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Engineering 4 min read

The DevOps Tools Face-Off: Ansible vs Terraform

DevOps is a set of practices, theories, and tools that enhance an organization’s ability to deliver services at a more incredible velocity. 

DevOps tools are just a medium to attain automation, minimize manual tasks, and improve accuracy in achieving the end goal. 

They started to get recognition as soon as cloud computing became popular. A few famous names are Puppet, Ansible, Chef, Terraform, SaltStack, and so on. 

Picking one among the sea of options can be difficult, though Ansible and Terraform are leading the way.  

So here’s the comparison, elaboration, and difference between Ansible and Terraform that might help you think, try, and decide on the right DevOps tool for your business:  

What is Ansible?


“Ansible has a market share of 31.39% in the configuration management market.” 


Ansible is a powerful configuration management tool to help you manage your apps and IT infrastructure. It is easy to use and can be used to manage both small and large-scale environments. This IT automation tool is also highly scalable and can be used to manage thousands of servers simultaneously. 

Ansible works by connecting to your servers using SSH (Secure Shell Protocol) and then executing tasks on them. 

The tasks can be anything from installing software, configuring services, or even running commands. Ansible also has strong community support and is constantly being updated with new features. 

It is an excellent tool for those who are looking for an easy-to-use configuration management tool.  

It is also highly scalable so, if you are looking for an efficient IT infrastructure tool, then Ansible is a good choice. 

Ansible features

Here are some of its most notable features: 

1. Agentless 

Ansible does not require any agents to be installed on your servers, making it very easy to get started with.  

2. Idempotent

The tasks executed by Ansible will always produce the same result, regardless of how often they are run. This makes it perfect for running repetitive tasks or tasks that need to be run in a specific order.  

3. Declarative 

Ansible uses declarative language to describe your infrastructure, making it easy to understand and maintain your playbooks.  

4. Modular 

Ansible’s modular design allows you to easily reuse tasks and create new ones when needed.  

5. Open-source 

Ansible is open source and available under the GNU General Public License. This makes it easy for anyone to contribute to its development or use it for their own projects. 

Companies like Walmart, Trivago, Evernote, and Alibaba travels have adopted Ansible.  

What is Terraform?

“Terraform boasts of having a market share of 38.05% in configuration management market.”


Terraform is a tool for building, changing, and versioning infrastructure safely and efficiently. It can manage existing and popular service providers as well as custom in-house solutions.  

Configuration files describe the components needed to run a single application or your entire data center to Terraform. 

Terraform generates an execution plan describing what it will do to reach the desired state and then executes it to build the described infrastructure.  

As the configuration changes, Terraform can determine what changed and create incremental execution plans that can be applied. 

The core of Terraform’s strategy is to describe your infrastructure as code.  

This approach enables greater collaboration on infrastructure changes, versioning changes over time and reusing configurations across your organization.   

In order to manage infrastructure as code, Terraform uses a configuration syntax called HashiCorp Configuration Language (HCL). HCL is easy to learn and allows you to describe your infrastructure in a way that is both human and machine friendly. 

Terraform features 

Terraform is leading the way in the DevOps tools list for quite great reasons; here are some of them: 

1. Infrastructure as code 

Infrastructure is described using a high-level configuration syntax. This allows a blueprint of your data center to be versioned and treated the way we treat any other kind of code.  Additionally, infrastructure can be shared and reused between teams. 

2. Executable Documentation 

Terraform transforms infrastructure configurations into an execution plan, which can be reviewed for safety and then applied to make changes.  

3. Resource Graph 

Terraform builds a graph of all your resources and parallelizes the creation and modification of any non-dependent resources. It makes efficient use of underlying cloud provider APIs and ensures that resources are created in the most logical order.  

4. Change Automation 

Complex changesets can be applied to your infrastructure with minimal human interaction. With Terraform, you can roll out an entire data center in minutes. 

Because of these features, Uber, Twitch, Slack, and Instacart have been using Terraform as their DevOps tool. 

In a nutshell: Ansible vs Terraform  

Difference-Ansible vs Terraform

Closing lines 

While there are technical differences between these two DevOps tools, there are also some similarities, like; provisioning the new cloud infrastructure and configuring it with required resources. 

The answer to ‘which one is the best tool’ lies in grey because it depends on various reasons, requirements, and resources that you currently use in your organization.  

So, keep in mind what disadvantages you may have to deal with if you choose either tool, which helps you figure out your ‘the one’ DevOps tool!

Niyati Madhvani

A flamboyant, hazel-eyed lady, Niyati loves learning new dynamics around marketing and sales. She specializes in building relationships with people through her conversational and writing skills. When she is not thinking about the next content campaign, you'll find her traveling and dwelling in books of any genre!


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