5 building blocks for a successful Terraform implementation

11. May 2021

If you’re looking to implement Terraform, are you aware that Terraform alone isn’t going to cut it? Sure, it’s a great tool, but have you thought about how it integrates with your IT landscape? And about retraining your operational engineers? To help you, we present 5 building blocks to really future-proof your infrastructure with a successful implementation of Terraform. 

We’ve tried it all before, haven’t we: in order to reduce complexity, we introduce another piece of technology and think we’ve found the holy grail. Only to discover a few months later that the technology in itself is just another piece of equipment. You’re not going to repair any leaks just by having a wrench in your shed. However, it is a great tool if you know what you’re trying to achieve and if you know how to use it effectively. 

The same’s true for HashiCorp’s Terraform. It is a great piece of equipment for managing your infrastructure, lean and mean. Nevertheless, if you just buy the tool, but have no clue how it best serves your business, you’ll be wasting your money. Which of course, is a shame, because the opportunities Terraform offers are a game-changer for any company wanting to safely provision, and easily manage and scale a multi-cloud infrastructure using only code.

But not to worry, we’ve got you covered. We offer you the five building blocks for successful implementation and use of any Terraform roll-out: 

1. Coding your infrastructure with Terraform

It’s a bit of an open door of course, but in order to work with Terraform, you’ll need to learn how to work with it. Obviously, you could experiment yourself, it’s that easy; but if you want someone to show you the ropes, you can always follow our training. We’ll teach you how to build, change, and destroy infrastructure. But you won’t just learn how to work with the easy, human-readable configuration language, because the training will also cover the following aspects. 

2. The role of testing in successful infrastructure as code

Thinking about testing before you embark on your infrastructure as code journey is important for two distinct reasons. First: your developers have a clear idea about the goals you want to achieve and the requirements the infrastructure needs to meet. They’ll be checkmarking their way through their work and that’ll be very satisfying. Secondly: you’ll make sure the written code actually does what it should do, and you’re ensuring that connected, previously written code isn’t negatively impacted. 

3. Knowing what you did and when with GIT version control

It’s not only testing that ensures that your infrastructure as code works, we encourage you to use GIT for version control as well. GIT enables you to track the changes you’ve made to your code. This is essential if you want to know exactly what you have changed over time. Reverting to specific versions is also possible with GIT. When you’re working as a team on the code, GIT can combine changes made by multiple people, merging them into one version. In other words: GIT helps you keep control over your infrastructure as code.

4. How does Terraform land in your ecosystem?

Terraform is never a standalone product but is often integrated with other on-prem and cloud technologies. Therefore, before you deploy Terraform, you need to know its dependencies and how well it all works together. Plus: have you considered the open source nature of Terraform and your journey to the cloud? Terraform is not only a fine tool for managing your single-cloud infrastructure, but it’s also ideal for managing all your clouds. You’ll be able to match different workloads with different clouds, making it possible to build a vendor-independent infrastructure, ensuring that your company is agile, flexible and scalable. 

5. Building a developers’ culture

Last, but certainly not least: when you’re adopting infrastructure as code and Terraform, you have to think about retraining your operational engineers and building a culture in which thinking in code is encouraged. For example: a machine is not a pet, but more like a herd of cattle. This means that you don’t manually manage each machine, but use code to manage all your machines. Future-proof your company by thinking like a developer, solving issues with code, and scaling up as you grow. 

How we can help

These 5 building blocks will help you successfully implement Terraform and use it to achieve your goals. As we’ve said, our Terraform training will not only help you understand its syntax, it will help you with all the other steps as well: start with testing, learn how to use GIT, let it land in your ecosystem and build a developers’ culture. Are you ready to take the next step towards a future-proof infrastructure?

Sign up for the training!