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Stack dependencies»

Stacks can depend on other stacks. This is useful when you want to run a stack only after another stacks have finished running. For example, you might want to deploy a database stack before a stack that uses the database.

Info

Stack dependencies only respect tracked runs. Proposed runs and tasks are not considered.

Goals»

Stack dependencies aim to solve the problem of ordering the execution of related runs triggered by the same VCS event.

Stack dependencies do not manage stack lifecycle events such as creating or deleting stacks. In fact, you cannot delete a stack if it has dependencies.

Defining stack dependencies»

Stack dependencies can be defined in the Dependencies tab of the stack.

Info

You can only create dependencies between stacks that you're both an admin of. See Spaces Access Control for more information.

How it works»

Stack dependencies are directed acyclic graphs (DAGs). This means that a stack can depend on multiple stacks, and a stack can be depended on by multiple stacks but there cannot be loops: you will receive an error if you try to add a stack to a dependency graph that will create a cycle.

When a tracked run is created in the stack (either triggered manually or by a VCS event), and the stack is a dependency of other stack(s), those stacks will queue up tracked runs and wait until the current stack's tracked run has finished running.

If a run fails in the dependency chain, all subsequent runs will be cancelled.

It will be easier to understand in a second.

Examples»

Scenario 1»

graph TD;
    BaseInfra-->Database;
    BaseInfra-->networkColor(Network);
    BaseInfra-->Storage;
    Database-->paymentSvcColor(PaymentService);
    networkColor(Network)-->paymentSvcColor(PaymentService);
    Database-->cartSvcColor(CartService);
    networkColor(Network)-->cartSvcColor(CartService);

    style networkColor fill:#51cbad
    style paymentSvcColor fill:#51abcb
    style cartSvcColor fill:#51abcb

In the above example, if Network stack receives a push event to the tracked branch, it will start a run immediately and queue up PaymentService and CartService. When Network finishes running, those two will start running. Since PaymentService and CartService does not depend on each other, they can run in parallel.

BaseInfra remains untouched, we never go up in the dependency graph.

Scenario 2»

graph TD;
    baseInfraColor(BaseInfra)-->databaseColor(Database);
    baseInfraColor(BaseInfra)-->networkColor(Network);
    baseInfraColor(BaseInfra)-->storageColor(Storage);
    databaseColor(Database)-->paymentSvcColor(PaymentService);
    networkColor(Network)-->paymentSvcColor(PaymentService);
    databaseColor(Database)-->cartSvcColor(CartService);
    networkColor(Network)-->cartSvcColor(CartService);

    style baseInfraColor fill:#51cbad
    style networkColor fill:#51abcb
    style paymentSvcColor fill:#51abcb
    style cartSvcColor fill:#51abcb
    style storageColor fill:#51abcb
    style databaseColor fill:#51abcb

If BaseInfra receives a push event, it will start running immediately and queue up all of the stacks below. The order of the runs: BaseInfra, then Database & Network & Storage in parallel, finally PaymentService & CartService in parallel.

Note: since PaymentService and CartService does not depend on Storage, they will not wait until it finishes running.

Scenario 3»

graph TD;
    baseInfraColor(BaseInfra)-->databaseColor(Database);
    baseInfraColor(BaseInfra)-->networkColor(Network);
    baseInfraColor(BaseInfra)-->storageColor(Storage);
    databaseColor(Database)-->paymentSvcColor(PaymentService);
    networkColor(Network)-->paymentSvcColor(PaymentService);
    databaseColor(Database)-->cartSvcColor(CartService);
    networkColor(Network)-->cartSvcColor(CartService);

    style baseInfraColor fill:#51cbad
    style networkColor fill:#e21316
    style paymentSvcColor fill:#ecd309
    style cartSvcColor fill:#ecd309
    style storageColor fill:#51abcb
    style databaseColor fill:#51abcb

In this scenario, similarly to the previous one BaseInfra received a push, started running and queued up all of the stacks below. However, Network stack has failed which means that the rest of the runs (PaymentService and CartService) will be skipped.

Same level stacks (Database & Storage) are not affected by the failure.

Scenario 4»

graph TD;
    baseInfraColor(BaseInfra)-->databaseColor(Database);
    baseInfraColor(BaseInfra)-->networkColor(Network);
    baseInfraColor(BaseInfra)-->storageColor(Storage);
    databaseColor(Database)-->paymentSvcColor(PaymentService);
    networkColor(Network)-->paymentSvcColor(PaymentService);
    databaseColor(Database)-->cartSvcColor(CartService);
    networkColor(Network)-->cartSvcColor(CartService);

    style baseInfraColor fill:#51cbad
    style networkColor fill:#51cbad
    style paymentSvcColor fill:#51abcb
    style cartSvcColor fill:#51abcb
    style storageColor fill:#51cbad
    style databaseColor fill:#51cbad

Let's assume that the infrastructure (BaseInfra, Database, Network and Storage) is a monorepo, and a push event affects all 4 stacks. The situation isn't any different than Scenario 2. The dependencies are still respected and the stacks will run in the proper order: BaseInfra first, then Database & Network & Storage in parallel, finally PaymentService & CartService in parallel.

Scenario 5»

graph TD;
    baseInfraColor(BaseInfra)-->databaseColor(Database);
    baseInfraColor(BaseInfra)-->networkColor(Network);
    baseInfraColor(BaseInfra)-->storageColor(Storage);
    databaseColor(Database)-->paymentSvcColor(PaymentService);
    networkColor(Network)-->paymentSvcColor(PaymentService);
    databaseColor(Database)-->cartSvcColor(CartService);
    networkColor(Network)-->cartSvcColor(CartService);

    style baseInfraColor fill:#51cbad
    style networkColor fill:#51abcb
    style paymentSvcColor fill:#51abcb
    style cartSvcColor fill:#51abcb
    style storageColor fill:#51abcb
    style databaseColor fill:#51cbad

If BaseInfra and Database are a monorepo and a push event affects both of them, this scenario isn't any different than Scenario 2 and Scenario 4. The order from top to bottom is still the same: BaseInfra first, then Database & Network & Storage in parallel, finally PaymentService & CartService in parallel.

Trigger policies»

Stack dependencies are meant to be a replacement of trigger policies. There is no connection between the two features, and the two shouldn't be combined ideally to avoid confusion. However, if you have a trigger policy that is not covered by the stack dependencies, you can still use it.

Stack deletion»

A stack cannot be deleted if it has upstream or downstream dependencies. If you want to delete a stack, you need to delete all of its dependencies first.

Ordered Stack creation and deletion»

As mentioned earlier, Stack Dependencies do not aim to handle the lifecycle of the stacks.

Ordering the creation and deletion of stacks in a specific order is not impossible though. If you manage your Spacelift stacks with the Spacelift Terraform Provider, you can easily do it by setting spacelift_stack_destructor resources and setting the depends_on Terraform attribute on them.

Here is a simple example of creating a dependency between two stacks, immediately triggering a run on the parent stack (which cascades to the child stack) and setting up a destructor for them. By setting up a destructor resource with the proper depends_on attribute, it ensures that the deletion of the stacks will happen in the proper order. First child, then parent. This is also an easy way to create short-lived environments.

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# Parent stack
resource "spacelift_stack" "infra" {
  name       = "Base infrastructure"
  repository = "infra"
  branch     = "main"
  autodeploy = true
}

# Child stack
resource "spacelift_stack" "app" {
  name       = "Application"
  repository = "app"
  branch     = "main"
  autodeploy = true
}

# Create the parent-child dependency for run execution ordering
resource "spacelift_stack_dependency" "this" {
  stack_id            = spacelift_stack.app.id
  depends_on_stack_id = spacelift_stack.infra.id

  depends_on = [
    spacelift_stack_destructor.app,
    spacelift_stack_destructor.infra
  ]
}

# Trigger a run on the parent stack, to create the infrastructure
# and deploy the application.
resource "spacelift_run" "this" {
  stack_id = spacelift_stack.infra.id

  keepers = {
    branch = spacelift_stack.infra.branch
  }

  # Make sure the dependency exists before triggering the run
  depends_on = [
    spacelift_stack_dependency.this
  ]
}

# Create the destructor for the parent stack
resource "spacelift_stack_destructor" "infra" {
  stack_id = spacelift_stack.infra.id
}

# Create the destructor for the child stack
resource "spacelift_stack_destructor" "app" {
  stack_id = spacelift_stack.app.id

  depends_on = [
    spacelift_stack_destructor.infra
  ]
}

What happens during terraform apply:

  • Terraform creates the two stacks
  • Sets up the dependency between them
  • Triggers a run on the parent stack (infra)
  • Which in turn automatically triggers a run on the child stack (app) as well

You might notice the two destructors at the end. They don't do anything yet, but they will be used during terraform destroy. Destroy order:

  • Terraform destroys the dependency
  • Destroys the child stack (app) and its resources
  • Finally, destroys the parent stack (infra) and its resources