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InfoQ Homepage News Addressing Multi-Cloud Automation, HashiCorp Releases Terraform Cloud

Addressing Multi-Cloud Automation, HashiCorp Releases Terraform Cloud

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In a recent blog post, HashiCorp announced the full release of Terraform Cloud, an open-source SaaS platform for teams to manage their infrastructure-as-code (IaC) workflows. This infrastructure orchestration takes place through cloud-agnostic tools that allow teams to improve their productivity through repeatable automation. This release extends the functionality of their May 2019 announcement of Remote State Management that allowed organizations to store their cloud infrastructure state in a central repository within their SaaS offering.

Terraform Cloud provides teams the ability to use a consistent workflow to collaborate on defining IaC, and also to share state configurations through the management and versioning of infrastructure. With this management, organizations can map dependencies, which allows for automated provisioning that also includes a review/approval process.

One of the challenges of using the Terraform project is managing state files. Anthony Davanzo, a technical product marketing manager at HashiCorp, further explains:

For existing users of Terraform Open Source, state files are stored on machines locally by default. That means collaborating on Infrastructure with a team member involves carefully sharing that file and ensuring that team members update each other when they’ve made changes. That motion gets more complex as both number of state files/workspaces and number of collaborators grow.

There are foundational changes introduced in the Terraform Cloud service that address the management of cloud infrastructure state files. HashiCorp co-founder and CTO Mitchell Hashimoto, explains some of the benefits of adopting Terraform Cloud:

Terraform Cloud simplifies a lot of things. First of all, the state file is pretty much invisible to users. It still exists, but we manage it for you. Second of all, we can provide a lot more security on this access. You can see who is accessing your state file, control who has access to your state file, and more. In addition to that, Terraform Cloud will also version and backup your state file so that you can go back in time and see what your infrastructure looked like in the past, or in the case that something went wrong, you can restore a previous version.

Terraform began as an open-source project in 2014 that has a community of more than 1,300 contributors who have made 25,000 commits. The project initially focused on individual developers and has evolved into an enterprise tool that can be used across teams of developers. 

Terraform Cloud solves many challenges for enterprises that leverage multiple clouds to address infrastructure needs. One of those challenges is imposing consistent management across all cloud infrastructure. Terraform allows organizations to build, manage and govern infrastructure across a large number of cloud vendors and platforms, including support for Microsoft Azure, AWS, Google Cloud Platform, VMware, Alibaba Cloud, Oracle, Kubernetes, Datadog and more.

A number of Terraform Cloud tiers exist including Free, Team and Governance. The Free tier allows for up to five users to collaborate on team state management. The Team version expands on the Free version and provides additional team management capabilities through Role Bases Access Control (RBAC). The Governance version enforces policy-as-code to enforce consistent practices across the organization against multiple clouds. In addition, the Governance version includes cost estimations that predict the new charges for infrastructure before this is deployed.

For a summary of different Terraform versions, please refer to the Terraform licensing page.

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