It’s hardly a surprise that automation stands as one of the core principles of agile development and DevOps. Organizations now face increasing workloads and demands amid swathes of business data and consumer needs. To efficiently address these concerns, automation is necessary. IT automation is an extensive field that ranges from automating a simple and moderate process to orchestrating several routine admin procedures.
According to a 2020 report by the World Economic Forum, 80% of business leaders say they are accelerating workflow automation with another 50% planning to speed up the automation of repetitive procedures. By enabling more automation, organizations can tap into greater efficiency and accelerate digital enablement projects. In a 2020 Salesforce report, 73% of IT leaders report that automation has helped employees save between 10 and 50% of the time they previously spent on manual tasks.
There are several IT automation tools for different operations and management processes. on the market today. One of these tools is Terraform. Terraform is one of the leading solutions for managing Infrastructure as Code and configuration management. Before you learn more about Terraform and other IT automation alternatives, let’s find out what IT automation is and its applications and benefits.
What is IT Automation?
IT operations refer to the process of automating tasks, workflows, and procedures as a means to reduce and replace manual IT operations. In other words, it automates processes that were previously performed manually, resulting in an improvement in IT infrastructure and applications. Automating the provisioning process has become critical for achieving better speed, consistency, and security as virtualized networks and cloud-based services become more complex.
The broad range of capabilities, tools, and practices, and use cases for IT automation are vast and extensive. Similarly, it is a rapidly evolving field that incorporates modern technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.
With automation, you can automate IT procedures, workflows, and policies, reducing the workload of IT staff. There is a long list of tools for IT automation to perform operations such as provisioning, build and deployment automation, server automation, security automation, and more. You can find out more on why you should automate IT infrastructure and build.
The following are a few applications of automation that your organization can leverage on:
Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment
Network and Server automation
Continuous Monitoring & Security Automation
Benefits of IT Automation
Speed: With IT automation, you can do more with less. A downside of this is that errors can spread much faster in the system, as well. Admins will have to take particular care with setting up the initial workflow, but once the system is in place, they no longer have to worry.
Accuracy: There is no perfect administrator. So, when completing a routine task or setting up a complicated task, they may end up making an error. In the meantime, an IT automation software can continue to perform the same process without interruption, exactly as programmed.
Efficiency: By freeing your IT professionals from conducting repetitive, time-consuming tasks, they can focus on innovative initiatives. Not only is this a significant saving for your business, but your IT team is free to work on more strategic initiatives.
Terraform: What Is It?
Terraform is an IT automation solution that automates configuration management. Besides being easy to use, it can also help to provision infrastructure across multiple cloud platforms, making it one of the most popular IT automation tools. Through open-source IaC, it allows the control of multiple cloud services through a command-line interface (CLI).
It comes with an out-of-the-box HashiCorp Configuration Language (HCL) support, which provides a declarative language for managing data centers.
The Features And Benefits Of Terraform Include:
As a cross-platform solution, Terraform is compatible with Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, Solaris, and OpenBSD.
Terraform includes the HCL language as a means to provide concise resource descriptions using expressions, arguments, and blocks.
Can be used to develop new resources or manage existing ones during lifecycle processes.
Automates resource provisioning and reduces human error.
Manages several services and public clouds through a unified workflow.
IT Automation: 10 Alternatives To Terraform
There are several Terraform alternatives to Ansible. The following is a list of 10 IT automation software solution alternatives to Terraform, including Ansible, Attune, Kubernetes, Jenkins, Chef, Puppet, BMC Control M, SaltStack, Vagrant, and Pulumi.
Attune is a server automation solution that is similar to Terraform. With Attune, you can provision, patch, and automate build procedures, and compliance for virtual and physical servers. By accelerating builds and deployments, Attune helps to enhance security and accelerate digital transformation. Additionally, it also supports automation using Bash, CMD, and PowerShell.
On top of this, Attune’s node automation feature allows you to automate tasks such as Raspberry Pi or Docker configuration and Home Lab set up. It also offers an easy-to-use interface for managing all your servers. It runs several scripting languages and is written in Python.
The Features And Benefits Of Attune Include:
Attune is a cross-platform automation solution that is Python-based and runs on macOS, Windows, and Linux for Attune Enterprise
A modern interface with an agentless architecture
Streamlines the task scheduling process
Offers procedures that are portable and shareable
It implements existing scripts such as running a Windows Batch file, PowerShell script, or script run by a specified (custom) interpreter on a Windows system.
It can also execute scripts written in Bash, Python, or Perl, Execute SQL or PL/SQL scripts
Attune provides automated documentation
Ansible is one of several Terraform alternatives. It is a configuration management platform that automates the software development process. This tool allows you to deploy applications, patch them, automate updates, compliance, and governance. Ansible is both lightweight and quick to deploy, making it a popular IT automation tool.
With Ansible Modules, you can connect your project to Ansible. You can manage your project with these modules. Due to Ansible’s agentless architecture, you don’t have to install client or server software. Ansible modules can run on any server or system. It also supports Python Paramiko modules and SSH protocols.
Provides support and connect to several available CI/CD solutions such as Jenkins
Fast application deployment
Reduces the complexity of software releases
Kubernetes is another IT automation alternative to Terraform. It is an open-source solution that enables automated deployment, management, and scaling of containerized applications. It simplifies container communication. It facilitates container discovery and management within an application.
No matter how complex your needs are, Kubernetes’ flexibility provides consistent and seamless application delivery. Besides giving you the option to migrate workloads to where you need them, it also lets you choose between on-premises, hybrid, and public cloud infrastructure.
The Features And Benefits Of Kubernetes Include:
Provides automated scheduling
Automates deployments and rollbacks
Provides load balancing and horizontal scaling
Ensures consistency in production, development, and testing environments
Each component of the infrastructure can function as a separate unit
Provides greater efficiency in resource utilization
Feature-rich enterprise-ready software
Manage applications centrically
Flexible infrastructure with auto-scaling
Jenkins is an automation server that enables developers and organizations to build, test, and deploy software. It also integrates with several other plugins and tools to assist developers in orchestrating test automation and CI/CD pipelines for any application project. It’s a Java-based program. It provides support for Windows, Mac OS, and other UNIX-like operating systems.
A web interface is available for setting up and configuring Jenkins. The configuration is easy since the program performs automatic errors checks.
Chef is a configuration management tool that helps to manage configurations across a wide range of servers. Through continuous monitoring, it ensures that servers meet established standards. It also has a good track record of handling complex systems.
For automatic provisioning and configuration, Chef integrates various cloud services, including Microsoft Azure, Amazon EC2, and the Google Cloud Platform. It facilitates the connection of all IT infrastructure components, making the installation of new ones easy without the need for manual intervention.
The Features And Benefits Of Chef Include:
The system configuration uses Ruby and Erlang-based Domain-Specific Languages (DSLs)
Ensures flexible and consistent scaling as businesses evolve
Oversees the management of IT infrastructure and cloud services
High availability of servers
Offers standalone and server/client configuration modes
Provides multi-platform support for Mac OS, Microsoft Windows, Ubuntu, Solaris, RedHat/CentOS, FreeBSD, AIX, and Fedora
Puppet enables you to install, configure, and manage servers. Moreover, it facilitates continuous deployment, compliance, and configuration management. Using Master-Slave architecture, Puppet operates on a secure encryption channel enabled by SSL.
By using the orchestrator and code manager in Puppet enterprise, you can easily move your infrastructure to a continuous delivery pipeline. Furthermore, you can streamline deployments across multiple data centers, allowing you to configure parameters, applications, and environments as required.
With Puppet, you can make changes to your business while maintaining consistency and remaining compliant.
The Features And Benefits Of Puppet Include:
Works on Linux, Windows, and Unix-like operating systems and is based on C++ and Ruby
Provides configuration and continuous monitoring for all hosts
Improves scaling and reduces human error
Centralized–master-server, repository-based–control of all configured machines
Adopted by over 30,000 organizations, such as Google, Red Hat, Siemens, Stanford University, and Harvard University.
Provides detailed references and documentation
Puppet Server is compatible with most Linux and Unix platforms providing Ruby support, such as Windows, CentOS, and Oracle Enterprise Linux.
SaltStack is a Terraform alternative that offers hybrid, on-premises, and cloud infrastructure management. It uses Python to manage configurations and allows you to run commands remotely. It provides support for agentless and agent-based environments.
With SaltStack, detection and response to any system can happen automatically, giving large, complex environments the most comprehensive management and monitoring system available. It can also provide SecOps capabilities to detect and fix vulnerabilities and misconfigured systems. As soon as an issue arises, you can fix it instantly, guaranteeing that your infrastructure is always compliant, updated, and secure.
The Features And Benefits Of Salt Include:
Salt minions can connect to multiple masters at the same time using the Salt Master parameter. The parameter specifies a list of Master addresses.
The system is highly scalable with the capability to manage up to ten thousand minions at once
It allows remote systems to run commands in parallel
It enables the deployment, management, and execution of commands based on model-driven configurations
Vagrant is an automation software tool that lets you create and manage virtual machines all from a single workplace. The Vagrant workflow enhances production parity, decreases setup time for development environments, and gets rid of the “works on my machine” excuse.
With a VM-controlled environment, users can automate software installation, configuration changes, and all aspects of the lifecycle used for later deployment without additional concerns during the development process.
Vagrant allows you to create custom configurations for simulating staging/production environments quickly for local development and testing.
The Features And Benefits Of Vagrant
Integrates easily with configuration management solutions like Chef, Salt, Ansible, and Puppet
Easy to use workflow
Works well across several platforms such as Linux, Mac, and Window OS
Provides a singular configuration file that describes machine types and software installations
Provides the ideal development environment for DevOps team members.
Pulumi is a modern Infrastructure-as-Code solution. You can use familiar programming languages and tools to build, deploy, and manage infrastructure anywhere in the cloud. It allows you to use the same tools, workflows, and language across all clouds.
The Features And Benefits Of Pulumi
Provides access to several cloud services including AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Kubernetes, and Digital Ocean, as well as Cloudflare, New Relic, and Datadog
10. BMC Control M
BMC Control-M is a workflow orchestration solution. It helps to streamline the orchestration of business applications. It provides integrations with AWS and Azure as a means to simplify workflow across hybrid and multi-cloud environments.
By using the Control-M interface, you can create a workflow to automate a script. Afterward, the system will write scripts to represent each of the required tasks. You can store the script and run it later or schedule it to run on demand. It can also run as a repetitive process, which launches every night at midnight.
It is possible to execute workflows across several operating systems. Furthermore, they are accessible by remote and cloud-based servers. Control-M is useful for the secure transfer of files between servers and for setting up virtual machines.
The Features And Benefits Of Control M
Develops faster and better application through workflow orchestration
Uses the Job-as-Code approach to enhance and facilitate better Dev and Ops collaboration
It provides enhanced visibility and intelligent file movement to help you control file transfer operations
Provides scalable data workflow management
Provides faster data-driven insights
Post Written by Alexander Fashakin
Hi there, I am a programmer, content writer and aspiring product growth manager. I love learning about exciting new products and technologies.