Difference between Terraform and Ansible

The most frequently heard comparison in the DevOps community is Terraform vs. Ansible. Ansible, a configuration management tool, and Provisioning Tool are both well-known tools (Terraform). These technologies will make it much easier for us to deploy our code and other infrastructure in a variety of repeatable situations with challenging constraints. Before, this procedure was far more difficult to complete without these instruments.

Terraform Definition

Terraform is a tool used by DevOps teams to build and deploy a variety of infrastructure resources, including virtual machines, load balancers, and networks, by using descriptive languages and models. IT infrastructure cannot deviate from the intended configuration thanks to Terraform's infrastructure as code (IaC) framework.

This solution is used to create, modify, and version infrastructure in a safe and efficient manner. It is used to manage both proprietary and solutions offered by well-known suppliers. For creating and supplying end-to-end IT infrastructure, it makes use of the declarative, simple-to-learn HashiCorp Configuration Language (HCL).

Private clouds like VMware vSphere, CloudStack, and OpenStack as well as public clouds like Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure can host Terraform-managed infrastructure on-premises.

Terraform may be used by teams utilizing multicloud architecture to build a single process across cloud platforms. Even companies using a single cloud now will benefit from Terraform, especially because it makes the switch to multicloud in the future easier.

Ansible Definition

Numerous additional IT operations, including deployment, orchestration, provisioning, and configuration management, are automated using the open-source Ansible engine. Simplified, potent automation for cross-platform IT assistance is a primary advantage of Ansible. It is perfect for streamlining organizational IT operations because of how simple it is to implement and how independent it is from security infrastructure and agent software.

Ansible automates processes using directives expressed in a straightforward script style, which also facilitates efficient version control. With the help of its capabilities, DevOps professionals may take use of IaC's strengths and manage server and client infrastructure in a manner akin to software development. With Ansible, it is simple to develop tried-andtrue organizational maintenance solutions since it guarantees efficient and enduring selfdocumentation regardless of workforce changes.

Ansible is helpful to end users in addition to corporate applications since it enables them to setup a single machine as well as whole computer networks at simultaneously. Because its instructions are legible by humans and its files are simple to grasp, users do not need to have a thorough understanding of programming to utilize it.

Key differences between Ansible and Terraform
Terraform Ansible

Terraform is entirely declarative; in declarative, we state what is truly required rather than the steps that will be taken to get the desired outcome. We will specify the environment as we use the terraform, and if the environment changes later, it will only be reflected in the next "Terraform Apply." Since this code is declarative, it always reflects the infrastructure's current state.

Ansible, unlike Terraform, can take ad-hoc change requests and uses a procedural approach with a step-by-step method to accomplish the goal. We don't always take the infrastructure's status into account when dealing with procedural duties. As the state changes, procedural code has a very limited potential to be reused.

Every change, exactly as in functional programming, is the deployment to a new server if we are using Terraform to deploy machine images created by Docker or Packer. This method significantly lowers the possibility of configuration problems compared to the ansible technique. This enables simple traceback so that we may immediately roll back in the event of a problem. This configuration management tool also has the ability to do forced immutable deployment, however it is not recommended.

The tool that automatically adopts a changeable infrastructure paradigm is called Ansible. As we make more and more changes over time, each server accumulates a history of modifications that causes configuration drift, a performance phenomenon where each server gradually diverges from the others and occasionally produces issues that are practically hard to duplicate.

Cloud formation, puppet, etc., are a few programmers that use declarative code in their usage and imply that they are made to furnish the server themselves. Terraform is a provisioning tool. A load balancer, database networking, and other infrastructure are also taken care of by them. Although the majority of configuration management tools can provision to some extent and the majority of provisioning tools can do both to some extent, when we concentrate on a specific element, certain tools are plainly more suited than the other solutions.

One configuration management tool is Ansible, and others like it include Chef, Puppet, etc. Another tool that uses this kind of procedural methodology is the chef.

Terraform is masterless as well. In certain ways, it may appear as though API servers are master servers because Terraform interfaces with cloud providers through their APIs, but they don't need any additional infrastructure or authentication methods.

Ansible is Masterless. Some tools, like chefs and puppets, need a master server to save modifications and deliver updates. However, this comes with additional security risks and higher maintenance costs for the infrastructure.

Terraform may be installed without the need for an additional agent. While some of them might need agents, those agents are already included in the package, so you don't need to install any additional supporting agents.

Terraform may be installed without the need for an additional agent. While some of them might need agents, those agents are already included in the package, so you don't need to install any additional supporting agents.


Now that we've seen the comparisons between the two well-known DevOps tools, we can analyze that the Terraform is utilized for provision management whereas the Ansible is mostly used for configuration management. Using terraform as an example, we are able to combine many tools. All of the necessary infrastructures, including VPCs, Subnets, Router Tables, Load Balancers, etc., can be deployed via using the same. Then, on top of the created infrastructure, we can even deploy our apps using Ansible.

Updated on: 27-Dec-2022


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