Skip to content
Subscribe to RSS Find me on GitHub Follow me on Twitter

Automating Infrastructure Provisioning with Terraform and Ansible


Automation plays a crucial role in infrastructure provisioning in a DevOps environment. With the rapid pace of software deployments and the need for scalability and flexibility, manual infrastructure provisioning becomes inefficient and error-prone. This is where powerful tools like Terraform and Ansible come into play.

Terraform is an open-source infrastructure provisioning tool that allows you to define and create infrastructure resources using a declarative language. It provides a platform-agnostic approach, enabling you to manage infrastructure across different cloud providers and on-premises environments.

Ansible, on the other hand, is a powerful configuration management tool that simplifies and automates the process of configuring and managing infrastructure resources. It uses a simple YAML syntax to define tasks, making it easy to understand and maintain.

The benefits of using Terraform and Ansible together are numerous. Firstly, both tools are highly flexible and can be used with a wide range of infrastructure resources. They also promote infrastructure-as-code (IaC) practices, allowing you to version control your infrastructure and easily reproduce and share it across teams. Furthermore, the combination of Terraform's infrastructure provisioning capabilities and Ansible's configuration management abilities provides a seamless end-to-end automation solution for your infrastructure needs.

In this article, we will explore how to get started with Terraform and Ansible, as well as how to integrate them together to automate your infrastructure provisioning and configuration processes. We will also discuss best practices for managing your infrastructure-as-code using Git repositories and the importance of testing, CI/CD, and monitoring in an automated environment. So let's dive in and discover the power of automating infrastructure provisioning with Terraform and Ansible.

What is Terraform?

Terraform is an open-source infrastructure-as-code (IaC) tool that enables users to define and provision infrastructure resources in a declarative manner. It allows for the automation of infrastructure provisioning across various cloud providers and on-premises environments.

The primary role of Terraform is to provide a consistent and reliable way to create, modify, and destroy infrastructure resources. It helps organizations achieve infrastructure automation by abstracting away the complexities of managing infrastructure manually.

Key features and advantages of using Terraform include:

  1. Declarative Language: Terraform uses a declarative approach, allowing users to define the desired state of their infrastructure resources, rather than writing scripts or procedural code. This simplifies the process and reduces the chance of human error.

  2. Infrastructure as Code: Terraform treats infrastructure configurations as code, enabling version control, collaboration, and documentation. Infrastructure resources can be managed, reviewed, and shared just like any other codebase.

  3. Multi-Cloud Support: Terraform supports multiple cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and more. It allows users to create a consistent infrastructure provisioning process regardless of the underlying cloud provider.

  4. Resource Dependencies: Terraform automatically manages resource dependencies, ensuring that resources are provisioned in the correct order. It handles the complexities of resource dependencies and ensures that all dependencies are satisfied before continuing with the provisioning process.

  5. Infrastructure State Management: Terraform keeps track of the current state of infrastructure resources in a state file. This state file allows for idempotent deployments by keeping track of changes made to the infrastructure over time. It also enables collaboration among team members by synchronizing the state file.

  6. Plan and Apply Workflow: Terraform introduces a plan step before applying any changes to the infrastructure. The plan step provides a preview of the changes that will be made, allowing users to review and validate the changes before applying them. This helps prevent accidental changes and provides a non-disruptive way to deploy infrastructure updates.

Overall, Terraform simplifies infrastructure provisioning, enables infrastructure-as-code practices, and provides a scalable and consistent approach to managing infrastructure resources across different cloud providers. With Terraform, organizations can achieve efficient and reliable automation of their infrastructure provisioning process.

What is Ansible?

Ansible is an open-source automation platform that can be used for configuration management, application deployment, and orchestration. It simplifies the process of managing infrastructure by allowing you to define the desired state of your systems using simple, human-readable YAML syntax.

Role in configuration management

Ansible excels at configuration management, which involves setting up and maintaining the desired state of your servers and applications. It allows you to define playbooks, which are collections of tasks that describe the steps needed to configure your infrastructure resources.

By using Ansible, you can ensure that all your servers and applications are consistently configured, reducing human error and improving security. It also provides a central place for managing configurations, making it easier to make changes and roll them out across your infrastructure.

Key features and advantages

Here are some key features and advantages of using Ansible:

  1. Agentless architecture: Unlike some other configuration management tools, Ansible does not require any agents or additional software to be installed on target systems. This makes it lightweight and easy to set up.

  2. Declarative approach: Ansible allows you to define the desired state of your infrastructure resources using declarative language (YAML). This means you focus on describing what you want, rather than worrying about how to achieve it.

  3. Idempotent execution: Ansible playbooks are designed to be idempotent, meaning they can be run multiple times without causing any side effects if the desired state is already achieved. This ensures consistency and allows for easy reconfiguration of resources.

  4. Extensibility: Ansible provides a rich set of modules that can be used to interact with various systems and services. It also allows you to define custom modules and plugins, providing flexibility to tailor Ansible to your specific needs.

  5. Integration with Terraform: Ansible can be easily integrated with Terraform to automate the entire provisioning and configuration process. This allows you to use Terraform for infrastructure provisioning and Ansible for configuring the provisioned resources.

Overall, Ansible simplifies the process of configuring and managing infrastructure, making it an indispensable tool for automating infrastructure provisioning in a DevOps environment.

Why use Terraform and Ansible together?

When it comes to automating infrastructure provisioning and configuration, combining Terraform and Ansible can be a powerful solution. Each tool has its own strengths and by using them together, you can achieve a comprehensive automation workflow that covers both infrastructure provisioning and configuration management.

One of the key benefits of using Terraform and Ansible together is their complementary nature. Terraform focuses on infrastructure provisioning, allowing you to define and create the necessary resources in a declarative way. It provides a simple and efficient way to provision infrastructure across different cloud providers, data centers, or even on-premises environments. With Terraform, you can manage resources such as virtual machines, networks, storage, and more.

On the other hand, Ansible excels in configuration management. It allows you to define and enforce the desired state of your infrastructure resources. Ansible uses a simple YAML syntax called playbooks to describe the configuration tasks that need to be performed on target machines. These tasks can include installing packages, configuring services, managing files, and more.

By combining Terraform with Ansible, you can leverage the best of both worlds. Terraform takes care of creating the infrastructure resources while Ansible ensures that these resources are configured correctly according to your desired state.

Using this combination also promotes reusability and modularity. You can create reusable Terraform modules to provision common infrastructure components. Once the infrastructure is provisioned, Ansible playbooks can be used to configure these components based on specific requirements. This modular approach allows you to easily scale your infrastructure and make changes without affecting other parts of the system.

Another advantage of using Terraform and Ansible together is the ability to integrate them seamlessly. After Terraform provisions the infrastructure resources, it can trigger an Ansible playbook using its "local-exec" provisioner. This way, you can automatically configure the provisioned resources without any manual intervention.

Overall, using Terraform and Ansible together provides a comprehensive solution for automating infrastructure provisioning and configuration. It simplifies the process, enhances reproducibility, promotes modularity, and improves efficiency in managing infrastructure resources. With these powerful tools at hand, you can streamline your DevOps workflows and accelerate your deployments with ease.

Getting Started with Terraform

To get started with Terraform, follow these steps:

  1. Install Terraform: Visit the Terraform website and download the appropriate version for your operating system. Once downloaded, extract the package and add the Terraform binary to your system's PATH.

  2. Initialize a Terraform project: Create a new directory for your Terraform project and navigate to it in the command line. Run the command terraform init to initialize the project. This will download the necessary provider plugins and set up the working directory.

  3. Define infrastructure resources: Create a new file with a .tf extension, such as, in your project directory. In this file, you'll define the infrastructure resources you want to provision using Terraform's declarative language. For example, you can define an AWS EC2 instance by writing:

    resource "aws_instance" "example" {
      ami           = "ami-0c94855ba95c71c99"
      instance_type = "t2.micro"

    You can define various other resources like VPCs, security groups, and load balancers using Terraform's extensive provider ecosystem.

  4. Plan and apply changes: Run terraform plan to preview the changes that will be made to your infrastructure based on your configuration files. This step allows you to review the actions that Terraform will perform before making any actual modifications.

    If everything looks good, you can apply the changes by running terraform apply. Terraform will then provision the defined resources according to your configuration.

By following these steps, you can start provisioning infrastructure resources using Terraform's declarative language and take advantage of its powerful provisioning capabilities.

Getting Started with Ansible

To get started with Ansible, follow these step-by-step instructions:

Step 1: Installing Ansible

  1. Ensure that you have Python installed on your system. Ansible requires Python version 2.7 or later.
  2. Install Ansible using pip, the package installer for Python, by running the following command:
    $ pip install ansible

Step 2: Setting up Ansible

  1. Create a directory to store your Ansible configurations and playbooks. For example:
    $ mkdir ansible
    $ cd ansible
  2. Create an inventory file to define the hosts you want to manage with Ansible. This file should be named inventory and follow the INI format. Here's an example:
    server1 ansible_host=
    server2 ansible_host=
    db1 ansible_host=
  3. Create a playbook file to define the tasks you want to execute on your hosts. This file should have a .yml extension and use YAML syntax. Here's an example of a simple playbook that installs Apache on the webservers group:
    - name: Install Apache
      hosts: webservers
        - name: Install Apache package
            name: apache2
            state: present
        - name: Start Apache service
            name: apache2
            state: started
            enabled: true

Step 3: Running Ansible Playbooks

  1. To execute your playbook, run the following command from the directory where your playbook is located:
    $ ansible-playbook playbook.yml

That's it! You have now successfully installed and set up Ansible, and executed a playbook to configure your infrastructure resources. Feel free to explore more advanced features and modules offered by Ansible to further automate and manage your infrastructure.

Integrating Terraform with Ansible

To fully automate the infrastructure provisioning and configuration process, it is important to integrate Terraform with Ansible. This allows for a seamless transition from provisioning the infrastructure to configuring it.

One way to integrate Terraform with Ansible is by using Terraform's "local-exec" provisioner. This provisioner allows you to execute arbitrary local commands after the infrastructure has been provisioned. In this case, we can use it to trigger an Ansible playbook to configure the provisioned infrastructure.

Here's an example of how this integration can be achieved:

resource "aws_instance" "example" {
  ami           = "ami-0c55b159cbfafe1f0"
  instance_type = "t2.micro"

  provisioner "local-exec" {
    command = "ansible-playbook -i ${self.public_ip}, playbook.yml"

In this example, we are provisioning an AWS EC2 instance using Terraform. The provisioner block is used to define the local command that should be executed after the instance is provisioned. In this case, we are using ansible-playbook to run an Ansible playbook called playbook.yml, which will configure the instance.

By utilizing Terraform's "local-exec" provisioner and invoking Ansible playbooks, you can seamlessly integrate the provisioning and configuration processes, making your infrastructure automation more efficient and reliable.

Best Practices for Automation

In an automated infrastructure environment, it is crucial to follow best practices to ensure efficient and reliable provisioning and configuration processes. Here are some key practices to consider:

Organizing, Versioning, and Managing Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) using Git Repositories

  1. Repository Structure: Organize your infrastructure code in a logical and modular manner. Consider creating separate directories for different environments (e.g., development, staging, production) and separate modules for different components (e.g., networking, databases).

  2. Version Control: Utilize a version control system like Git to track changes made to the infrastructure code. This allows for easy collaboration, rollbacks, and auditing. Use descriptive commit messages and branches to maintain a clear history of changes.

  3. Git Workflow: Adopt a Git workflow that suits your team's needs, such as the Gitflow workflow or the Forking workflow. These workflows provide a structured approach to managing branches, releases, and deployments.

  4. Infrastructure Code Review: Implement code review processes to ensure that changes made to the infrastructure code are thoroughly reviewed by peers. This helps identify potential issues or improvements and promotes adherence to best practices.

Testing, Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD), and Monitoring

  1. Automated Testing: Incorporate testing into your infrastructure code to validate its correctness and prevent unexpected issues. Use tools like Terratest or Kitchen-Terraform for automated testing of Terraform configurations. For Ansible playbooks, use tools like Molecule or Testinfra.

  2. Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD): Implement CI/CD pipelines to automate the deployment process and ensure consistency across environments. Use popular CI/CD tools like Jenkins, GitLab CI/CD, or CircleCI to trigger builds, run tests, and deploy infrastructure changes automatically.

  3. Infrastructure Monitoring: Set up monitoring and alerting for your infrastructure resources to detect and respond to issues promptly. Utilize tools like Prometheus, Grafana, or Datadog to monitor metrics, logs, and events related to your infrastructure.

  4. Infrastructure as Code (IaC) Validation: Regularly validate your infrastructure code to ensure its validity and compliance with best practices. Use tools like Terraform validate or Ansible-lint to catch potential issues such as syntax errors, unused resources, or insecure configurations.

By following these best practices, you can maintain a well-organized infrastructure codebase, ensure the reliability of deployments, and promote collaboration within your team. Automation combined with efficient management practices will enable faster and more reliable infrastructure provisioning and configuration.


Automating infrastructure provisioning with Terraform and Ansible offers numerous benefits in a DevOps environment. By using these powerful tools, organizations can streamline the deployment process, reduce manual errors, and achieve faster and more reliable deployments.

With Terraform, teams can define their infrastructure as code, enabling them to easily manage and version control their infrastructure configurations. This allows for reproducibility and scalability, making it easier to manage large-scale deployments.

Ansible complements Terraform by providing a simple and powerful way to configure infrastructure resources. With its YAML syntax and easy-to-understand playbooks, Ansible simplifies the process of applying configurations and ensures consistency across environments.

By integrating Terraform with Ansible, organizations can automate the entire provisioning and configuration process. After provisioning the infrastructure using Terraform, Ansible can be used to apply configurations and ensure that all resources are properly configured.

In conclusion, automating infrastructure provisioning with Terraform and Ansible is crucial in a DevOps environment. These tools help accelerate deployments, improve reliability, and provide scalability. They enable teams to manage infrastructure as code, apply consistent configurations, and achieve faster and more efficient deployments. It is highly recommended for readers to explore and leverage the power of Terraform and Ansible to enhance their automation capabilities and achieve greater operational efficiency.