Terraform - Revolutionizing Infrastructure Management
By Omshree Butani / Aug 11,2022
“Code Your Way to Better Infrastructure Management with Terraform”
This blog will take you on an intriguing voyage to Terraform. Terraform supported AWS and Digital Ocean at the time of its introduction in July 2014.
What is Terraform?
Terraform is used to automate & manage your infrastructure, platform, and services that run on that platform. Terraform is a powerful opensource IaC tool offered by HashiCorp, which uses a declarative approach to create infrastructure.
Problems before Terraform
Before the advent of Terraform, infrastructure management was a tedious, time-consuming, and error-prone process that relied on manual scripts or configuration files. It led to inconsistencies across different environments, making it difficult to track changes, lacking version control and often resulting in dependency issues as varied components relied on each other. As infrastructure grew and became complex, manual management became increasingly difficult to maintain & scale, resulting in frequent errors and slow deployments. Terraform provides a solution by automating infrastructure management and enabling users to define infrastructure as code, thereby eliminating many of the problems associated with manual infrastructure management.
What is Infrastructure as a Code?
Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is a software engineering practice that enables the management of IT infrastructure using code. IaC allows you to define and provision infrastructure resources, such as servers, networks, and storage, using code instead of manual processes. By doing so, it provides a way to automate the creation, modification, and deletion of infrastructure resources. It standardizes infrastructure deployments across different environments. IaC tools allow you to write code that describes your infrastructure in a declarative way, enabling you to track changes, reuse code, and test your infrastructure before deploying it. This approach to infrastructure management offers several benefits, including faster time-to-market, improved agility, and better scalability.
How does Terraform Work?
To create & manage resources on cloud platforms and other services, Terraform leverages application programming interfaces (APIs). Providers enable Terraform to integrate with virtually any platform or service that has an accessible API. Terraform has over 100 providers and 1000 resources.
There are three stages to the Terraform workflow
- The Write stage defines infrastructure in configuration files.
- The Plan stage review the changes that Terraform will make to your infrastructure.
- In the Apply stage Terraform provisions your infrastructure and updates the state file.
TERRAFORM IN JUST 4 COMMANDS!
- Download Terraform and install it on your device. Tap here to download Terraform.
- Set up an AWS account with associated credentials to allow creation of resources.
- Install AWS CLI on your device. Tap here to download AWS CLI.
You should run the Terraform init command after writing your Terraform code or cloning existing Terraform code.
What Does the Terraform Init Command Do?
Terraform init performs following steps to prepare the working directory for Terraform use:
- Backend Initialization
- Plugin Installation
- Child Module Installation
The Terraform plan command does three things:
- Maintains the state of any existing remote infrastructure by reading its current state.
- Analyze the differences between the current configuration and the prior state.
- A series of changes are proposed to make the remote infrastructure consistent with current configuration.
The green + symbol indicates a ‘create’ action. ‘Changes’ are indicated by a yellow ~, and ‘deletions’ are indicated by a - sign.
Actions suggested in a Terraform plan are executed by the ‘apply’ command. It is used to deploy your infrastructure. Normally Terraform init and plan get executed before using Terraform apply.
What Does the Terraform Apply Command Do?
If the apply command is executed without any options, a Terraform plan command will be executed first, followed by a request for the user to agree the planned actions before the modifications are made.
The Terraform destroy command ends the management of the resources in your current Terraform project by deleting the infrastructure resources stored in the state file. Terraform checks the data in the state file against cloud provider APIs before executing the destroy command to ensure its accuracy. To decide which resources should be removed first, it internally constructs a dependency graph.
- Streamlining Infrastructure Provisioning
- Reducing Cost & Complexity
- Enhancing Security & Compliance
- Accelerating Application Deployment
- Improving Infrastructure Visibility
Terraform is a popular tool for infrastructure as code (IaC) but there are also several alternatives available. Here are a few notable alternatives to Terraform:
- AWS CloudFormation
- Docker Compose
- AWS SAM
- Serverless Framework
In Conclusion Terraform is an infrastructure as code tool that revolutionizes infrastructure management. It allows faster deployments, better scalability, and reduced errors. Its multi-cloud support and opensource nature makes it popular among developers and infrastructure teams. It is a powerful tool for achieving infrastructure management goals.