Composing Serverless Framework services

Deploying multiple services in a monorepository is a very common pattern across larger teams. Serverless Framework Compose is meant to simplify deploying and orchestrating multiple services:

  • Deploy multiple services in parallel
  • Deploy services in a specific order
  • Share outputs from one service to another
  • Run commands across multiple services


Note: Compose is available in Serverless Framework v3.15.0 or greater (Upgrading guide). If Serverless Framework is installed locally (in node_modules/), make sure to upgrade it as well.

Assuming you have an application containing multiple Serverless Framework services, for example:


You can create a serverless-compose.yml file at the root of your monorepository.

In that file, you can reference existing Serverless Framework projects by their relative paths:

# serverless-compose.yml
    path: service-a

    path: service-b
    # If the file is not named "serverless.yml":
    # config: serverless.api.yml

Note: JS/TS configuration files are also supported (serverless-compose.{yml,ts,js,json}).


To deploy all services, instead of running serverless deploy in each service, you can now deploy all services at once by running serverless deploy at the root:

$ serverless deploy

Deploying myapp to stage dev

    ✔  service-a › deployed › 15s
    ✔  service-b › deployed › 31s

In order to limit the number of services that are deployed concurrently, use --max-concurrency flag:

$ serverless deploy --max-concurrency 5

Service dependencies and variables

Service variables let us:

  • order deployments
  • inject outputs from one service into another

This is possible via the ${service.output} syntax. For example:

    path: service-a

    path: service-b
      queueUrl: ${service-a.queueUrl}

Let's break down the example above into 3 steps:

  1. ${service-a.queueUrl} will resolve to the queueUrl output of the service-a service.

    The outputs of a Serverless Framework service are resolved from its CloudFormation outputs. Here is how we can expose the queueUrl output in the service-a/serverless.yml config:

    # service-a/serverless.yml
    # ...
          Type: AWS::SQS::Queue
          # ...
          Value: !Ref MyQueue
  2. Because of the dependency introduced by the variable, serverless deploy will automatically deploy service-a first, and then service-b.

  3. The value will be passed to service-b as a parameter named queueUrl. Parameters can be referenced in Serverless Framework configuration via the ${param:xxx} syntax:

    # service-b/serverless.yml
        # Here we inject the queue URL as a Lambda environment variable
        SERVICE_A_QUEUE_URL: ${param:queueUrl}

Cross-service variables are a great way to share API URLs, queue URLs, database table names, and more, without having to hardcode resource names or use SSM.

Explicit dependencies

Alternatively, it is possible to specify explicit dependencies without variables via the dependsOn option. For example:

    path: service-a

    path: service-b
    dependsOn: service-a

    path: service-c

    path: service-d
      - service-a
      - service-c

As seen in the above example, it is possible to configure more than one dependency by providing dependsOn as a list.

Global commands

On top of serverless deploy, the following commands can be run globally across all services:

  • serverless logs to fetch logs from all functions across all services
  • serverless info to view all services info
  • serverless remove to remove all services
  • serverless outputs to view all services outputs
  • serverless refresh-outputs to refresh outputs of all services

For example, it is possible to tail logs for all functions at once:

$ serverless logs --tail

service-a › users › START
service-a › users › 2021-12-31 16:54:14  INFO  New user created
service-a › users › END Duration: 13 ms ...
service-b › billing › START
service-b › billing › 2021-12-31 16:54:14  INFO  New subscription enabled
service-b › billing › END Duration: 7 ms ...

    ⠴  service-a › logs › 2s
    ⠦  service-a › logs › 2s

Service-specific commands

It is possible to run commands for a specific service only. For example to deploy only a specific service:

serverless deploy --service=service-a

# Shortcut alternative
serverless service-a:deploy

Or tail logs of a single function:

serverless logs --service=service-a --function=index

# Shortcut alternative
serverless service-a:logs --function=index

All Serverless Framework commands are supported only via service-specific commands, including custom commands from plugins, for example:

serverless service-a:offline

Service-specific commands when using parameters

The serverless service-a:deploy command is the equivalent of running serverless deploy in service-a's directory. Both can be used.

However, if "service-a" uses ${param:xxx} to reference parameters injected by serverless-compose.yml, then serverless service-a:deploy must be used. Indeed, ${param:xxx} cannot be resolved outside of Serverless Framework Compose.

In these cases, you must run all commands from the root: serverless service-a:deploy.


The following variables are supported in serverless-compose.yml:

Differences with serverless.yml

The serverless-compose.yml and serverless.yml files have different syntaxes and features.

Unless documented here, expect serverless.yml features to not be supported in serverless-compose.yml. For example, it is not possible to include plugins or use most serverless.yml variables (like ${self:, ${opt:, etc.) inside serverless-compose.yml.

You can open feature requests if you need features that aren't supported in serverless-compose.yml.

Refreshing outputs

The outputs of a service are stored locally (in the .serverless/ directory). If a colleague deployed changes that changed the outputs of a service, you can refresh your local state via the refresh-outputs command:

serverless refresh-outputs

This command has no impact on deployed services, it can be run at any time without unintended side effects.

Removing services

To delete the whole project (and all its services), run serverless remove in the same directory as serverless-compose.yml. This will run serverless remove in each service directory.

To delete only one service:

  1. make sure no other service depends on it (else these services will be broken)
  2. run serverless <service-name>:remove
  3. then remove the service from serverless-compose.yml

If you remove the service from serverless-compose.yml without doing step 1 first, the service will still be deployed in your AWS account.

Remember to do this for every stage you may have previously deployed.


Multi-region deployments

Is multi-region deployment possible via Compose?

It is possible to deploy different services to different regions. For example, deploy service frontend to us-east-1 and service backend to eu-west-3.

However, Compose currently does not support deploying the same service to multiple regions. The reason is that each service is packaged in the .serverless/ directory. If the same service was to be deployed in parallel to different regions, package artifacts would conflict and overwrite each others.

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