Terraform is an open-source tool that supports automatic resource orchestration. Terraform allows you to preview, configure, and manage basic cloud infrastructures and resources with high performance and security. Terraform supports a variety of cloud service providers.

What is Terraform?

HashiCorp Terraform is an infrastructure as code (IaC) tool that supports automatic orchestration. Terraform allows you to manage IT resources by writing code. The easy-to-use command-line interface (CLI) of Terraform allows you to deploy configuration files on Alibaba Cloud or other supported clouds and control the versions of the configuration files. Terraform allows you to define infrastructure resources such as virtual machines (VMs), storage accounts, and network interfaces in configuration files that describe cloud resource topologies.

Terraform is a highly scalable tool that supports new infrastructures by using providers. Terraform allows you to use a simple template language to define, preview, and deploy cloud infrastructures on Alibaba Cloud. You can use Terraform to create, modify, and delete cloud resources, such as Elastic Compute Service (ECS), Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), ApsaraDB RDS, and Server Load Balancer (SLB) resources.

Terraform is a powerful DevOps tool that greatly reduces the management cost of infrastructures. It provides competitive advantages and benefits to cope with the growing complexity of business architectures, infrastructures, and resources. As cloud computing develops, Terraform is favored by an increasing number of cloud service providers and software service providers. Terraform has provided more than 100 providers and provisioners and supports up to 15 backend types.

Alibaba Cloud is the first cloud service provider in the Chinese mainland to integrate Terraform with its services. The Alibaba Cloud Provider (terraform-provider-alicloud) provides 163 resources and 113 data sources, and covers 35 Alibaba Cloud services, including computing, storage, networking, load balancing, CDN, middleware, access control, and database services. This meets the requirements of many big customers in cloud deployment automation.

Alibaba Cloud provides developers with a variety of out-of-the-box modules and examples of services in categories such as computing, storage, networks, middleware, and database services. Feel free to contribute your own modules.


Terraform provides the following benefits:
  • Multi-cloud infrastructure deployment

    Terraform is ideal for multi-cloud scenarios in which similar infrastructures are deployed on Alibaba Cloud, on other clouds, or in data centers. Terraform allows developers to use the same tools and similar configuration files to manage infrastructure resources that are built on clouds of different providers.

  • Automatic infrastructure management

    Terraform can be used to create configuration file templates to repeatedly define, provision, and configure ECS resources in a predictable manner. This reduces human errors during deployment or management operations. Terraform can deploy the same template multiple times to create identical development, test, and production environments.

  • Infrastructure as Code

    In Terraform, you can use code to manage and maintain resources. You can use Terraform to save the status of an infrastructure, track changes to system (IaC) components, and share the configuration with others.

  • Reduced development costs

    You can develop and deploy environments on demand, and make assessments before system changes are made. This helps you reduce development costs.

Use scenarios

For more information, see Scenarios.