Terraform is an open-source infrastructure as code (IaC) software tool created by HashiCorp. It enables users to define, provision, and manage infrastructure resources across multiple cloud providers and on-premises environments using a declarative configuration language called HashiCorp Configuration Language (HCL), or optionally JSON.

Key Concepts and Features

  • Declarative Configuration: Terraform uses a high-level language to describe the desired end state of infrastructure. This makes configurations human-readable and easier to understand, maintain, and version.
  • Resource Graph: Terraform builds a resource graph that maps dependencies between resources. This allows the tool to parallelize the creation and modification of independent resources, optimizing the provisioning process.
  • State Management: Terraform maintains a state file to track the real-world infrastructure and their corresponding configurations. This enables incremental changes and ensures consistency between the configuration and the actual infrastructure.
  • Providers: Terraform integrates with various providers for cloud platforms (AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform), on-premises environments (vSphere, OpenStack), and SaaS offerings. Providers expand Terraform's capabilities to manage a wide range of resources.
  • Modules: Terraform modules encapsulate reusable infrastructure components, promoting code modularity and maintainability.

Use Cases

  • Multi-Cloud Provisioning: Terraform streamlines the provisioning of infrastructure components across multiple cloud providers, offering a consistent and vendor-neutral approach.
  • Hybrid Cloud Management: It can manage resources in public clouds and on-premises data centers, facilitating hybrid cloud architectures.
  • Configuration Management: Terraform can manage not only the infrastructure itself but also the configuration of virtual machines, containers, and other software components.
  • Disaster Recovery: By codifying infrastructure, Terraform aids in rapidly rebuilding environments in different locations or providers in the event of failures.

Getting Started

  1. Installation: Download and install the Terraform binary from the official website (https://www.terraform.io/).
  2. Define Infrastructure: Create Terraform configuration files (.tf extensions) using HCL to define the desired resources and their configurations.
  3. Initialization: Run terraform init to initialize the working directory and download necessary providers.
  4. Planning: Execute terraform plan to preview changes that Terraform will make to reach the desired state.
  5. Applying: Use terraform apply to create or modify the infrastructure as specified in the configuration.

Example Configuration

provider "aws" {
  region = "us-east-1" 

resource "aws_instance" "web_server" {
  ami           = "ami-xxxxxxxx"
  instance_type = "t2.micro" 

Community and Support

Terraform has a large, active community providing support, tutorials, and custom modules. Official support and enterprise features are available with Terraform Cloud.


Terraform is released under the Mozilla Public License 2.0.