Five Reasons Why Your Business Should Use Terraform to Deploy on the Cloud
By Anthony Merrington, Technical Support Engineer at Alibaba Cloud
If you’re working in the IT sector, you’ve probably heard some of the hype surrounding Terraform by HashiCorp. But what exactly are Terraform’s capabilities, and why should your business consider using it?
Put simply, Terraform is powerful infrastructure as code (IaC) tool that allows you to create, update, and control versioning of cloud infrastructure. With Terraform, you can generate and execute plans based on your desired end state and re-provision infrastructure based on configuration changes.
These are all great capabilities, but where Terraform really comes into its own is scenarios involving hybrid cloud and multicloud deployments. In days gone by, managing infrastructure deployed on different cloud providers as well as local data centers could quickly turn into a logistical nightmare, requiring great amounts of time and creating high operations costs. Terraform is an effective solution to this issue, allowing administrators to rapidly deploy and reconfigure infrastructure all from one place, and all at the same time. It is this ability especially that makes Terraform so powerful.
Terraform and Alibaba Cloud
Alibaba Cloud provides integration with Terraform, which allows you to manage Alibaba Cloud infrastructure with greater efficiency. The actual method you use involves the usage of Alibaba Cloud APIs to perform operations on Alibaba Cloud services. You can learn exactly how this works and have a go at achieving a deployment yourself by following the step-by-step best practices tutorial.
The following are some typical use cases for Terraform:
- You need to automate the orchestration of a large number of resources.
- You have developer resources to support the development of Terraform code.
- You need to scale up and down the infrastructure according to variable online workloads.
- You need to deploy a large system that involves a complex topology.
- You need to apply repeated, clearly defined procedures on cloud resources.
- You need to perform orchestration on a large heterogeneous system that involves multi-cloud and hybrid cloud platforms.
Terraform allows you to provision and manage cloud resources with several key operations, such as plan, apply, and destroy, based on the target configurations of your infrastructure.
You can use the Alibaba Cloud provider to integrate Terraform with operations supported by Alibaba Cloud. As mentioned previously, Terraform uses Alibaba Cloud APIs to perform the actual operations on Alibaba Cloud services.
Five Benefits of Using Terraform
So now you know what Terraform is and how it works in practice on Alibaba Cloud. Without further digression then, here are the top 5 reasons why you should start using Terraform today:
1) Improve multi-cloud infrastructure deployment
Terraform applies to multi-cloud scenarios, where similar infrastructure is deployed on Alibaba Cloud, other cloud providers, or local data centers. Developers can use the same tool and configuration file to simultaneously manage the resources of different cloud providers.
2) Automated infrastructure management
Terraform can create configuration file templates to define, provision, and configure ECS resources in a repeatable and predictable manner, reducing deployment and management errors resulting from human intervention. In addition, Terraform can deploy the same template multiple times to create the same development, test, and production environment.
3) Infrastructure as code
With Terraform, you can use code to manage and maintain resources. It allows you to store the infrastructure status, so that you can track the changes in different components of the system (infrastructure as code) and share these configurations with others.
4) Reduced development costs
You can reduce costs by creating on-demand development and deployment environments. In addition, you can evaluate such environments before making system changes.
5) Reduced time to provision
Traditional click-ops methods of deployment used by organizations can take days or even weeks, in addition to being error-prone. With Terraform, full deployment can take just minutes. For example, you can provision multiple Alibaba Cloud services at a time in a standardized way. Both brand new deployments and migrations can be done quickly and efficiently.
In conclusion, Terraform provides many great benefits to businesses and developers. It can help you automate the orchestration of infrastructure across multiple cloud platforms, and help you reach the levels of agility you need to forge a path to success. Terraform is available in both an open source and enterprise version, and is fully integrated with all major cloud providers.
Learn more about Terraform by checking out the following free material:
- Best Practice: tutorial that teaches you step-by-step how to deploy cloud infrastructure by using Terraform (free):
- Related Alibaba Cloud Academy course (free): https://edu.alibabacloud.com/course/212