Ansible vs. Terraform: DevOps Tool Comparison

    Today, rapid delivery of software with constant iterations is necessary to effectively compete in the software development market and cater to ever-increasing customer demands. The siloed nature of development teams and operations teams often hinders interoperability.

    The development and operations (DevOps) model focuses on uniting both teams to make the process of developing and publishing applications more efficient and quick. DevOps software enables teams to automate the software development procedure.

    This is performed by implementing a technology stack and tooling that provides engineers with more control of the management of sophisticated development environments at scale. While the need for a hardy DevOps tool is paramount, identifying a solution that best meets your interests is a tiresome process.

    In this guide, we will delve into what Ansible and Terraform have to offer. This should make it easier for you to choose a viable DevOps solution.

    Also read: Top DevOps Trends to Watch in 2022

    What is Ansible?

    screenshot of Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform

    Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform delivers labor-saving information technology (IT) automation that enables DevOps teams to focus their time and energy on more important tasks.

    The DevOps software’s use cases include endpoint protection, orchestration, network and security automation, continuous delivery, application deployment, configuration management, and provisioning. 

    Key Differentiators 

    • Automation Execution Environments are defined, consistent, and portable environments packed as containers for executing Ansible playbooks (YAML syntax) and roles.
    • With Ansible Content Collections, you can simplify the procedure of deploying the latest certified modules.
    • Ansible Content Tools makes creating and deploying execution environments easier. 
    • As the control plane for the Ansible platform, Automation Controller helps systemize how automation is initiated, deployed, delegated, and audited.
    • With Automation Mesh, you can automate at scale, in a cloud-native way. The feature gives you flexibility in planning sophisticated, distributed, or remote automation deployments along with visibility, control, and reporting capabilities. 
    • Red Hat Insights for Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform enables automations to run efficiently and optimally and helps determine where specific jobs are lacking. The feature also enables reporting on projects across the IT infrastructure.   
    • Automation Services Catalog helps you provision, manage, and retire automation resources for delivery and modeling. 
    • Automation Hub is the place to find and use content provided by Red Hat and its technology partners.

    Pricing: You can enjoy the benefits of a 60-day trial, free of cost. Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform is available as a Standard edition and a Premium edition. Contact the Ansible team to determine which edition is better suited to your needs and for a custom quote.

    What is Terraform?

    screenshot of Terraform

    Terraform by HashiCorp is an open-source infrastructure-as-code software tool that offers a uniform command-line interface (CLI) workflow to manage several cloud services. The DevOps tool codifies cloud application programming interfaces (APIs) into declarative configuration files.

    Key Differentiators 

    • HashiCorp Configuration Language (HCL) enables you to write concise descriptions of resources using expressions, arguments, and blocks. 
    • Use infrastructure as code to manage the complete lifecycle—build new resources, destroy those that are no longer required, and manage existing ones.
    • Before provisioning or changing infrastructure, you can check whether the execution plan for a configuration meets expectations by running the command “terraform plan.”
    • With the command “terraform apply,” you can apply changes to numerous cloud providers to obtain the needed state of the configuration. 
    • Proactively download and install modules from the catalog with the command “terraform init.”
    • Enhance performance for large infrastructures, keep track of metadata, and map real resources to your configuration. 
    • With CDK for Terraform (experimental), you can define infrastructure code in familiar languages, such as Python, Java, and C#.

    Pricing: The DevOps software tool is open-source and available in three editions—Terraform CLI, Terraform Cloud, and Terraform Enterprise.   

    Ansible vs. Terraform: What are the Differences?

    Here is how Ansible and Terraform DevOps software compare:

    What is it?IT infrastructure automation toolOpen-source infrastructure-as-code software tool
    SyntaxYAML HCL
    Use CasesBuild and deploy automation to help an organization accelerate, orchestrate, and innovateProvision and maintain cloud-based IT infrastructure
    ProsYAML syntax is easy to understandAgentless operationMulti-vendor capableSeveral resources to leverage and a large communityProvision and maintain IT infrastructure across multiple public clouds and servicesBy provisioning infrastructure as code, increase automation and reduce human errorTest proposed changes before application
    ConsCould be slow when gathering large quantities of informationSomewhat difficult to learn initiallyThe use of HCL could hinder adoption

    Choosing DevOps Tools

    A potent DevOps software is an important constituent of the toolkit of any DevOps or development, security, and operations (DevSecOps) team. A DevOps tool helps automate numerous labor-intensive development processes, such as provisioning, continuous delivery, application deployment, endpoint protection, and orchestration.

    It is important to choose a DevOps based on your business’s needs. Before making a purchasing decision, navigate to the websites of the DevOps software discussed in this guide, assess their features, and consider peer reviews.

    Read next: Best DevOps Monitoring Tools for 2022

    Surajdeep Singh
    Surajdeep Singh
    Surajdeep Singh has been working as an IT and blockchain journalist since 2018. He is a contributor to publications including IT Business Edge, Enterprise Networking Planet & Smart Billions and works as a consultant at Drofa Communications Agency.

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