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25 Mar
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Complete Guide On DevOps Terraform (2024)

Stay ahead of the curve with this complete guide on DevOps Terraform. Discover how to streamline your operations and improve efficiency.

Jack Dwyer

Platform Engineering + DevOps

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If you're wondering what is Terraform and how it fits into the world of DevOps, you've come to the right place. This software is an essential part of modern infrastructure management, and understanding how to use it can put you on the fast track to a successful career in DevOps. In this blog, we'll be explaining the basics of Terraform, its main features, and its benefits. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced infrastructure manager or cloud architect, this blog will guide you through the world of Terraform in DevOps. Keep reading to learn more about Terraform in DevOps.

Understanding DevOps Terraform

team working together - DevOps Terraform

DevOps and Terraform are closely intertwined concepts in the realm of software development and operations. While DevOps focuses on unifying software development and IT operations, Terraform plays a distinct role in managing IT infrastructure. DevOps entails a set of practices and philosophies that aim to bring together software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). 

Key elements of DevOps include:

  • Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD)
  • Monitoring and Logging
  • Collaboration and Communication
  • Infrastructure as Code (IaC)

On the other hand, Terraform is an open-source tool used for Infrastructure as Code (IaC), a crucial component of DevOps. With Terraform, users can define and provision data center infrastructure with a declarative configuration language. Terraform provides the ability to define Infrastructure as Code, plan and predict changes, and automate deployments. As DevOps and Terraform work hand in hand to streamline IT infrastructure management, software development and operations teams can enhance their operational efficiency and collaboration, ultimately leading to improved productivity and streamlined workflows. 

Optimizing Infrastructure Management with Zeet

Are you struggling with setting up and managing your infrastructures with Terraform? Zeet helps you get more from your cloud, Kubernetes, and Terraform investments and helps your engineering team become strong individual contributors through our CI/CD & deployment platform. 

Contact Zeet to learn more about how we can help you get seamless cloud deployments every time, and help your team become a top-performing engineering team.

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What are the Core Principles of DevOps Terraform?

core principals of DevOps Terraform


Terraform helps to achieve visibility by providing a complete view of the infrastructure's status and configurations. This is achieved through defining infrastructure as code (IaC). The IaC approach allows all team members, regardless of their roles, to access and understand the infrastructure's configurations and status. The visibility provided by Terraform is instrumental in monitoring the infrastructure and ensuring alignment with organizational requirements and standards.


One of the essential principles of DevOps Terraform is collaboration. By promoting teamwork, communication, and collaboration between development and operations teams, DevOps Terraform ensures that both teams are involved in the infrastructure provisioning process from the early stages of the project. 

This involvement enhances efficiency, reduces communication barriers, and fosters a culture of shared responsibility. The collaboration facilitated by Terraform helps teams to work seamlessly, deliver projects faster, and improve the overall quality of infrastructure management.


Terraform's automation capabilities support efficient infrastructure management by automating tasks and processes associated with infrastructure provisioning. By automating these tasks, teams can save time, reduce the risk of manual errors, and ensure consistency in managing infrastructure resources. 

Automation also allows for the quick deployment of infrastructure and facilitates the scaling of resources based on demand. The automation features of Terraform contribute to operational efficiency and resource optimization.

Continuous Improvement

The ability to continuously improve infrastructure configurations is a critical aspect of effective infrastructure management. DevOps Terraform allows teams to make secure and flexible infrastructure changes as needed. The IaC approach supported by Terraform enables teams to adapt infrastructure configurations to match changing business requirements, technology advancements, and security standards. This adaptability ensures that infrastructure remains up-to-date, secure, and aligned with organizational objectives.

The principles of DevOps Terraform contribute to efficient infrastructure management by providing visibility, promoting collaboration, automating tasks, and supporting continuous improvement. Integrating these principles into infrastructure management practices helps organizations achieve operational excellence, improve agility, and deliver value to customers consistently.

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How to Use Terraform in DevOps

keyboard and notebook on work desk - DevOps Terraform

1. Write Infrastructure as Code (IaC) for Terraform

To start, you need to write your Infrastructure as Code (IaC) using Terraform. This is done by creating Terraform configuration files using the Hashicorp Configuration Language (HCL). This file will define the infrastructure components essential to run your application or manage your entire data center. With IaC, you can automate your infrastructure setup, allowing you to deploy and manage your infrastructure like you would software code.

2. Plan Changes with Terraform

After writing your configuration files, leverage the 'terraform plan' command to preview the changes that Terraform will make to reach the desired state. This preview allows you to review the impact of your configuration changes before applying them. By executing this step, you can ensure that your changes will have the intended effect and won't cause any unforeseen issues.

3. Apply Changes with Terraform

Execute the 'terraform apply' command to apply the changes to your infrastructure. This will create or update the infrastructure as defined in your configuration files. This step is where Terraform makes the necessary adjustments to your infrastructure, ensuring it matches the state you've defined in your IaC files.

4. Monitor and Update with Terraform

To keep your infrastructure up-to-date and aligned with your application requirements, continuously monitor your infrastructure and make updates as needed using Terraform. By proactively making updates, you can ensure your infrastructure remains efficient and effective for your application's needs.

5. Use Terraform Modules for Organizing

To help organize your infrastructure setup into logical components, use Terraform modules. These modules allow you to reduce the amount of code you need to write for related infrastructure components. By leveraging modules, you can streamline your Terraform configurations and make your infrastructure setup more maintainable.

6. Store State Files Remotely

Store your Terraform state on remote backend storage like an AWS S3 Bucket. Doing this will help you avoid complications when multiple users work on the same project. By storing your state files remotely, you eliminate the risk of conflicting changes between team members, ensuring consistency in your infrastructure setup.

7. Use Version Control for Terraform

Treat your infrastructure configurations as application code and apply best practices for managing, testing, reviewing, and bringing it to production. A GitOps approach can help you automate CI/CD workflows for applying changes to your infrastructure configurations. By using version control, you can track changes, collaborate with team members effectively, and ensure that your infrastructure is always up-to-date.

8. Collaborate and Share with Terraform

Enable usage across teams with self-service infrastructure, apply policies and compliance according to your organization's standards, and access relevant insights and information. By collaborating and sharing your Terraform configurations, you can promote a culture of sharing and continuous improvement within your team. With Terraform, you can ensure that your infrastructure setup meets the needs of your organization and helps you achieve your business goals.

How Can I Get Started with DevOps Terraform?

Start Small: Transitioning to Infrastructure as Code

When starting with DevOps Terraform, the first thing to remember is to start small. Do not try to automate everything at once. Instead, choose a small, manageable project. This could simply be a virtual machine or a simple web application. The goal is to get started and build confidence. Terraform is an Infrastructure as Code (IAC) tool that allows you to define your infrastructure as code, and then apply that code to build your infrastructure. Terraform keeps track of your infrastructure state and can show you what changes need to be applied to your environment to reach the desired state.

Collaborate: Steps to Building a Terraform Team

Involving multiple engineers in the learning process helps promote a shared understanding and speeds up problem-solving. Encourage multiple people to learn and use Terraform. When multiple people work together on a Terraform project, they'll quickly discover best practices, share knowledge, and solve each other's problems. Terraform is made up of a series of configuration files written in HashiCorp Configuration Language (HCL), and this configuration can get complex quickly. Multiple engineers can help simplify and streamline this configuration.

Use Version Control and Remote State: Tracking Terraform Configuration

Initially, you might configure and run Terraform directly from your local workstation. As you progress, learn to use version control systems like Git and remote state storage. Terraform allows you to store your infrastructure state remotely and to lock the state file during updates. Using Terraform's remote state means that multiple engineers running different Terraform workloads won't interfere with each other. They can work together by storing the state file in a central location.

Automate: Improving Your Processes

Look for opportunities to automate manual processes. This is one of the key benefits of using Terraform. Terraform code can be designed to apply changes, such as creating resources, updating resources, or deleting resources. By defining and writing your infrastructure as code, you can automate the process of creating or updating your infrastructure.

Modularize: Organizing Your Code into Modules

As your Terraform usage grows, organize your code into modules. This makes your code more manageable and reusable. Terraform modules are groupings of Terraform configuration files that are used together. You can organize modules in any way you want, and they allow you to abstract the complexities of your infrastructure into reusable blocks.

Follow Tutorials: HashiCorp's Step-by-Step Guide

HashiCorp, the company behind Terraform, provides up-to-date, step-by-step, command-line tutorials that walk you through the Terraform basics. If you're new to Terraform, these tutorials can help you understand the basics of using Terraform to build, change, and manage infrastructure.

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Top DevOps Terraform Best Practices for Successful Implementation

team discussing best practices for DevOps Terraform

Using Terraform modules is a best practice to organize your infrastructure setup into logical components. This helps reduce the amount of code you need to write for related infrastructure components and makes it easier to manage and maintain your infrastructure.

Lock Remote State: Store Your Terraform State

Storing your Terraform state on remote backend storage like AWS S3 Bucket is important to avoid complications when multiple users work on the same project. It ensures that your infrastructure configurations are kept in a consistent state and eliminates the risk of conflicts.

Backup State Files: Regularly Backup Your Terraform State Files

Regularly backing up your Terraform state files is crucial to prevent data loss and ensure the integrity of your infrastructure configurations. This practice can save you a lot of time and effort in case something goes wrong with your infrastructure.

Use Workspaces: Create Infrastructure for Multiple Environments

Using Terraform workspaces allows you to create infrastructure for multiple environments using the same Terraform configuration files. This helps reduce duplication of code and simplifies managing infrastructure for different environments.

Set Required Providers and Terraform Version

Always set the required_providers version and Terraform required_version in the terraform{} configuration block to ensure compatibility and stability. This ensures that your Terraform code runs with the correct dependencies and versions.

Test Your Code: Validate Your Terraform Code

Validating your Terraform code using the 'terraform validate' command is essential to ensure that your code is free of syntax errors and follows best practices. Tools like Checkov and TFLint are also useful for analyzing and enforcing best practices.

Use a Shared State Location: Maintain a Representation of Infrastructure State

Setting up a shared state location for Terraform helps maintain a representation of the cloud infrastructure state. This is essential for collaboration and ensures that everyone on the team is working with the latest state of the infrastructure.

Keep Modules and Environment Implementation Code Separate

Maintaining your module library and environment-specific code separately makes it easier to reuse and collaborate. It helps keep your codebase organized and simplifies managing changes across different environments.

Review Terraform Validate and Plan Outputs

Strictly reviewing the Terraform validation and plan outputs before allowing any changes to be applied to an environment helps catch any potential issues or misconfigurations. This practice ensures that your changes are aligned with your expectations.

Use Terraform Registry: Store and Share Modules

Storing and sharing modules with the Terraform Registry or Terraform Cloud Private Module Registry facilitates reuse and standardization. It allows you to access pre-built modules and speeds up the development of your infrastructure.

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Zeet is an innovative platform that transforms how engineering teams interact with their cloud, Kubernetes, and Terraform investments. By capitalizing on our CI/CD & deployment platform, Zeet elevates the value your team can derive from its tools. By engaging with us, you can expect seamless cloud deployments and the education of your team members into strong individual contributors. Through Zeet, your engineering team can transform into a high-performing unit that consistently delivers top-notch results. 

Contact Zeet today to discover how we can help you to maximize the potential of your cloud services and become a leading engineering team in your field.

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