Closing the gaps of Terraform: automation and orchestration
Terraform is a popular infrastructure-as-code (IaC) tool that allows you to define and provision infrastructure resources across various cloud providers and on-premises environments.
Whilst Terraform excels at managing infrastructure provisioning and configuration, it is not particularly strong at automation or orchestration, particularly in complex or hybrid environments - and needs to be supplemented to close its gaps.
Here’s five of the most critical limitations of Terraform:
1) Limited workflow management:
Terraform focuses on resource provisioning and state management, but it lacks advanced workflow capabilities. Orchestration often involves complex sequencing, coordination, and dependency management between different tasks, which goes beyond Terraform's primary competence.
2) Lack of built-in task execution:
Orchestration involves executing tasks in a specific order and managing their interdependencies. Terraform does provide some basic capabilities for task execution through its provisioners, but they are generally intended for simple provisioning tasks and lack the flexibility and sophistication of advanced automation or orchestration tools such as Cloudsoft AMP.
3) Limited error handling and retries:
In complex orchestration scenarios, it's crucial to handle errors gracefully and implement retry mechanisms. While Terraform does offer error handling features, they are basic compared to tools such as Cloudsoft AMP, which provides advanced workflow and retry mechanisms.
4) Missing control flow constructs:
Orchestration often requires conditional execution, loops, and branching logic to handle different scenarios. Terraform's language, HCL (HashiCorp Configuration Language), does not provide extensive control flow constructs for handling such complexities, making it less suitable for intricate orchestration workflows.
5) Lack of event-driven capabilities:
Orchestration often involves responding to events or triggers and dynamically adjusting the workflow accordingly. Terraform primarily operates based on the desired state of the infrastructure and lacks built-in event-driven capabilities, which are essential for sophisticated orchestration.
Addressing Terraform limitations
Whilst Terraform definitely has limitations in automation or orchestration scenarios, it remains a widely used and powerful tool for managing infrastructure-as-code. These gaps however can be closed, with careful planning, using best practices, and supplementing Terraform with complementary automation and orchestration tools like Cloudsoft AMP.
Cloudsoft AMP is a platform-based software tool that offers advanced automation. By codifying your applications and your infrastructure in a declarative model (Environment-as-Code), AMP provides a single, unified control plane to design, manage, automate and govern entire environments; rapidly, consistently, resiliently and at scale.