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27 Mar
min read

Automating Cloud Infrastructure with Terraform CI CD: A Step-by-Step Guide

Learn the ins and outs of Terraform CI CD automation with this guide. Streamline your cloud infrastructure deployment process now!

Jack Dwyer

Platform Engineering + DevOps

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Discover the key principles and best practices of Terraform CI CD in our latest blog. Explore what is terraform, the ins and outs of Terraform CI CD and identify the benefits this tool can deliver in your environment. Dip your toes into an exciting new world and discover what Terraform CI CD can do for you.

What Is Terraform & Its Significance In Cloud Infrastructure Automation

how automations works in Terraform CI CD

Terraform is a powerful Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tool that helps automate the deployment of infrastructure across various cloud providers. It enables you to manage any infrastructure by finding providers for many platforms and services in the Terraform Registry. The tool takes an immutable approach to infrastructure, simplifying upgrades or modifications to services and infrastructure. 

Terraform's Infrastructure Management and State Tracking

Terraform generates a plan prior to modifying infrastructure, seeking your approval before applying any changes. It keeps track of the real infrastructure in a state file, ensuring that it serves as the source of truth for your environment. Terraform's declarative configuration files describe the desired end state of the infrastructure, streamlining upgrade and modification requests. 

Efficient Provisioning with Terraform Modules and Resource Graphs

By building a resource graph to establish resource dependencies, Terraform can efficiently provision resources in parallel. Terraform supports reusable configuration components in the form of modules that define configurable infrastructure collections, promoting time efficiency and best practices. You can utilize publicly available modules from the Terraform Registry or create your modules. 

Collaborative Terraform Workflows with Terraform Cloud

By committing your configuration file to a Version Control System (VCS), you can leverage Terraform Cloud to manage Terraform workflows efficiently across teams. Terraform Cloud runs Terraform in a consistent, reliable environment, offering secure access to shared state and secret data, role-based access controls, a private registry for sharing modules and providers, and more.

Enhancing Cloud Deployment Efficiency with Zeet

Zeet helps you to 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 Zeet helps you get seamless cloud deployments every time, and helps your team to become a top-performing engineering team.

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What Does CI/CD Mean In The Context Of Terraform?

cloud computing and its role in Terraform CI CD

Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) are essential components of modern DevOps practices as they streamline the software development lifecycle, promoting rapid, reliable software development and deployment cycles. CI involves developers continuously merging code changes into a shared repository, automatically verifying the integration.

CD, on the other hand, automates deploying and testing code changes in production-like environments. CI/CD is fundamental in DevOps practices and agile methodologies, fostering collaboration, automation, and efficiency, pushing organizations towards faster development cycles, enhanced quality, and reduced human error.

CI/CD in the Context of Terraform: Automating Infrastructure Management

In Infrastructure as Code (IaC), Terraform offers a powerful tool that permits the management of infrastructure using code, which can be seamlessly integrated into CI/CD pipelines, mirroring practices typically embraced for application development. This integration streamlines infrastructure provisioning and management, providing a structured and repeatable process to deploy and manage infrastructure. 

By treating infrastructure as code, Terraform eliminates manual processes and human error, ensuring consistent deployments and reproducibility. Terraform paves the way for automating infrastructure management, allowing for infrastructure provisioning and setup to be intricately linked to the application lifecycle.

Zeet Terraform and Helm Product Overview

Integrating Terraform CI CD Workflows

disintegrated cubes - Terraform CI CD

1. Version Control for Infrastructure

Storing Terraform configurations in version control systems alongside application code allows for easy tracking of changes and collaboration among team members. When changes are made, the history of modifications can be reviewed and reverted if necessary, ensuring transparency and consistency across the infrastructure.

2. Automated Planning and Deployment

Integrating Terraform with CI/CD systems streamlines the process of updating infrastructure in line with code changes. Automated workflows can be triggered upon pushing new code, running Terraform plan to assess the impact of changes, and then Terraform applying to deploy those changes, minimizing manual intervention and human error.

3. Testing and Validation

Automated testing in CI/CD pipelines verifies that Terraform configurations meet security, compliance, and performance standards before deploying them. By incorporating tests at each stage of the pipeline, potential issues and vulnerabilities can be identified early in the process, reducing the risk of errors in the live environment.

4. Rollbacks and History

Terraform's ability to manage infrastructure versions makes it straightforward to roll back to previous states if required, enabling quick resolution of issues. By maintaining a history of changes, teams can review past modifications, understand what led to issues, and make informed decisions about future updates.

5. Continuous Monitoring and Feedback

Integration of monitoring tools in CI/CD pipelines allows for continuous tracking and feedback on the Terraform-managed infrastructure. By monitoring the environment post-deployment, teams can identify performance issues, security vulnerabilities, or compliance violations to prioritize and address in subsequent iterations.

Empowering Engineering Teams with Zeet

Zeet helps you to 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 Zeet can help you get seamless cloud deployments every time, and help your team become a top-performing engineering team.

What Are The Key Benefits Of Using Terraform in CI/CD Pipelines

person looking for key benefits of Terraform CI CD

Cloud Agnostic Infrastructure as Code

Terraform allows you to define infrastructure through code, making it possible to deploy and manage resources across multiple cloud providers using a single configuration language (HCL - HashiCorp Configuration Language).

Unified Workflow for Multiple Clouds

Terraform provides a consistent workflow to manage both cloud and on-premises resources, reducing the learning curve and complexity involved in using different tools for each cloud provider.

Modular and Reusable Code

Terraform encourages the use of modules to encapsulate and reuse configurations, facilitating efficient multi-cloud deployments by allowing users to share and reuse predefined modules across projects and teams.

State Management and Orchestration

Terraform tracks the state of your infrastructure and ensures that the real-world resources match the configuration specified in code, aiding in disaster recovery and consistency across environments.

Scalability and Flexibility

Terraform automates the deployment of scalable cloud infrastructure, allowing for the easy scaling up or down of resources as per demand, across different cloud providers, without changing the underlying configuration.

Change Management and Preview

Terraform can generate an execution plan before applying changes, which shows what will be done, minimizing risks and providing visibility over changes across environments.

Integration with CI/CD Pipelines

Terraform fits seamlessly into CI/CD pipelines, automating the deployment and updating of cloud infrastructure as part of software delivery processes, streamlining operations.

Cost Management

By automating the deployment of infrastructure, Terraform helps optimize resource usage and reduce costs through precise provisioning and the ability to quickly tear down unused resources across different clouds.

Optimizing Cloud Infrastructure and Empowering Engineering Teams with Zeet

Zeet helps you to 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 Zeet helps you get seamless cloud deployments every time, and helps your team to become a top-performing engineering team.

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Best Practices for Implementing Terraform CI/CD

person working alone in his office - Terraform CI CD

Storing Terraform Code in Version Control

Storing your Terraform code in a version control system like Git is essential for maintaining a history of changes. It allows you to collaborate with team members, track modifications, and manage different versions easily. This way, you can always roll back to a previous version in case of issues.

Organizing Terraform Code for Readability

Organizing your Terraform code into logical modules and directories is crucial for maintaining a clean and scalable codebase. A well-structured project makes it easier to navigate and understand the code, especially when multiple team members are working on the same project. It also helps to keep your codebase DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself).

Managing Configuration Across Environments

Using variables and conditionals to manage configuration differences across environments is important. By avoiding hardcoded values and using environment-specific configurations, you can deploy your infrastructure to different environments seamlessly. This approach is crucial for maintaining consistency and reducing errors during deployments.

Securing Terraform Secrets

Avoiding storing sensitive information directly in your Terraform code is critical for security. Use environment variables or a secret management tool to securely inject secrets during CI/CD runs. This way, you can keep your secrets safe while ensuring smooth deployments.

Using Remote State and Locking

Using remote state storage helps in sharing state across team members and maintaining consistency. It also allows you to use state locking, preventing concurrent modifications to the same infrastructure. By implementing these practices, you can ensure the stability and reliability of your deployments.

Concurrency Handling in CI/CD Pipelines

When multiple CI/CD pipelines run concurrently, ensuring they don’t interfere with each other is crucial. Using state locking and separate workspaces or environments to isolate resources helps avoid conflicts and maintain the integrity of your deployments.

Version Constraints for Terraform Providers and Modules

Specifying version constraints for Terraform providers and modules in your code is beneficial for staying up-to-date. Regularly updating your dependencies ensures that you benefit from bug fixes, new features, and security patches, keeping your infrastructure secure and robust.

Enforcing Code Quality with Linters and Static Analysis

Validating your Terraform code with linters and static analysis tools helps catch issues early. Setting up automated checks in your CI/CD pipeline ensures that your codebase is clean, consistent, and adheres to best practices.

Unlocking Cloud Optimization and Team Empowerment with Zeet

Zeet helps you to 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 Zeet helps you get seamless cloud deployments every time, and helps your team to become a top-performing engineering team.

Common Terraform CI/CD Challenges

person running a sudo command - Terraform CI CD

Managing Infrastructure Dependencies

Managing infrastructure dependencies can be challenging in a Terraform CI/CD pipeline. For instance, if multiple components share a common infrastructure resource, changes could inadvertently affect other components. This could lead to issues in testing and deployment.

Handling State Management and Concurrency Concerns

In Terraform CI/CD, ensuring that changes are applied correctly and consistently across multiple environments can be challenging. This is because Terraform uses state files to track the actual configuration in the infrastructure. Having multiple team members working simultaneously can lead to conflicts in the state file, which could cause deployment issues.

Ensuring Security and Compliance

Ensuring security and compliance is a vital concern in any CI/CD pipeline, especially when it comes to Terraform. With sensitive information embedded in the infrastructure code, secure storage and access management are crucial to avoid data breaches. Compliance requirements and regulations must also be adhered to in the CI/CD process.

Coordinating Complex Deployment Procedures across Different Environments

In a Terraform CI/CD pipeline, deploying changes across multiple environments, such as development, staging, and production, can be complicated. Ensuring that changes are deployed accurately and consistently without causing disruptions requires careful coordination and automation.

These challenges need to be addressed to ensure a successful Terraform CI/CD implementation.

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Have Successful Releases Every Time With Zeet's CI/CD & Deployment Platform for Kubernetes and Terraform

Zeet is an all-in-one CI/CD and deployment platform that focuses on helping you maximize your cloud, Kubernetes, and Terraform investments. Our platform is designed to streamline your cloud deployments and ensure that your engineering team can swiftly integrate these technologies into their workflows. By leveraging Zeet, you can simplify the process of deploying to the cloud, as well as enhance your team's overall performance. 

With Zeet, you can transform your team into top-performing engineers who are capable of delivering exceptional results every time. Let Zeet help you elevate your engineering capabilities and enable your team to achieve excellence in all their cloud endeavors.

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