Small- and medium-sized businesses are in a state of transition. Some organizations have moved part of their infrastructure to the cloud. Others migrated to the cloud a few years ago and could benefit from an upgrade that takes advantage of automation and continuous integration. Others are still starting to design their infrastructure, workloads, and applications to deploy in the cloud and evaluate the options.
Infrastructure as Code (IaC) offers a different approach for managing IT resources proven effective in environments that integrate cloud infrastructure and containerization. IaC combines flexibility, quality control, and low cost of ownership at a time when infrastructure is becoming more complex as more developer tools enter the ecosystem.
Gone are the days when you could deploy servers manually, install an operating system, and configure services, settings, and applications. These manual installs are time-consuming and open to human error. The advent of automated deployments centered around pre-configured binary system images, which improved delivery times but added steps to the process to generate and manage the image. This model turned out to be inflexible when making incremental changes or needing to respond easily to local conditions.
IaC solves many of the problems associated with its predecessors. With IaC, a complete system configuration gets defined in declarative form through a (usually text-based) configuration file. An automation tool then reads the file and builds the system as specified.
The configuration file becomes a specification for the system that can then be reused and adapted. Rather than tweaking a running system when something needs to change, you can update the configuration file and redeploy. Keeping the systems defined in code form maximizes uniformity and reduces the security and maintenance risk associated with on-the-fly undocumented changes.
Terraform is a free, platform-independent IaC solution that is a popular choice for organizations exploring the advantages of DevOps and IaC. Users considering migrating to IaC point to several benefits when importing to Terraform.
- The syntax of Terraform configuration files (in the HashiCorp configuration language) is generally easier to read and visualize than the languages associated with other IaC solutions.
- Terraform also supports a diverse collection of provider plugins that easily integrate the system configuration with other external services.
- Terraform is supported by several leading cloud providers, making it an ideal choice for organizations that operate in a multicloud environment.
- Terraform includes a rich collection of modules—encapsulated components you can use to build your own complex configurations. Browse the Terraform Module Registry to find a ready-made module to meet your needs or build modules if you want to add custom, reusable components to your configurations.
We’re here to help when you’re importing Terraform into your infrastructure. The registered Linode Provider lets you interact directly with your Linode resources and Terraform configurations via the Linode API.
If you’re exploring the security and cost-of-ownership benefits of IaC, our free eBook and audiobook, Declarative Cloud Infrastructure Management with Terraform, will help you understand the underlying concepts of Terraform, declarative cloud infrastructure management, and key basics of Terraform’s language, the Hashicorp Configuration Language.