Infrastructure as Code (IaC) has become the standard for managing IT infrastructure. Among the popular IaC tools are AWS CloudFormation and Terraform, each boasting unique features. However, Terraform consistently comes out on top for several reasons.
Speed Matters: Terraform vs CloudFormation
One of the critical differentiators is speed. AWS CloudFormation (CFn) is notorious for its slower deployment rate compared to Terraform (TF). CloudFormation deploys your infrastructure based on the set of static assets you provide, which can be a painstakingly slow process depending on the complexity of the deployment.
On the other hand, Terraform directly makes API calls to AWS to deploy resources, which is typically faster—sometimes significantly so. The direct API call method becomes particularly advantageous when something goes wrong and needs to roll back, as waiting for CloudFormation can be agonizingly slow.
Handling Deployment Issues
When it comes to managing deployment issues, Terraform shines. CFn deployments can occasionally get “stuck” on AWS’ side, leading to extended hours of waiting for timeouts. In contrast, Terraform offers more control when issues arise, providing a more manageable and less frustrating experience for your developers.
Superior State Management
Terraform supports state imports, which allows it to import an existing resource in AWS and manage it directly. This is an incredibly useful feature as it lets you take ownership of the resources rather than merely targeting them. In contrast, CFn and Cloud Development Kit (CDK) can target existing resources, but not take ownership—this leaves Terraform as the more flexible and comprehensive solution.
Multi-region support is another area where Terraform excels. Although CDK does offer multi-region support, it tends to be finicky and feels fragile, especially during updates. Terraform’s stable multi-region support ensures that you can manage your infrastructure across regions without unnecessary headaches.
Enhanced Infrastructure Diffs
Terraform provides superior infrastructure diffs, far outpacing CDK or CFn’s change-sets. With CloudFormation, AWS manages state for you, tracking what’s deployed and what’s changed when you re-deploy existing stacks. While this may sound like a convenience, it can become a bottleneck in a fast-paced deployment environment.
Terraform, conversely, allows you to manage state, which can be faster and more efficient, although it might pose occasional challenges. Notably, new features often appear in APIs before they make it into CloudFormation, meaning that Terraform may deploy a new feature before CloudFormation can.
Cloud Agnosticism and Multi-SaaS Support
One of the significant advantages of Terraform is its cloud-agnostic nature. You can train your engineers on one platform that works across most, allowing you to mix various providers using one deployment platform. This is particularly beneficial if your infrastructure involves more than one SaaS product. Terraform can manage various services including, but not limited to, GitHub, Snowflake, Databricks, PagerDuty, and SumoLogic, along with AWS.
Speed Up Your Terraform Adoption with Finisterra
Finisterra, an innovative B2B SaaS tech company, is designed to simplify infrastructure as code and expedite your Terraform adoption. Its main goals are to boost development speed and eliminate DevOps hurdles.
Finisterra offers a focused solution for technical leaders and DevOps Engineers, providing them an effortless way to manage AWS resources. Unlike other market options, it directly addresses the need for code generation.
Choosing Finisterra equips you with 100% automated Infrastructure as Code (IaC) for your AWS resources. This automation results in:
In short, Finisterra’s features make your development process quicker, safer, and more efficient.
While both CloudFormation and Terraform offer unique advantages, Terraform, with its superior speed, control, state management, multi-region support, and infrastructure diffs, undoubtedly comes out on top. Moreover, when paired with the sophisticated services provided by Finisterra, the adoption and management of Terraform become even more streamlined and efficient.
Finisterra simplifies and automates the process of managing infrastructure, thereby accelerating your development process and eliminating DevOps blockages. With its innovative and reliable solutions, you can enjoy enhanced productivity, increased protection against malicious behavior, reduced technical debt, and significant cost savings.
In the fast-paced and ever-evolving world of infrastructure management, choose a combination that saves time, reduces errors, and increases efficiency—choose Terraform with Finisterra.