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Forums HashiCorp Terraform Can Terraform be used with container orchestration platforms like Kubernetes?

  • Can Terraform be used with container orchestration platforms like Kubernetes?

    Posted by Joshua Falken on June 29, 2023 at 5:12 pm

    Can Terraform be used to orchestrate container platforms like Kubernetes? Or do you even need Terraform if you’re already using Kubernetes?

    Joshua Falken replied 3 months ago 1 Member · 1 Reply
  • 1 Reply
  • Joshua Falken

    June 29, 2023 at 5:12 pm

    Terraform can be used to orchestrate container platforms like Kubernetes, but whether you need Terraform in addition to Kubernetes depends on your specific requirements and use cases.

    Kubernetes itself provides robust orchestration capabilities for containerized applications. It enables you to deploy, manage, and scale containerized workloads across a cluster of machines. Kubernetes offers various resources like Deployments, Services, ConfigMaps, Secrets, and more, which can be defined using YAML manifests or other configuration files.

    If you are solely focused on managing your containerized applications on Kubernetes and don’t have complex infrastructure requirements beyond the Kubernetes cluster itself, you may not necessarily need to use Terraform. Kubernetes manifests or other configuration management tools specific to Kubernetes, such as Helm, Kustomize, or Operators, can be sufficient for deploying and managing your application workloads on the cluster.

    However, there are scenarios where Terraform can complement Kubernetes:

    1. Provisioning Kubernetes Cluster: If you need to provision the underlying infrastructure for your Kubernetes cluster, including virtual machines, networking, storage, and load balancers, Terraform can help. Terraform can provision the infrastructure resources required for your Kubernetes cluster, such as cloud resources on AWS, Azure, or GCP.

    2. Multi-Cloud or Hybrid Environments: If you have a multi-cloud or hybrid environment with multiple Kubernetes clusters across different cloud providers or on-premises data centers, Terraform can provide a unified provisioning and management approach. It allows you to define and manage infrastructure resources consistently across different environments.

    3. Integrating with External Services: Terraform can integrate with external services and providers beyond Kubernetes. For example, you can use Terraform to provision databases, message queues, monitoring systems, or other infrastructure components that your applications rely on, alongside your Kubernetes cluster.

    4. Infrastructure Lifecycle Management: Terraform offers a declarative approach to infrastructure management. It allows you to version control your infrastructure configurations, apply changes in a controlled manner, and perform rolling updates to infrastructure resources. This can be useful if you want to manage your infrastructure resources and Kubernetes resources as a unified stack and apply infrastructure changes alongside application changes.

    While Kubernetes provides powerful orchestration capabilities for containerized applications, Terraform can be valuable when you need to provision the underlying infrastructure, manage multi-cloud or hybrid environments, integrate with external services, or achieve a unified approach to infrastructure lifecycle management. Evaluate your specific requirements to determine if Terraform is necessary alongside Kubernetes in your particular use case.