Exploring Cloud Agility: Delving into HashiCorp Terraform

What does HashiCorp Terraform do?

HashiCorp Terraform is a software solution empowering cloud engineers and architects to articulate infrastructure as code. Leveraging the HashiCorp Configuration Language (HCL), engineers can specify and furnish public or private cloud infrastructure on demand. In essence, developers craft configuration files delineating the desired end state of their infrastructure. Subsequently, HashiCorp Terraform interprets these configuration files and orchestrates the creation, modification, or removal of remote infrastructure as necessary.

Terraform follows a simple three step process:

  • Write – Infrastructure is designed and defined in configuration files
  • Review – Infrastructure architects check the changes that will be executed
  • Apply – Terraform makes the specified infrastructure changes and updates a state file to confirm completion

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Terraform has been designed for use with a wide range of platform resources, from cloud infrastructure platforms (public and private) to software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) offerings. Using “Terraform Providers” the software creates and manages resources on remote platforms and services via their native APIs.

The Terraform Registry contains details of thousands of pre-written providers, allowing users to manage infrastructure across well-known services including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Kubernetes, Helm, GitHub, Splunk and DataDog. Developers can also write their own Terraform Providers if required, allowing the software to be used with any infrastructure.

It is worth noting that developers can use JSON for infrastructure declarations if they prefer.

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Is the HashiCorp Terraform framework free?

Terraform has a limited, low-volume free service that allows developers to test the software and its capabilities with up to 500 resources. Beyond that cap, HashiCorp Terraform is billed per hour per resource.

There are also advanced licensing options for enterprise class organisations or those with additional security, compliance, and operational requirements that can only be satisfied with a self-managed installation. These ‘Plus’ and ‘Enterprise’ plans are priced according to the client’s specific needs and usage.

How challenging is HashiCorp Terraform to learn?

HashiCorp Terraform employs a bespoke declarative language for infrastructure provisioning. The HashiCorp website offers a plethora of tutorials to facilitate developers in mastering it. Moreover, there exists an official HashiCorp Terraform Certification pathway for developers seeking credentials to validate their proficiency.

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What are the key features and capabilities of HashiCorp Terraform?

There are several benefits available when using HashiCorp Terraform:

  • Automated provisioning Composing infrastructure as code allows your architects to define finished state deployments in advance. This reduces deployment time and cost, and ensures your new infrastructure is available immediately.
  • Multi-cloud provisioning Best-of-breed solutions use services from multiple providers, potentially increasing time to deployment. Again, pre-configuration allows you to deploy and manage services from multiple providers – in one place.
  • Enhance CI/CD workflows Increasing workflow automation is an essential aspect of CI/CD. And with HashiCorp Terraform you can automate infrastructure processes for additional productivity gains.
  • Strengthen security and compliance Using infrastructure as code you can pre-define deployments, ensuring that they meet your security and compliance requirements and reducing the risk of missed configurations.
  • Reusable modular approach HashiCorp Terraform configuration files can be used and reused as required. Infrastructure can be created, destroyed and recreated as part of any workflow on demand accelerating deployments and encouraging module reuse to reduce development time.
  • Extensible functionality Terraform can be used alongside other HashiCorp products like Sentinel and Vault to further extend functionality and enhance your remote infrastructure applications and services.

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Who uses HashiCorp Terraform?

HashiCorp Terraform boasts extensive adoption and is relied upon by a multitude of renowned companies spanning diverse industries. Notable users include Petronas, Decathlon, Deutsche Bank, and Red Ventures. These entities utilize HashiCorp Terraform to streamline and automate their infrastructure management workflows, showcasing the platform’s adaptability and dependability. 

Furthermore, Terraform cultivates a vibrant community platform where users exchange insights, seek assistance, and contribute to ongoing enhancements. The wide-ranging user base and collaborative community reinforce Terraform’s status as a premier solution for orchestrating infrastructure as code in intricate and dynamic settings.