Terraform: What is it? Key Characteristics, Importance, and Application
There are various applications and meanings for the word “infrastructure.” To support, control, develop, provide, monitor, or test IT services, infrastructure in the context of information technology refers to a combination of hardware, software, facilities, services, and networks.
The right infrastructure may be all that stands in the way of a successful, smoothly-operating corporation in today’s IT-driven environment. However, the emergence of the cloud has given the IT industry a new dimension, bringing with it new opportunities, difficulties, and functionality.
Users can now do IT tasks in a new way thanks to infrastructure as code. Recent improvements, however, require instruments to facilitate smoother operation.
Today, we’re attempting to provide an explanation of Terraform, a potent and useful IaC tool. We will look at Terraform’s definition, capabilities, importance, and application. Starting off by defining Terraform will be helpful.
In science fiction, terraformers are professionals who can transform a lifeless, desolate planet into one that can support life and support colonisation.
Terraform is “…an infrastructure as code (IaC) tool that enables you to build, modify, and version infrastructure safely and effectively,” according to the product website. This covers both high-level and low-level components, such as DNS records, SaaS features, storage, and networking, as well as compute instances, storage, and networking. Both current service providers and unique in-house solutions can be managed by Terraform.
Running and managing infrastructures is difficult. Many infrastructures contain many configurations and components, and they are frequently dispersed among several cloud vendors. And to make matters even more complicated, certain teams might require a specific variant of the current infrastructure.
Users can use Terraform as a tool to build, modify, and version infrastructure effectively and safely. It’s fantastic for developers, cloud engineers, devops engineers, and IT professionals, and it’s a crucial skill for every applicant to have when applying for one of those positions.
How come infrastructure is coded?
Infrastructure as Code, or IaC for short, is described by Red Hat as “…the managing and provisioning of infrastructure using code rather than through human processes.” It is simpler to change and share configurations when using IaC since users can build configuration files that contain the infrastructure specifications. Additionally, Infrastructure as Code guarantees that you always provision the same environment. By codifying and documenting configuration specifications, IaC also makes configuration management simpler and helps prevent ad hoc, undocumented configuration modifications.
Developers no longer have to manually manage operating systems, storage, servers, and other infrastructure components each time they deploy or create an application since IaC for infrastructure provisioning automation is used.
The Core Components & Providers of Terraform
The two main parts of Terraform are Terraform Core and Terraform Plugins.
Terraform Core: This part keeps track of how configuration files are read and interpolated, resource plans are carried out, state management tools are used, and resource graphs are updated. Binaries that have been compiled from Go code make up Terraform Core.
Plugins for Terraform define resources for certain services, such as initialising the libraries required to make API calls and authenticating infrastructure providers. Terraform Plugins are developed in the Go programming language as executable binaries for either a particular server or as a provisioner, just as Terraform Core.
The resource types are implemented by providers, which are plugins. On behalf of the user, they contain all the necessary code to authenticate and connect to a particular service, typically from a public cloud provider. 100 cloud service providers are supported by Terraform, including Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Kubernetes, and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.
The provider exposes the specified resources and permits interaction with the relevant API, SaaS, and cloud providers. Resources are commonly defined using the HashiCorp Configuration Language, regardless of the provider being used (HCL).