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Forums HashiCorp Terraform What are HashiCorp Terraform providers?

  • What are HashiCorp Terraform providers?

    Posted by Joshua Falken on June 28, 2023 at 1:57 pm

    I’m a little unclear on what Terraform providers are. Could you please explain what they are and they they are used?

    Chris Pietschmann replied 3 months, 1 week ago 2 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • Joshua Falken

    June 28, 2023 at 1:58 pm

    Terraform providers are an integral part of HashiCorp Terraform, an open-source infrastructure as code (IaC) tool. Providers act as plugins or extensions that allow Terraform to interact with various infrastructure platforms, cloud providers, and services. They bridge the gap between Terraform and the target infrastructure, enabling users to manage resources using Terraform configuration files.

    Here’s how Terraform providers work:

    1. Configuration: With Terraform, you define your infrastructure resources, such as virtual machines, networks, storage, and more, using a declarative configuration language called HashiCorp Configuration Language (HCL). Providers play a crucial role in this step.

    2. Provider Blocks: In your Terraform configuration files, you specify the desired provider and version in a “provider” block. This block tells Terraform which provider to use and authenticates your credentials to interact with the corresponding infrastructure platform. For example, if you’re working with AWS, you would use the “aws” provider block.

    3. Resource Management: Providers define the available resource types and their corresponding attributes. These resources can be anything from compute instances and load balancers to databases and DNS records. You use Terraform configuration files to describe the desired state of these resources.

    4. Execution: When you run the terraform apply command, Terraform analyzes your configuration files, determines the necessary changes to reach the desired state, and communicates with the relevant provider. The provider handles authentication, communicates with the provider’s API, and performs the requested actions (create, update, or delete resources).

    5. State Management: Terraform keeps track of the state of your infrastructure in a state file. This file records the current state of resources managed by Terraform, including information about the provider, resource IDs, and other metadata. Providers play a crucial role in managing this state and ensuring the state file accurately represents the real-world infrastructure.

    By leveraging Terraform providers, you can manage infrastructure resources across different cloud providers and services using a unified and consistent approach. Providers abstract the complexities of interacting with various APIs, allowing you to focus on defining infrastructure configurations rather than dealing with low-level details of each platform. This approach simplifies the process of provisioning, updating, and destroying infrastructure resources in a controlled and reproducible manner.

    HashiCorp maintains and provides official Terraform providers through the Terraform Provider Registry. Additionally, a vibrant community develops and maintains a wide range of community-supported providers that cover different platforms, services, and integrations beyond the official ones.

    I hope this clarifies the concept of Terraform providers.

  • Chris Pietschmann

    June 28, 2023 at 2:00 pm

    If you need an overview of what Terraform Providers are available for working with and managing Microsoft Azure resources, then please check out this article: https://build5nines.com/terraform-overview-of-azure-providers-and-tools/