The blog is a brief introduction to Infrastructure as Code and how you can get started with it using Terraform. Even though Terraform can be used with various cloud providers, the post primarily focuses on deploying the resources to GCP.

What is Infrastructure as Code?

Infrastructure as Code tools enables you to manage infrastructure with configuration files instead of doing it through a graphical user interface. You can use IaC to create, change, and manage the infrastructure in a consistent and safe way by defining resources that you can share and reuse.

In simple words, Infrastructure as Code is the process to provision and manage IT infrastructure with the help of configuration files.

Here are the approaches of IaC-

Declarative: It defines the desired state of the system, including the resources you need and the properties it needs to have.

Imperative: Using this approach, you can define the desired configuration as the sequence of commands, which have been executed in a specific order.

What are the Benefits of Infrastructure as Code?

Let’s take a look at the benefits of infrastructure as code offers to people in a product role.

  1. Reduced Risk

Provisioning the whole infrastructure by hand can be a little risky. It needs manual work that is prone to error. If a single person is taking care of it and he/she leave the company, they take the knowledge away with them. But with Infrastructure as Code can reduce these risks.

Infrastructure as Code is less prone to error. It is live in the source code repository. So, any changes made will be visible to the entire team.

  1. Consistent and Stable Environment for Speedy Iterations

When environments need to be modified manually, the product development slows down. It is particularly true if the product architecture has to be changed to serve the users better. Infrastructure as code environments is consistent, stable, and can be modified without any hassle. It lives in code along with the product. Hence, when you have to change one, you can change the other at the same time. It means new features can be added to the product at a faster pace.

  1. Self-Documenting

In the world of software development, it is believed that good code can be easier to read. Often, it doesn’t require extensive comments as it is already clear what the code is doing. The new developer can come in, check the code, and understand its logic. It is self-documenting as other code. So, it makes it easier to add more people to the team for the product. The self-documenting code helps in reducing the time taken for any new developer to get on board.

  1. Saves Money

Since the resources are represented in code, it is easy to understand what’s running and what isn’t. Cost optimization helps in maintaining the profit margin. Infrastructure as Code makes cost optimization easier.

What is Terraform?

Terraform is an open-source infrastructure as a code tool introduced by HashiCorp. It enables the users to define both cloud and on-premises resources in human-readable configuration files, which can be reused, shared, and versioned. Terraform is used for managing high-level resources, as well as low-level components.

It is a declarative tool that helps in simplifying user experience by enabling users to specify the specific state of resources without the requirement to mention the exact steps for achieving the expected state of resources. The open-source infrastructure as a code tool manages how infrastructure has to be modified to get the required result.

What are the Benefits of Using Terraform?

Here are a few benefits you can start enjoying if you start to use Terraform.

  1. Better Multi-Cloud Infrastructure Deployment

Terraform can be applied to the multi-cloud scenario. Thus, similar infrastructure is deployed on all local data centers or cloud providers. Developers can apply the same configuration file and tool to manage the resources simultaneously of various cloud providers.

  1. Infrastructure as Code

Using Terraform, you can use code for managing and maintaining the resources. Thus, you can store the infrastructure status, and track the changes in various components of the system. This makes it easier for you to share the configuration with other developers.

  1. Automated Infrastructure Management

Terraform creates configuration file templates for provisioning, defining, and configuring ECS resources in a predictable and repeatable manner. This, in turn, management and deployment errors can be caused by human intervention. Furthermore, Terraform can deploy the same template several times for creating the same development, production, and testing environment.

  1. Low Improvement Cost

The creation of an on-demand deployment and development environment can help in reducing the cost. Also, you can evaluate the environment prior to making system changes.

  1. Easy Rollbacks

Like all configurations are version controlled and the state will be managed, users can safely and easily roll back the majority of the infrastructure configuration without even complicating reconfigurations.

How to Use Terraform?

Start to use Terraform just by installing it in the local environment. It supports Linux, macOS, and Windows environments. Terraform offers users the choice to install manually with a pre-compiled binary or just use a package manager, such as Chocolatey on Windows, Yum on Linux, and Homebrew on Mac. It will provide the user with the flexibility to install Terraform in the environment and then integrate it into the workflows.

Terraform Cloud is another managed solution provided by HashiCorp. It offers users a platform to take care of the infrastructure on all supported providers without the trouble of managing or installing Terraform itself.

Some of the features included in Terraform Cloud are-

  • Version controls
  • Remote encrypted state storage
  • Complete auditable environment
  • Direct CD/CI integrations
  • Cost estimations prior to applying infrastructure changes in all supported providers

Bottom Line

Terraform is a robust Infrastructure as a code tool with the goal to offer the best balance between features and user-friendliness. Its platform-agnostic and declarative nature will enable the tool to be used in every supported environment without even learning new platform-driven and vendor-locked tools.

With a consulting experience of 15 years, Buoyant Cloud is an expert in Terraform and Google Cloud Platforms. We have helped businesses in their digital journeys and walked them through from scratch till deployment. Get in touch with our GCP architects and cloud engineers for a free consultation.