'Top 10' Buyers Guides

The Top 10 Infrastructure as Code (IaC) Tools

Assess the top 10 Infrastructure as Code (IaC) Tools known for their declarative configuration, automation, and versioning capabilities to manage and provision infrastructure resources efficiently.

The Top 10 Infrastructure as Code (IaC) Tools include:
  • 1. AWS CloudFormation
  • 2. CFEngine
  • 3. Chef Infrastructure Management
  • 4. Microsoft Azure Resource Manager
  • 5. Otter
  • 6. Pulumi
  • 7. Puppet
  • 8. Red Hat Ansible
  • 9. Salt
  • 10. Terraform

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tools allow IT professionals to manage and provision computer data centers through machine-readable definition files, rather than manual hardware configuration or interactive configuration tools. By using this approach, developers can automate the provisioning, configuration, and management of infrastructure, which leads to a massive reduction in production time, human error, and technical debt.

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tools operate by converting data center infrastructure into a high-level descriptive language. This language then orchestrates low-level command-line interfaces, scripts, or other domain-specific languages. The overarching goal is to provide a near-identical replication of environments, all managed in a streamlined, efficient, and error-free manner.

By utilizing the IaC methodology, IT administrators and developers can gain a much more streamlined, efficient, and reliable system operation pathway. This not only leads to rapid deployment, but also to a less error-prone, more manageable, and more secure infrastructure environment.

The Infrastructure as Code market is full of robust tools, each delivering unique features and specifications that are designed to cater to different needs and requirements. These tools typically integrate with a range of other DevOps technologies, such as Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) tools, version control solutions, and container orchestration platforms, and they follow various cloud-based, hybrid, or on-premises deployment models.

This guide will explore the top 10 Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tools. We’ll examine their features such as integration capabilities, scalability, deployment models, and language support, based on our technical analysis and industry reviews.

AWS Logo

AWS CloudFormation is a service that accelerates cloud provisioning by treating infrastructure as code, facilitating worldwide scaling and resource management across all AWS accounts and regions. The service offers extensive infrastructure management, including cloud resources within the CloudFormation Registry, the developer community, and your library. AWS CloudFormation also features organization-wide automated resource management through AWS service integrations.

The features include managing infrastructure through continuous integration and delivery automations, scaling production stacks from single Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances to complex multi-region applications. It enables the sharing of best practices, such as defining an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) subnet or provisioning services like AWS OpsWorks or Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS).

AWS CloudFormation extends its services to allow users to model and provision third-party resources and modules published by the AWS Partner Network (APN) Partners and the developer community. It also features cross-account and cross-region management through CloudFormation StackSets, allowing users to provision a common set of AWS resources across multiple accounts and regions.

In summary, AWS CloudFormation provides an accelerated cloud provisioning method, extensive resource management capabilities, and flexible options for managing infrastructure. Its core strengths include automated resource management, large-scale production stacks, and cross-region and cross-account management, making it a valuable tool for businesses looking to optimize their AWS resources.

AWS Logo
CFEngine Logo

CFEngine is an infrastructure automation solution that simplifies system management for IT administrators. It is designed to meet the needs of increasingly diverse IT environments. CFEngine efficiently manages modern public and private clouds, hybrid environments, and IoT.

The primary function of CFEngine is to act as a ‘single source of truth’. This eliminates the need for multiple isolated solutions, often used to address individual problems which can result in fragmented information. CFEngine provides a holistic view of the entire IT infrastructure, generating reliable data that can be integrated seamlessly with 3rd party systems via its API.

The automation capabilities of CFEngine are exceptionally versatile. It removes the need for manual tasks such as system provisioning, patch management, access management, and other system configuration tasks. This allows IT professionals to accomplish more with fewer resources in less time. Additionally, CFEngine provides robust future-proofing for your infrastructure. It ensures system consistency by continuously checking systems and automatically correcting any configuration drifts.

In summary, CFEngine is a highly effective tool for automating infrastructure management. It offers a significant reduction in process complexity, allows cost-efficient scalability, and provides a reliable and comprehensive overview of system statuses. By automating routine tasks, it allows IT teams to focus more on strategic initiatives and less on daily system management.

CFEngine Logo
Progress Logo

Chef Infrastructure Management, developed by Progress,  is a DevOps solution engineered to automate infrastructure management. It allows IT teams to model and securely deploy scalable automated infrastructure across any cloud, virtual machines, or physical infrastructure.

The product offers features like test-driven development tools that parallel application testing and configuration changes, AIOps support for scaling with data consolidations and third-party integrations, and self-service options for on-demand provision and deployment of infrastructure. Its core strength lies in its simplicity, which allows users to start quickly using YAML and resort to using Ruby only for complex tasks.

Chef Infrastructure Management also bolsters control and coordination for complex services and environments with features like customizable, resource-specific authorizations for users or teams, and advanced notification systems. ‘Data Path’, an integral feature, lets users map data to third-party systems, thereby supporting AIOps implementations and permitting data integration with intelligence and monitoring systems.

In summary, Chef Infrastructure Management presents a robust solution for modern-day infrastructure management. Its automation tools simplify complex processes, reduce risks, and eliminate configuration drift, while facilitating secure and efficient multi-cloud support, immediate configuration drift correction, and pull-based CI/CD system workflows.

Progress Logo
Microsoft Logo

Azure Resource Manager (ARM) is a deployment and management service for Azure offering a single management layer for creating, updating, and deleting resources in your Azure account. By using ARM, you can handle all your resources in a uniform and consistent manner.

ARM is known for its effective and consistent management. All requests made via any of the Azure APIs, tools, or SDKs, are received and authenticated by the Resource Manager, resulting in consistent results across different tools. ARM allows you to manage your infrastructure through declarative templates, making the deployment, management, and monitoring of all your resources into a streamlined process.

Notably, ARM is integrated with Azure Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) allowing you to control who can perform actions on the resources. It categorizes resources for easy management and billing. By applying tags to resources, you can logically organize all your necessities. Additionally, it provides an audit log of all user actions, adding an extra layer of security to your resources.

In summary, Azure Resource Manager simplifies the management of app resources by providing a consistent platform to deploy, manage, and secure your Azure resources. It offers ease of use for deployment tasks, gives control over resource accessibility, and enables efficient tracking of billing and management.

Microsoft Logo
Otter Logo

Otter, designed by Inedo, offers a server provisioning and configuration management solution. The key aim of Otter is to allow you and your team to construct complex scripts within a simplified GUI. This feature facilitates server configuration and monitoring operations by providing more user-friendly access to critical systems management functionality.

One of Otter’s central features is its Job Templates, designed to facilitate the execution of complex PowerShell and Shell scripts. It provides visual and text modes for script development, welcoming users with different levels of programming expertise. A crucial function is the ability to manage configuration drift by defining, detecting, and rectifying discrepancies in server setups.

In addition to basic functions, Otter stands out by providing detailed histories and extensive logging, offering insight into what changes have been applied, when, and by whom. This feature enhances accountability and transparency in system management. The software also comes with web-based dashboards and reports that offer comprehensive insights into your infrastructure.

Otter by Inedo gives you the ability to undertake server provisioning and configuration management tasks more efficiently. It promotes team collaboration, allows for the quick identification and remediation of configuration drift, and enhances system transparency and accountability. All these make Otter an indispensable tool for IT managers and developers.

Otter Logo
Pulumi Logo

Pulumi enables users to author infrastructure code in popular programming languages. This interactive development environment comes with autocomplete, type checking, and documentation, providing an intuitive and user-friendly experience.

The platform’s core features include a single source of truth for configurations with easy management and provision for dynamic secrets. With Pulumi’s role-based access controls, you get to have least-privileged access in a secure environment. In addition, Pulumi’s cloud store ensures your infrastructure state secrets are securely backed up and provides top-notch visibility into your cloud deployment.

Additional strengths of Pulumi are its provision for Internal Developer Portals (IDP) and compliance adhering codes. The IDPs facilitate the provisioning of security compliant infrastructure for developers. Pulumi AI is another attribute which simplifies infrastructure coding through intuitive language commands. Pulumi’s strong emphasis on collaboration between developers, security, and operation teams through familiar programming languages gives it a leading edge.

In conclusion, Pulumi provides a comprehensive infrastructure as code platform anchored on collaboration, security, and flexibility. Its cloud-native approach ensures seamless integration with your CI/CD pipelines and enforces effective policies in a user-friendly package. Overall, Pulumi is a strong candidate for efficient infrastructure as code solution.

Pulumi Logo
Puppet Logo

Puppet Enterprise is an infrastructure automation and compliance tool designed with scale and efficiency in mind. Its focus is to offload repetitive operations and reduce human error, thereby aiding IT teams to manage infrastructure more effectively. Its powerful automation capabilities enable integration across the infrastructure’s full lifecycle enhancing speed and coverage.

Key features of Puppet Enterprise include its robust capability for infrastructure management. It provides real-time monitoring and reporting, allowing swift detection and elimination of compliance errors. Additionally, it can be effectively used to provision resources, manage infrastructure, and maintain compliance in on-prem systems, cloud infrastructure, or hybrid IT environments.

Another advantage of Puppet Enterprise comes from its unique automated policy enforcement feature ensuring continuous compliance and desired state enforcement across your infrastructure. The ability to use custom modules for remediation of common issues also augment its strength.

In summary, Puppet Enterprise is an innovative solution for efficient infrastructure management. Its comprehensive automation capabilities, error monitoring and remediation features, along with its compliance tools, make it an asset for managing IT environments on various scales. Also, its scalability and flexibility across different operating systems make it adaptable for diverse organizational settings.

Puppet Logo
Red Hat Logo

Red Hat Ansible is an open-source automation platform designed to facilitate and simplify various tasks for system administrators, developers, and IT managers. The platform focuses on Infrastructure as Code (IaC) methodologies, using configuration files to manage and provision infrastructure more efficiently and reliably. The use of a version control system allows infrastructure to be modular and reusable through automation.

The platform is loaded with key features that address various aspects of data automation. This includes hybrid cloud automation that enables provisioning across both public and private clouds. Additionally, it offers security automation through a collection of modules and playbooks designed to assess and respond to threats. The platform also avails configuration management, effectively centralizing configuration file management and deployment.

Red Hat Ansible incorporates AI technology through Red Hat Ansible Lightspeed with IBM Watsonx Code Assistant – a generative AI tool that assists teams in creating and maintaining Ansible Automation Platform content. This AI-powered component provides valuable code recommendations based on user prompts and Ansible best practices. An automation execution environment ensures consistency in automation across different platforms, thereby improving reliability and reducing the risk of drift between development and production.

To summarize, Red Hat Ansible is a comprehensive automation platform designed to help organizations adopt and implement efficient IaC methods. It is a robust platform that boosts efficiency, fosters scalability, enhances security, and enables a more streamlined automation process.

Red Hat Logo
Salt Logo

Salt is a Python-based, event-driven automation tool and framework that handles the deployment, configuration, and management of complex IT systems. It allows for the automation of common IT administration tasks and supports the maintenance of a consistent operational state within an IT infrastructure.

The key features and functions of Salt include its comprehensive configuration management capabilities. These range from operating system deployment and configuration to software application installation and setup. Salt can manage servers, virtual machines, containers, databases, web servers, and network devices, ensuring constant configuration and avoiding configuration discrepancies. Salt provides automated IT processes, creates self-aware, self-healing systems, and supports almost any operating system.

Additional features of Salt include a distributed remote execution system used to execute commands and gather data from remote nodes. Flexible and scalable, Salt can handle large amounts of information and manage hundreds, even thousands, of individual servers swiftly via a straightforward, user-friendly interface. Salt also provides more granular controls, enabling the targeting of systems not only by hostname, but also by system properties.

In summary, Salt is a powerful automation and configuration management tool for IT. It combines simplicity, scale, and versatility, offering a range of benefits from high-speed command execution to easy setup and fine-grained control. It also operates on an open-source model using the Apache 2.0 license, encouraging, and promoting collaborative growth with its user community.

Salt Logo
Terraform Logo

Terraform is an infrastructure automation solution designed to provision and manage resources across different data centers and clouds. This powerful tool employs cloud-specific APIs to codify infrastructure in a declarative manner within configuration files.

The main features of Terraform encompass infrastructure codification, workflow construction, standardization, and scalability. It enables you to assemble infrastructure as code in a Terraform file using HashiCorp Language (HCL), which interacts with any infrastructure provider. It allows IT operations and developer teams to create automation workflows to compose, collaborate, reuse, and provision infrastructure as code. Additionally, Terraform helps establish security, compliance, and cost management guidelines through role-based access controls, policy enforcement, and audits. The solution also supports scalability, facilitating self-service infrastructure across the organization while integrating with VCS, ITSM, and CI/CD.

Secondary capabilities and strengths include the ability to automate the delivery of various types of infrastructure – servers, databases, firewall policies, and many other resources – regardless of whether they’re located on AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud. Terraform’s prominent use cases cover multi-cloud provisioning, Kubernetes management, network infrastructure management, virtual image management, workflow integration, policy enforcement as code, and secrets injection into Terraform.

Overall, Terraform is a multi-functional tool that streamlines and standardizes infrastructure automation. By employing a consistent workflow across all infrastructure, it enables efficient cloud adoption, while maintaining high-standard security through policy enforcement.

Terraform Logo
The Top 10 Infrastructure as Code (IaC) Tools