error indicating that a Lambda function with the name checkout already exists.

AWS resources need to be uniquely named within a scope, and the scope is different for different resource types. Here are the rules for some of the commonly used serverless resources:

  • Unique per account per region: Lambda functions, API Gateway projects, SNS Topic, etc.
  • Unique per account (across all regions): IAM users/roles
  • Unique globally: S3 buckets

The best practice to ensure uniqueness is by parameterizing resource names with the name of the stage. In our example, we can name the Lambda function checkout-featureA for the featureA stage; checkout-featureB for the featureB stage; and checkout-dev for the dev stage.

Luckily, Serverless Framework already parameterizes a few of the default resources:

Resource Scheme Example
Lambda functions $serviceName-$stage-$functionName notes-app-ext-notes-api-dev-get
API Gateway project $stage-$serviceName dev-notes-app-ext-notes-api
CloudWatch log groups /aws/lambda/$serviceName-$stage-$functionName /aws/lambda/notes-app-ext-notes-api-dev-get
IAM roles $serviceName-$stage-$region-lambdaRole notes-app-ext-notes-api-dev-us-east-1-lambdaRole
S3 bucket $stackName-$resourceName-$hash notes-app-ext-notes-api-serverlessdeploymentbuck-19fhidl3prw0m

A couple of things to note here:

  • Resource names are parameterized with $serviceName to ensure resource names do not thrash when deploying multiple services
  • The IAM role is the one used by the Lambda functions. IAM role names are also parameterized with $region since the name needs to be unique across regions in an account.
  • S3 bucket is the one used by Serverless Framework to store deployment artifacts. It is not given a name. In these cases, CloudFormation will automatically assign a unique name for it based on the name of the current stack — $stackName.

For all the other resources we define in our serverless.yml, we are responsible for parameterizing them.

Here are a couple of examples where we need to be aware of resource names being parameterized.

SNS topic names in billing-api service

      Type: AWS::SNS::Topic
        TopicName: ${self:custom.stage}-note-purchased

Parameterize Resources in CDK With SST

For CDK on the other hand we use SST to automatically parameterize our stack names. And use a helper method to parameterize specific resource names.

So for example in the stacks/index.js file in our resources repo.

export default function main(app) {
  new DynamoDBStack(app, "dynamodb");

  const s3 = new S3Stack(app, "s3");

  new CognitoStack(app, "cognito", { bucketArn: s3.bucket.bucketArn });

Our stack names are called dynamodb, s3, and cognito. But when these are deployed, they are deployed as:


Where dev is the stage we are deploying to and notes-ext-infra is the name of our SST app, as specified in our sst.json.

For specific resources, such as CloudFormation exports, we use the app.logicalPrefixedName helper method. Here’s an example from stacks/DynamoDBStack.js.

new CfnOutput(this, "TableName", {
  value: table.tableName,
  exportName: app.logicalPrefixedName("ExtTableName"),

The app.logicalPrefixedName prefixes our export name with the name of the stage and the app.

Parameterizing your resources allows your app to be deployed to multiple environments without naming conflicts. Next, let’s deploy our app!