What is Terraform?
Terraform is a tool for quickly and securely adapting, modifying, and building infrastructure. It may manage both well-known and established service providers, as well as create in-house solutions.
In this article, we will go into the WHAT and WHY of Terraform. We’ll go over the basics and important components.
Before we begin with Terraform, let’s quickly have a glance at the topics we will be covering:
Points to be Discussed:
- More about Terraform
- What is Terraform used for?
- Architecture and Functioning of Terraform
- Why is Terraform popular in DevOps?
- Examples of Terraform
- The Importance of Terraform
- Benefits of Terraform
- Challenges of Terraform
Watch this video on Terraform, before going ahead, for a clearer understanding.
More about Terraform:
- Terraform is an infrastructure as code (IaC) tool that allows you to build, edit, and version infrastructure in a safe and efficient manner.
- This includes both low-level components such as computing instances, storage, and networking and high-level components such as DNS entries and SaaS services.
- Terraform can manage both existing service providers and new internal solutions.
What is Terraform used for?
Terraform can be used in numerous ways, some of them are listed below:
- Terraform can build public and private cloud infrastructure, network appliances, and software as a service (SaaS).
- Support for numerous cloud services in the software tool improves failure resistance.
- Terraform allows any resource collection in a multi-tier system to be flexibly scaled up or down as needed.
- Self-service clusters – the registries enable users to readily access predefined configurations that may be utilized as is or customized to meet specific requirements.
- SDN – Because Terraform is so readable, network engineers may easily code SDN settings.
- Kubernetes can schedule Docker containers and stop and restart AWS resources thanks to Terraform modules.
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Architecture and Functioning of Terraform
Terraform’s architecture is comprised of two major components:
- Terraform Core
Terraform core receives input from two sources.
- The first input source is a Terraform configuration created by you as a user.
This is where you specify what needs to be constructed or provided.
- The second input source is a state in which Terraform keeps the most recent configuration of the infrastructure.
- As a result, Terraform Core takes the input and creates a plan for what needs to be done. It compares the state, the current state, and the desired configuration in the end result.
- As a result, Terraform Core takes the input and creates a plan for what needs to be done. It compares the state, the current state, and the desired configuration in the end result. It specifies what changes must be made to the configuration file to attain the desired state. It computes what must be generated, updated, and removed in order to construct and provision the infrastructure.
- The second design component is providers for certain technologies. AWS, Azure, GCP, and other infrastructure as service providers could be used. It also offers higher-level components like Kubernetes and other platform-as-a-service technologies, as well as some self-service software.
- It allows you to build infrastructure on numerous levels.
Build an AWS infrastructure, then deploy Kubernetes on top of it, and then construct services/components within that Kubernetes cluster.
- Terraform offers over a hundred providers for diverse technologies, with each provider offering access to its resources to Terraform customers. So, for example, you can have access to hundreds of AWS resources such as EC2 instances, AWS users, and so on through an AWS provider.
- With a Kubernetes provider, you have access to commodities, resources such as services and deployments, namespaces, and so on.
That is how Terraform works, and it aims to assist you in supplying and covering the full application setup, from infrastructure to application.
Why is Terraform popular in DevOps?
- Terraform has shown to be a valuable tool in the DevOps industry for a variety of purposes, all of which fall solely on the shoulders of every DevOps employee.
- Terraform will apply the status of the infrastructure regardless of its current condition. Terraform is idempotent, which means you can run it as many times as you like and it will simply ignore any modifications that are required if no updates are required.
- Terraform does not make any distinctions between cloud providers and can manage a multi-cloud system. Terraform natively supports Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure, and other cloud service providers. Terraform can manage up to five different cloud environments with a single configuration file.
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Examples of Terraform
- Make Use of Several Clouds
We can use more than one public cloud provider to provide some failure tolerance for our application. If a cloud provider’s cloud services for a given region fail, the application can keep running if it is configured to use alternate cloud providers. It is also common practice to keep some resources on-premises while utilizing a hybrid system that mixes private and public cloud services.
- Terraform is cloud-agnostic
It can deploy apps across several clouds quickly and consistently. Terraform eliminates the need to use cloud provider-specific deployment tools. Instead, when interacting with multiple clouds, we may have a consistent experience.
The Importance of Terraform
- The Terraform state file keeps track of all changes made to an environment.
- It provides an effective method for bundling and reusing standard code through the use of modules.
- Its modules are equivalent to scripting or programming language functions or procedures.
- State files can also be used as a data source in other Terraform projects.
- It is advantageous to convert HCL code to JSON.
- It makes minor changes to resources.
Benefits of Terraform
- Support for several cloud platforms; incremental resource updates; software-defined networking support; the ability to import existing resources to a Terraform state; and the ability to lock modules before making state changes to ensure that only one user can make changes at a time.
- Does coordination as well as configuration management.
- Supports a wide range of providers, including AWS, Azure, Oracle, Google Cloud Platform, and many more.
- Provide an immutable architecture that enables easy configuration changes.
- Transferable to a different supplier.
Challenges of Terraform
- Bugs may exist in new releases and updates.
- The infrastructure and the states must constantly be in harmony.
- Customers that do not select JSON will be forced to learn a new language, according to HCL.
- It does not handle errors.
- It can be tough to rename resources and move them deeper within modules.
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Terraform is an excellent and rapidly expanding IaC solution that will surely increase the productivity of DevOps installations.
Terraform offers various advantages to both developers and businesses. This open-source solution, which communicates with all major cloud service providers, can help you streamline your business goals and boost your DevOps projects to new heights of success.
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