What is Terraform?

Terraform is an open-source tool from HashCorp that helps with infrastructure as code. It lets users define on-premises and cloud resources in configuration files that can be read by humans and are easy to version, reuse, and share. Terraform can be used to manage both low-level and high-level resources. Low-level resources are things like compute, storage, and networking resources (DNS, PaaS, and SaaS components).

Terraform is a declarative tool that makes the user experience even easier by letting users say what they want the state of resources to be without having to say the exact steps to get there. Terraform manages the changes that need to be made to the infrastructure to get the desired result.

Terraform is a platform-independent tool, which means it can be used with any provider that supports it. This is done by Terraform talking to the APIs of cloud providers. When Terraform is used to set up a configuration, it will talk to the required platform through its API and make sure the changes that were set up actually happen on the targeted platform. With the Terraform Registry, the Terraform community’s users can configure resources from top cloud providers like Azure, AWS, GCP, and Oracle Cloud, as well as platforms that are more specialized, like Cloudflare, Dynatrace, Elastic Stack, Datadog, and Kubernetes.

How does the Terraform program operate?

Terraform uses configuration files and version control to design an infrastructure. When a command is given to deploy and run a server, database, or load balancer, Terraform reads the code and turns it into a call to the resource provider’s application programming interface (API). Because Terraform is open source, developers can always add new plugins or make different versions of existing plugins to make the tool more useful.

There are two important parts of Terraform: 

  • Terraform Core
  • Terraform Plugins.

Terraform Core 

Terraform Core manages how resource plan executions, resource graphs, state management features, and configuration files are read and combined. Core is made up of binaries that were written in the Go programming language and then compiled. Each compiled binary is a command-line interface (CLI) that allows plugins to talk to each other through remote procedure calls (RPC).

Terraform Plugins 

Terraform Plugins are in charge of defining the resources that a service needs. Authenticating infrastructure providers and starting up the libraries used to make API calls are part of this. Terraform Plugins are written in Go as executable binaries that can be used as a specific service or as a provisioner. (Provider plugins are used to run commands for a certain resource.)


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