In today’s evolving digital and cloud ecosystem, building and maintaining infrastructure is a key imperative. The modern cloud computing ecosystem is founded on innovation and pushing the boundaries of technology to address critical enterprise requirements. We’ve come a long way from the simplified, near-novelty status of cloud-based applications of the past. In the last decade, we’ve seen incredible leaps in both cloud proliferation as well as new applications to take cloud infrastructure in more complex directions.
As software becomes more complex, an agile adaptability model is essential for enterprises to stay ahead of the competition. Enterprises need to remodel their infrastructure regularly to facilitate software functionalities. However, this can be challenging to execute. Keeping infrastructure modifications at pace with rapid development cycles can create bottlenecks that cause delivery/deployment delays. This, in turn, can lead to massive losses of time and capital—a far from ideal situation for enterprises and their critical day-to-day operations.
Fortunately, there are solutions which can overcome these hurdles. Infrastructure as Code (IaC) allows users to align infrastructure modifications with application development. It facilitates infrastructure and configuration codification and manages them through the delivery pipeline. IaC also codifies all configuration, infrastructure, and management processes through the delivery pipeline, ensuring faster, automated changes that can be repeated as needed. In short, the proper implementation of IaC solutions translates into increased productivity, better visibility and accountability, greater speed of operations, and lower overall costs for enterprises.
Within the array of IaC solutions available, one of particular value for enterprises seeking to strengthen their infrastructure is Terraform: an open-source, platform-agnostic IaC tool that allows organizations to define and manage infrastructure as modules, at scale.
Terraforming: What it means for enterprise cloud
While it may sound like a term straight out of a science-fiction novel, the value that Terraform can bring to enterprises is very much grounded in reality. Simply put, Terraform allows enterprises to define both on-premises and cloud resources as configuration files that can be read by humans and can be versioned, reused, and shared with ease.
Terraform tools allow organizations to manage and track their infrastructure efficiently and optimally while encouraging collaboration and innovation. The next logical question would be how exactly do they achieve this? The answer – Terraform tools can conduct their operations via a simple, three-step workflow:
- Write: Creating the ideal configurations to define or modify the underlying resources using either HashiCorp Configuration Language (HCL), which is the default, or the Cloud Development Kit for Terraform (CDKTF), which supports a variety of scripts such as C#, Python, Typescript, and Go.
- Plan: Building an execution plan based on configuration files, which enables enterprises to observe the modifications that will happen to the underlying infrastructure.
- Apply: Executing the planned modifications to achieve the ‘desired state’, and automatically identifying resource dependencies. This keeps track of the modifications and detects configurational drifts for rectification as needed. Finally, it creates a state file and keeps updating it after modifications for future reference.
Additionally, Terraform can provide the following capabilities to foster cloud ecosystems:
- Allows enterprises to specify the expected state of resources without the need to specify the exact steps to achieve it.
- Manages compute, storage, networking resources, and other low-level components as well as DNS, PaaS, SaaS components, and other such high-level resources.
- Interacts with the APIs of all cloud providers.
- Communicates with the necessary platform via the API to ensure that the defined infrastructure modifications are carried out on the enterprise platform being used.
- Configures data from AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and OCI onto more domain-specific platforms like Elastic Stack, Kubernetes, Cloudflare, Datadog, and Dynatrace.
Seizing the Terraform advantage
Terraform has quickly established itself as the tool of choice when compared to other IaC solutions, despite its demanding entry process and expensive enterprise plans. This is due to a wide range of advantages that Terraform users can experience when orchestrating their enterprise cloud infrastructure, such as:
- A declarative approach: With this inherent advantage of Terraform, users can set the end-state of their operations, allowing Terraform to automatically complete the necessary steps to achieve user configuration. This is in direct contrast with other IaC solutions that require users to outline the needed steps to create their required user configurations.
- An open-source tool: An open-source model ensures that Terraform evolves in a rapid and agile manner on a consistent basis. Regardless of which cloud service provider your enterprise uses, Terraform has access to a wide range of plugins, extensions, and support from a global pool of contributors.
- Platform-agnostic capabilities: Terraform can conduct its operations from any cloud service platform, thus expanding its capabilities beyond those of other IaC tools.
- Immutable infrastructure: While other IaC tools are vulnerable to bugs and other performance issues as they continue to expand beyond their original capabilities, Terraform configurations replace their configurations in the face of changing infrastructure dynamics. These new configurations are created while considering the new infrastructure changes, which mean they are secure and far less prone to technical issues.
- Reusable configurations: Users can reuse the same configurations for multiple environments with Terraform. Furthermore, set modules allow the solution to create reusable components within the configurations.
- Managed state: In this managed state, all modifications to user configurations are recorded, thus preventing the implementation of any unnecessary changes that don’t have user approval. Additionally, automation capabilities can be added to prevent any configuration drifts, and to fix them in case any such shifts occur.
- Easy rollbacks: Because of its detailed recording and managed state capabilities, Terraform allows users to easily rollback to previous versions of user configurations without having to go through clunky reconfiguration processes.
- CI/CD integration: The simple, three-step workflow for Terraform ensures that it can easily integrate into CI/CD pipelines, thus facilitating the complete automation of cloud infrastructure management.
Stay Terraformed, the NSEIT way
The application landscape will continue to evolve as AI, IoT, AR/VR/XR, and similar technologies mature. Enterprises with the most adaptable and scalable infrastructure will have a powerful edge over competitors. Therefore, choosing the right service provider is a key decision to achieve sustainable infrastructure growth.
NSEIT Limited is a vertical specialist enterprise that offers end-to-end IT solutions, services, and support for 500+ customers across the globe. With over 20 years of expertise across large-scale, complex digital implementations that span multiple industries, we have been recognized as the ‘Trusted Technology and Knowledge Partner’ of choice by our customers.
NSEIT’s unique capabilities and distinct understanding of organizational requirements are essential in implementing Terraform tools which will give you the flexibility and resilience you need. With a team of over 3000 highly specialized professionals along with a suite of cutting-edge solutions to leverage, you can start your cloud infrastructure development today with Terraform solutions from NSEIT.
Authored By:Nirnoy Sinha Chaudhuri