Cloud SecurityTill Oberbeckmann5 min read

Infrastructure as Code: What does Terraform offer?

Terraform is an infrastructure-as-code software that lets you create a command center for managing your IT infrastructure.

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Terraform creates a command center for centralized control of your IT infrastructure. How does it work and what are the benefits of Infrastructure as a Code for your organization? We explain.

Centralized and Digital Control of your IT Infrastructure with Terraform

Software, platforms, infrastructure - IT in the average enterprise is growing. As it grows, so do the challenges of effectively managing a diverse infrastructure.

Terraform is infrastructure-as-code software that lets you create a command center for managing your IT infrastructure. To do this, Terraform forms an abstraction layer that unifies all resources and describes them in a common configuration language. The syntax is called HashiCorp Configuration Language. It uses blocks, arguments, and expressions to describe the infrastructure as code.

Benefits of Infrastructure as Code

An organization's IT infrastructure consists of software, hardware, platforms and servers. Each of these resources is provided by different vendors. Each resource must be configured and managed separately. It must be ensured that the service works with the other systems and that there are no security gaps that attackers could exploit. So managing infrastructure quickly becomes very costly and makes it difficult to respond to challenges in a timely and flexible manner.

With Infrastructure as Code, they create a centralized view of resources and infrastructure that everyone can understand thanks to common, standardized language. You collect the entire infrastructure in the Terraform Workspace. Here you store variables, state files, credentials and secrets. Schedule diagram. Instead of having to manage each resource separately, you revise text files in Terraform. These text files contain the configuration that is passed through the provider's API.

Before implementing changes to the configuration, Terraform Plan gives you an overview of the changes, including the costs incurred.

In addition, once resources are built, Terraform makes them reusable.
Once built and mapped in Terraform, you build entire cloud infrastructures and duplicate them at will. As a result, you shorten release cycles and respond more quickly to changing requirements. To increase the performance of a server, you no longer have to manually equip it with new hardware; your infrastructure automatically scales with it.

Terraform is now supported by all major cloud providers, so integrating existing resources via ready-made interfaces is straightforward. In addition to Terraform, there are several alternative solutions, which you can find here in an overview.

Perform Static Code Analysis in Terraform with TFLint

Terraform translates your IT infrastructure into code. Like anywhere code is deployed, misconfigurations can occur and become a security problem. The compilers of most programming languages today have static code analysis tools built in. Terraform itself can only find errors

For example, if you reference a non-existent instance in the code at the vendor, it will result in an error message when you run Terraform Apply. But the Terraform validation tool does not detect the error because it has no information about the vendor-specific conditions.

TFlint (find the Github repository here) solves this problem by detecting such errors in the syntax up front, making it much easier to fix. After installation, running the faulty code with TFlint helps you implement such automated analysis routines that improve infrastructure security.

Infrastructure as Code: Managing Infrastructure Effectively & Securely

Infrastructure as Code helps organizations effectively and centrally manage and control an increasingly complex infrastructure. Auditing is very easy at any time because there is no need to manually analyze each resource, but all information is presented in one language - as code. TFlint complements Terraform and an important code analysis tool that allows them to quickly detect and fix vendor-specific syntax errors. Together, Terraform and TFLint form a powerful tool for meeting the management challenges posed by increasingly complex IT.


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