8 Reasons to Master Terraform like a Boss
Terraform is a go-to tool in many modern technology stacks. Why?
As a DevOps engineer, you’re required to manage and maintain cloud infrastructure, while simultaneously coding, debugging, and keeping CI/CD pipelines in check. Out of all these tasks, infrastructure management tends to be the grunt work that gets in the way of more interesting, business critical projects. And as a result, automation has become every DevOps engineer’s best friend. A prime example of this is the use of Infrastructure as code (IaC).
IaC helps make DevOps processes more seamless by minimizing the human effort required to maintain a tech stack through creating repeatable scripts and functions. IaC is one approach that lets DevOps teams configure a system’s desired state using declarative specifications. This helps organizations provision infrastructure quickly while enabling smooth integration between various deployment environments.
Terraform is one of the most commonly used IT automation tools and provides a one-stop solution for IaC or serverless infrastructure configuration and management issues.
In this article, we delve into Terraform’s benefits as well as common misconfigurations. But first, let’s start by giving a brief introduction to Terraform.
What is Terraform?
Terraform is an open-source, declarative configuration management system (CMS) that automates infrastructure provisioning through human-readable code. It relies on a state file that contains all of the infrastructure’s configuration details. You can store this state file on any machine or server that has access to it and use it for both cloud-native or on-premises setups. Along with the capabilities of deploying and changing the configuration of your infrastructure, Terraform also offers development standards like version control and testing.
Benefits of Using Terraform
Using Terraform provides engineers with an array of benefits which we’ll discuss below.
1. Developed by HashiCorp
Terraform was developed by HashiCorp, one of the most well-known companies providing innovative open-source tools for infrastructure management using the HashiCorp Configuration Language (HCL). This language is both human and machine-friendly, and although it loosely resembles JSON, its capabilities are far more advanced.
2. Seamless Multi-Cloud Infrastructure Deployment
Because it’s cloud-agnostic, Terraform enables you to provision infrastructure across different cloud providers dynamically. With just a single configuration file, you can easily manage multiple cloud providers and resolve multi-cloud dependencies.
3. Lessens Development Costs
Because Terraform offers on-demand environments, it can significantly reduce your development costs. Using API calls and templates, you can create and decommission environments in just a few easy steps.
4. Quicker Deployments
Terraform automates the process of infrastructure deployment, so it’s faster and less error-prone. Additionally, infrastructure on demand helps provision seamless non-prod QA and load testing environments to facilitate rapid testing and delivery.
5. Facilitates Cross-Functional Collaboration
Terraform supports a DevOps model that facilitates seamless cross-functional collaboration among distributed teams relying on the same infrastructure and processes. This improves visibility and productivity while reducing root cause identification and resolution time.
6. Automated Infrastructure Provisioning and Documentation
Terraform facilities automated provisioning and configuration changes. The platform uses a source file to store configuration details representing the state of your infrastructure, which can be referred to across your organization.
7. Unified Scripting Language
Terraform uses a unified scripting language that acts as a baseline to modify scripts across multiple cloud providers.
8. Terraform Is Modular
The platform supports the concept of modularity and reusability through Terraform modules. These are similar to containers, allowing you to group resources together and create reusable configurations that can be called by other environments.
So What’s the Catch?
As you can see, Terraform offers an array of benefits for engineers looking to automate infrastructure provisioning, but since it requires some manual configurations, many engineers encounter challenges when working with this technology.
Some of the most common pitfalls are:
- Storing secrets in plain text
- Storing state locally
- Missing version control for modules and providers
- Non-reusable modules
- Incorrect directory structure
- Missing configuration documentation
- Mismatching Terraform binary versions
So how can you overcome these common challenges?
Read the full whitepaper to learn how to master Terraform like a boss!