With the arrival of DevOps and Infrastructure as a Cde ( IaC), the need of setting up infrastructure manually has reduced a lot. Although, manual infrastructure setup is not a big deal for sysadmins. But when it comes to managing multiple resources from various providers, including GCP, AWS, and Azure, setting up infrastructure manually slows down the operations. Thanks to DevOps and IaC every business can get their infrastructure configured automatically.
Today, we are going to discuss one tool which generates IaC i.e., “Terraform”.
What is Infrastructure as Code (IaC)?
Just like the application source, infrastructure can be maintained as code, and can be developed as a Code and managed under version control. This allows engineers to test, review, modify, reuse, and maintain their setup.
Moreover, with IaC, Systems can be managed, deployed, and delivered automatically and quickly. Terraform, Azure ARM templates, and AWS CloudFormation are some tools available for IaC. Today, we are going to discuss Terraform in detail.
What is Terraform?
Terraform is a Go language-based open-source equipping tool from HashiCorp. Unlike, configuration management tools, equipping or provisioning tools like Terraform majorly manage server creation and associated services. Terraform automates the infrastructure set up of a business using IaC on both cloud and on-premise.
Terraform and the HashiCorp community have written over 1700 providers by far. The responsibility of these providers is to manage thousands of different kinds of services as well as resources.
Moreover, these providers allow Terraform to virtually collaborate with any service or platform with a unique and accessible API.
Examples of some publicly available providers:
Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Kubernetes, Amazon Web Services (AWS), DataDog, GitHub, Splunk, etc.
Terraform plan command generates an execution plan which allows you to preview all the changes that Terraform has made to your infrastructure.
To create a plan, terraform reads the stats of currently existing remote objects, and compares the current and previous configuration. This analysis helps the tool to note down all the differences, and propose new modifications that, if applied, game up the configuration of remote objects.
Important Terraform Concepts:
- Resources: Declare resources by documenting the Syntax.
- Data sources: Allow existing resources (which were not generated by Terraform) to be addressed and used by terraform.
- Modules: It’s a parameter used to package and reuse resource arrangements. In general terms, it is a container for multiple resources collaborating.
- Output values: It returns values for a Terraform module. Without any additional arguments, the output will show all of the output values for the root module.
- Input Variables: Users can customize behavior with input variables without editing the source.
- Local values: It’s a feature to name different expressions.
Important Commands of Terraform
Terraform init: It starts the working directory consisting of Terraform configuration files, that can be checked from source control.
Terraform version: It tells which Terraform version is currently installed on your system.
Terraform fmt: It rewrites the terraform configuration files into canonical style and format
Terraform providers: Highlights the providers’ requirements in the working directory.
Terraform destroy: It allows you to destroy all of the remote objects managed by a particular configuration of terraforming.
Terraform import: This command is used to import resources created under some other means under the umbrella of Terraform arrangement.
Terraform validate: With this command, you can check whether a configuration is internally consistent and syntactically valid.
Terraform apply: Apply all the actions proposed under Terraform plan.
Terraform show: This command offers a human-readable output from a plan file. This can either be used to inspect the current state or to be sure of what planned operations are expected.
Benefits of Terraform:
Employing Terraform is a great decision to manage multiple resources and servers without manual effort. Following are some of the most prominent benefits of Terraform you should know about.
Terraform can store local variables, including passwords and cloud tokens on Terraform registry in encrypted form. Furthermore, the configuration files of Terraform define the infrastructure resources to be managed. Besides, it can create an applicable plan, alongside executing and managing it continuously.
Terraform liberates you from the stress of switching providers regularly. Now you can use one language and one tool to define the infrastructure for AWS, Google Cloud, OpenStack, etc.
Productive community ecosystem
While picking a technology, you also choose a community to learn that tool and help that community with that technology. The community ecosystem has a substantial impact on managing your work with that particular technology and tool. Terraform’s ecosystem is pretty convenient. It’s easy to collaborate with and very simple to use yourself and make other people aware of its modules.
Terraform’s central registry allows users to collaborate with other teams and individuals on infrastructure.
Ease of full-stack deployment
You can manage the entire system from a single tool alongside running Amazon instances and running Kubernetes containers with the workload.
Terraform is not agent-based
Another appealing feature of Terraform is that it does not need to install any software on the managed infrastructure. Moreover, most of the automation and IaC tools are agent-based, but Terraform liberates its users from this hassle.
All you need to do is to select the appropriate cloud provider and it will work for you. You can also create variables to make generic templates. You can reuse these templates for multiple resources or environments.
So, we hope you’ve been able to learn about the fundamentals of Terraform from this post. We’ve discussed what Terraform is, how it works, and what are the major benefits of using this IaC tool for your business. Stick around to learn more about DevOps tools and how they are changing the face of every business in this digital era.