Most of what passes for management of IT infrastructure often amounts to little more than a Word document describing how a system is configured. HashiCorp developed Terraform to enable IT organizations to programmatically manage IT infrastructure. Now the company is taking that concept a step further with the release of Terraform Enterprise, a collaboration application that can be employed to programmatically manage IT infrastructure without requiring IT administrators to know how to program.
HashiCorp co-CTO Armon Dadgar says Terraform provides an application that makes its Sentinel policy management framework more accessible. Previously, use of Terraform and Sentinel were limited largely to developers looking for a common way to manage infrastructure as code. But Dadgar says customer requests made it clear there was also demand for a collaboration application that did not require any programming skills to employ.
Terraform Enterprise includes Workspaces, a set of modules that that can be delegated to separate teams. Dadgar says Workspaces are roughly equivalent to Git repositories that have access controls for each IT team, using a secure access markup language (SAML) that comes with built-in encryption.
In addition, Terraform Enterprise exposes an application programming interface (API) that can be invoked for integration with existing tooling or application delivery pipelines. Dadgar says with the rise of multiple clouds in an organization, it’s now only a matter of time before existing approaches to managing IT infrastructure simple become obsolete. Pressure from developers to increase the amount of time it takes to provision and update IT infrastructure is only going to increase, says Dadgar.
HashiCorp is effectively trying to smooth over one of the more contentious aspects of DevOps. In theory, developers want more control over IT infrastructure largely because they often view internal IT teams as being too slow. To enable IT organizations to be more responsive, various APIs have been exposed that can be invoked using IT automation framework. Many of those frameworks, however, require programming skills that most IT administrators don’t possess. Many organizations also don’t want developers to be managing IT infrastructure when they could be devoting that time to writing and test applications. Dadgar says Terraform Enterprise provides a graphical user interface (GUI) through which all the benefits of managing infrastructure as code can be attained without having to teach administrators how to program, or allowing programmers to invoke IT infrastructure resources without any adult supervision.
HashiCorp is not the only provider of IT management frameworks trying to solve this issue. There are rival declarative frameworks for automating IT and many providers of the latest generation of software-defined infrastructure are embedding modern IT management frameworks within pre-integrated systems. But HashiCorp is one of the few vendors providing organizations with a dual approach using the same core underlying set of APIs. Rather than continuing to be at odds with one another, developers and IT administrators now could find it easier to collaborate using whatever approach to infrastructure as a code they best see fit.