Are you looking for a way to streamline and standardize your cloud releases on AWS without cloud expertise? In this article, OverIT shares details on their Next-Gen FSM Platform. Learn how to break down complex workflows into simpler parts configurations and discover the benefits behind this innovative platform.
Introduction: cloud automation
The use of cloud automation for a company that exploits this precious online resource brings multiple benefits. Beyond the automatic execution of tasks in the cloud, automation ensures a faster deployment of a company’s new projects. This approach especially benefits developers because it makes accessing computing resources for new applications easier without going through the usual approval hierarchies. In addition, cloud automation allows system administrators to control cloud environments better and increase performance.
The benefits of cloud automation
There are numerous advantages to cloud automation, these are some of the most important ones:
- Cost savings
- Time reduction
- Simplification of processes
- Scalability and flexibility
Terraform Cloud: what is it and why to choose it
Terraform Cloud, in particular, is an ideal choice for those interested in exploring cloud automation. It allows to:
- Improve multi-cloud infrastructure deployment
- Reduce development costs
Also, the OverIT team explains more details about why Cloud Terrarofm is the way to go when devising a Cloud Automation strategy: “Because with the previous implementation, we were using IaC tools provisioned directly by AWS. With this solution, we can reuse the old code in AWS Service Catalogue with a multi-cloud pipeline approach”, they conclude.
An AWS automation strategy explained
In 2023, Terraform will be one of the essential tools for managing your infrastructure. This IaC (Infrastructure as Code) technology, compatible with the most famous cloud platforms, allows you to manage your infrastructure via configuration files rather than a graphical interface.
Below is an example of the high-level architecture:
Terraform Cloud: what are the benefits?
Manage your infrastructure quickly and effectively
The primary benefit of Terraform is its ability to save time. Indeed, thanks to the configuration files, you can provision, define or parameterize your resources in a repeatable and predictable way – this significantly reduces deployment and administration errors.
Likewise, you can deploy the same model numerous times in the same development, test, and production environment. These environments can be created on demand.
Traditional methods of deployment can take days or even weeks. While the complete deployment of your infrastructure with Terraform usually takes a few minutes. This is also the case for migrations; they are taken care of quickly.
In addition, Terraform applies the “DRY” (Dont Repeat Yourself) approach. Thanks to its modular structure. The tool uses repeatable functions allowing you to automate your manual tasks. Code reusability will save you significant time.
A new feature that will boost your productivity is Terraform composition. Terraform is agentless, so you don’t need to install an agent to use this technology. Terraform can easily be installed and used.
Terraform is then multi-platform, so you can use the same configuration file to simultaneously manage the resources of a wide variety of cloud providers, including:
- AWS (Amazon Web Services)
- GCP (Google Cloud Platform)
- Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
- Alibaba Cloud
DevOps teams can manage all their cloud infrastructures with a unified solution. This results in enormous amounts of time savings.
Optimise the monitoring of your performances
Thanks to the Monitoring as Code feature, Terraform simplifies your monitoring actions. This technology stores the state of your infrastructure to track its changes and share its configurations.
Monitoring as Code revolutionizes traditional monitoring. Indeed, large-scale control is a tedious task. Manual workflows also pose collaboration challenges due to the lack of transparency between different teams.
Monitoring as Code allows an implementation of the agile methodology through the use of CI/CD workflows.
To summarize, Terraform demonstrates a good tracking ability thanks to the following:
- More efficient provisioning that ensures better scalability
- More transparency and easier rollbacks
- Unification of processes in a CI/CD workflow
- Terraform monitoring
Collaboration is enhanced with Terraform, whether for small teams or large enterprises. This is possible thanks to various key features:
State management: It allows complete management across versions of Terraform state files
Centralized plans and applications: Plans and applications are executed and reviewed in one place
The module registry: It allows you to share reusable modules within the same team
Beyond its characteristics, Terraform does not limit its number of users and workspaces. Encryption is provided by Hashicorp Vault, a recognized cybersecurity tool.
With this tool, there is no separate documentation. Instead, the code written for the framework becomes the documentation, a vital asset to ensure transparency within your teams.
Get help from an international community
Terraform is owned by Hashicorp, an American company, one of the world’s leading players in infrastructure automation for multi-cloud settings. The technology is then regularly updated and has a large community (34,100 stars and 1,656 contributors on GitHub in September 2022).
There are at least 120,000 TerraformCloud users and 1,200 companies using Terraform Enterprise. Terraform is present in 45 countries around the world.
A large community allows you to get help on the operation of Terraform and thus correct any errors in your understanding.
Rely on masterless operations
Terraform is masterless; by default, it leverages the cloud providers’ API directly. It, therefore, does not need a master node to keep track of all configurations and distribute updates. The removal of the master node allows a significant saving in infrastructure and maintenance costs.
This makes it an ideal infrastructure management tool if you use multiple cloud providers. Its excellent compatibility, as well as its mode of operation, make it one of the best technologies for large organizations.
OverIT’s success case
With the Next-Gen FSM Platform, there will be no need for cloud expertise to configure the environment: anyone with little Terraform knowledge and the information required to create the new environment can trigger the automation and have the infrastructure up and running in a few minutes.
Here are the components involved in this solution:
– AWS Service Catalogue
– Azure DevOps
The AWS components are deployed and managed with CDK in Python, and the release of new environments is orchestrated with Terraform.
A Terraform module available on our private registry in TerraformCloud handles deploying new environments. Variable files contain the list of all the environments released and pass all the inputs required to release a new infrastructure to the module.
Follow these tips to feel more confident in using Terraform Cloud in your projects:
- Use remote state with versioning and locking;
- Use workspace for multiple environments;
- Use for_each instead of count if it’s possible;
- Never save TF state files in git; they can contain sensitive information in plain text format; – Use modules for code reuse (DIY);
- Use TerraformCloud modules to reuse code, particularly when creating multiple resources or working with multiple environments.
- Use loops such as count and for_each to optimize repetitive resource creation inside your modules, for example, creating multiple subnets using just one resource code block.
- Create releases of these TerraformCloud modules using CI; you have to change the actual version of the new Terraform module before actually using it – this one is for safety.
- Try not to hardcode values inside your resource blocks. Use variables instead and centralize the values with terraform. tfvars file
Another important best practice shared by OverIT is to define reusable components in terraform modules: in OverIt’s Terraform Cloud module, the application requires the information to be provided to deploy the infrastructure.
Thanks to this project, OverIT is now able to drastically reduce the provisioning times of all infrastructure services relating to both containerizable and non-containerizable resources.
This provisioning process is now being applied to more than 200 distinct modules: “We pass the name and the application version to deploy together with the list of parameters in a variable. With this approach, we can deploy over one hundred environments automatically”, their IT team concludes.