Sat. May 21st, 2022
Chef vs Terraform: DevOps tool comparison

Server configuration, automation and infrastructure growth are on the coronary heart of each IT enterprise operation. Learn this characteristic comparability of two DevOps instruments, Chef and Terraform, to boost your IT effectivity.

chef vs terraform
Picture: NicoElNino/Adobe Inventory

Chef and Terraform symbolize two of the highest instruments driving enchancment in DevOps. Which of those DevOps instruments has the most effective options to your organizations’ wants, and what must you think about earlier than adopting both resolution? This characteristic comparability of Chef and Terraform will reply each questions.

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What’s Chef?

Progress Chef is an open-source configuration administration software that facilitates the automation of DevOps processes and duties throughout a number of servers. If you recognize your approach round this Chef, all that’s required is just some clicks to automate and handle the software program throughout a number of units inside your group.

With Chef, you’ll be able to develop, destroy and rebuild servers in your most well-liked cloud platform. It permits customers to simply scale infrastructures within the cloud with no downtime and transfer their purposes from one cloud platform to a different.

What’s Terraform?

Terraform by HashiCorp is an open-source DevOps software that helps you construct, handle and outline infrastructure in human-readable language. With Terraform, you’ll be able to simply automate and handle your infrastructure and companies working in your organizational platform utilizing declarative programming.

Terraform permits builders to assemble and alter infrastructure in a safe and environment friendly atmosphere. Terraform can help with multicloud deployments by offering a single process for all clouds.

Chef vs. Terraform: Characteristic comparability

Characteristic Chef Terraform
Mutability Sure No
Server configuration and automation Sure Sure
Declarative language Sure Sure
Immutability No Sure
Procedural language Sure No
Cloud performance Sure Sure
Cloud agnostic Sure Sure

Head-to-head comparability: Chef vs. Terraform


Automation is one characteristic each Chef and Terraform can present to DevOps engineers. With infrastructure as code functionality, infrastructure modifications are automated and will be utilized throughout a number of cloud environments.

Cloud agnostic

Each Chef and Terraform provide cross-platform compatibility. Why is that this vital? As a result of Chef and Terraform provide cloud agnostic capabilities. This enhances the flexibility of DevOps engineers to deploy software program sooner within the cloud with out going to construct the identical software program for every cloud supplier.


If you happen to select between these instruments, it’s essential to determine whether or not your venture requires mutable or immutable environments. Making a shift from mutable to immutable infrastructure can value your group some huge cash. If you’re going for a mutable infrastructure, Chef will likely be best suited to your tasks, because it permits for simpler adjustments. With Chef, your DevOps group can apply their patches and upgrades while not having to create servers from scratch.

Nevertheless, in case your venture doesn’t consistently want an improve in servers, it is best to chooseTerraform, as a result of it provides you immutable infrastructure. This characteristic implies that your servers don’t get modified after they’re deployed; relatively, they are often changed with a brand new server.

Whereas errors, configuration drifts, and snowflake servers are mitigated or lowered to the barest minimal when utilizing Terraform, the identical can’t be mentioned for utilizing Chef due to its mutable infrastructure provisioning.

Selecting between Chef and Terraform

Selecting between these instruments will rely upon the operational priorities of a company.

In case your group is extra inclined to make use of a software for fast and dependable deployment, Terraform could also be a greater choice than Chef. With Terraform, DevOps engineers can define applications in additional organized pipelines for infrastructure, lowering guide operations.

DevOps engineers like to mix instruments throughout growth as a result of no software can match a company’s each want. So, should you want a software that capabilities higher with standard instruments comparable to Docker or Packer, Terraform is a greater choice than Chef.

With Terraform, a company can simply monitor its adjustments on all their deployments, making it simple to maintain a document of each growth course of. This characteristic is essential as new builders can simply research the information of all adjustments made once they be a part of a brand new group. As well as, this characteristic could be very essential to massive IT corporations that want many palms to deal with operations.

If you happen to want a software with each declarative and crucial approaches to programming, Chef is a better option than Terraform. With Chef, DevOps can both undertake the declarative method to programming, which is simpler to make use of, or the crucial method, which includes writing code that particulars the steps the pc should take to course of particular capabilities.

Once more, it’s harder to diagnose configuration bugs when utilizing Chef due to its mutable characteristic. Therefore, it’s not excellent for the administration and deployment of huge purposes, because it doesn’t assure the discount in bug incidents within the codebase.

A company with many builders who perceive the workings of the Ruby programming language may must undertake the Chef software, because it’s written in Ruby. Alternatively, when you’ve got a  variety of builders who’re extra accustomed to the Go language, adopting Terraform will likely be a greater choice.

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