Part 1 of a 4-part series: Unlocking Cloud Automation with Intel’s Cloud Optimization Modules for Terraform

Last Week, I read this really interesting blog, “What’s up fellow Developers?” There are some amazing minds at Intel and HashiCorp that came up with Intel Cloud Optimization Modules for HashiCorp Terraform that help organizations minimize costs for cloud infrastructure by automating resource choices based on Intel’s Tuning Guide. I wanted to understand better what these HashiCorp products like Terraform, Sentinel, Terraform Cloud, and Terraform Enterprise do. So, I did some learning, and here is my take on what I learned about these cool HashiCorp technologies.

In the world of DevOps and Infrastructure as Code (IaC), HashiCorp Terraform has emerged as a powerful tool for managing and provisioning infrastructure resources across various cloud providers. Alongside Terraform (which is open source), HashiCorp offers additional tools like Sentinel, Terraform Cloud, and Terraform Enterprise which is their commercial version of Terraform Open Source to further enhance the capabilities and security of infrastructure management. In this blog, we will dive deeper into these tools and explore their various aspects.

Hashicorp Terraform: Infrastructure as Code Made Easy

Terraform, the flagship product of HashiCorp, enables users to define and manage their infrastructure as code in a declarative manner. It provides a simple yet powerful domain-specific language (DSL) that allows users to describe their desired infrastructure state. With Terraform, you can provision and manage resources such as virtual machines, networks, and storage across multiple cloud providers like AWS Cloud Platform.

Terraform uses a declarative approach, which means you define the desired end state of your infrastructure and Terraform figures out the necessary steps to reach that state. This approach makes it easy to version, collaborate, and automate infrastructure changes. With Terraform, you can also create reusable modules, making it efficient to manage infrastructure across multiple projects.

Sentinel: Policy as Code for Terraform

While Terraform provides a powerful infrastructure provisioning framework, it lacks built-in policy enforcement. This is where Sentinel comes into play. Sentinel is a policy-as-code framework that integrates seamlessly as part of their commercial Terraform Platform (Terraform Cloud or Terraform Enterprise), allowing you to define and enforce policies on your infrastructure code.

Using Sentinel, you can write custom policies to ensure compliance, security, and best practices within your infrastructure configuration. These policies can be defined using a familiar programming language syntax and can be easily integrated into your CI/CD pipelines. Sentinel empowers organizations to enforce policies consistently across teams and helps prevent misconfigurations or security vulnerabilities in infrastructure code.

Terraform Cloud (TFC)/Terraform Enterprise (TFE): Scaling Infrastructure Management, Collaboration and Automation Made Easy

Terraform Cloud is a SaaS platform provided by HashiCorp that enables collaboration and automation capabilities for Terraform. It provides a cloud-based environment where teams can store, version, and collaborate on their infrastructure code. Terraform Cloud is the commercial offering of HashiCorp.

With Terraform Cloud, you can automate your Terraform state remotely, enabling seamless collaboration among team members. It also offers features like access controls, policy enforcement, and workspace management, ensuring secure and controlled infrastructure deployments. Terraform Cloud integrates with major version control systems like Git, enabling easy integration into existing development workflows.

TFC offers advanced capabilities like role-based access controls, fine-grained permissions, audit logs, and private module registries. It also provides enterprise-grade support and SLAs, ensuring smooth operations and minimizing downtime. With Terraform.

For organizations with large-scale infrastructure deployments, Terraform Cloud offers additional features and support. Compared to the open-source version of Terraform, TFC provides more enhanced scalability, reliability, and governance for managing infrastructure at an enterprise level.

Terraform Enterprise (TFE) is a version of Terraform Cloud (TFC) that can be deployed and managed in your private infrastructure.

In the next installment, Overview of Intel Cloud Optimization Models, we’ll see what Intel’s doing to solve a key problem of optimal cloud usage for their customer using the HashiCorp product we talked about in this post!

Here are some useful links if you’d like to learn more:

Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Intel have collaborated for over 17 years to develop flexible technologies and software optimizations tailored for mission critical enterprise applications. Intel® Xeon® processors provide the foundation of many cloud computing services deployed on AWS and this collaboration allows AWS Partners to help customers migrate and modernize their applications and infrastructure to manage cost and complexity, accelerate business outcomes, and scale to meet current and future computing requirements.