Terraform versus Puppet comparison, lead image.
Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto/SeventyFour

If you are trying to choose the best DevOps tool for your organization, you’ve come to the right place. This article provides a comprehensive analysis of Terraform and Puppet, two popular tools that offer DevOps solutions for businesses and organizations. In our comparison, we will be looking at the essential DevOps features and capabilities of each product so that you can choose the best option for streamlining your application and service processes.

What is Terraform?

Terraform is an open source infrastructure-as-a-code solution provided by HashiCorp. This software solution has many aspects that are beneficial for DevOps processes.

What is Puppet?

Puppet is a software configuration management tool that provides a foundation for DevOps practices. In addition, the tool enables users to leverage automation and collaboration features to support their DevOps management.

Terraform vs Puppet feature comparison

HashiCorp Configuration LanguageCollaboration featuresAutomation capabilitiesDevOps-specific consulting servicesTesting

Common features of Terraform and Puppet


Terraform has remote collaboration features that help each organizational department communicate effectively through the DevOps process. One of these is state management. Users can manage the production, updates and general status of resources through each state of its lifecycle, as the feature has remote state storage. This way, all involved users will be on the same page about the status of their resources, reducing room for error and miscommunication.

In addition, the software’s centralized plans allow users to review and work together on decisions in one location, and they can share reusable modules across their teams. Finally, advanced plans have permission access features, enabling users to enforce policies before creating infrastructure.

Puppet also supports the integration of DevOps processes, aiming to improve collaboration across teams. Significant components include the product’s Git and version control. The tool’s code development involves its Gitflow process, allowing users to track, test and share their code with colleagues. Team members can make edits to existing code by creating a pull request, which will show the proposed changes to the team, so everyone can review and approve of the change before it is established. Puppet also has integration services that can improve cross-team collaboration with tools like Windows, ServiceNow, HashiCorp Vault and Chocolatey.

SEE: Implementing DevOps: A guide for IT pros (free PDF) (TechRepublic)


A quality DevOps tool requires automation features, and Terraform’s software doesn’t disappoint. Automation ensures consistency throughout the production process and maintains effective workflows. The remote state feature automatically saves states for updates by subsequent runs. Terraform Cloud’s version control integration enables users to approve changes or let the system perform runs automatically as soon as the pull request is merged into the main branch. Of course, Terraform has default commands to lead the user within the system, and users can adjust this. For example, configuring the environment variables within the system controls can deemphasize specific commands to run.

Puppet provides users with infrastructure automation features for scaling and building cloud-native workflows. The continuous automation features help users save time and effort to dedicate themselves to more critical practices while the system takes care of the rest. The software uses idempotency to apply code repeatedly and automate the process of configuring servers to their desired state as identified by the user with Puppet’s declarative code. Automated testing helps users stay updated on their code and infrastructure process status. Its automation features also automate the development pipeline within the entire application development lifecycle.

SEE: How to recruit and hire a DevOps engineer (TechRepublic Premium)


Terraform provides users with infrastructure testing methods to verify configuration and infrastructure resources. This involves unit tests, contract tests, integration tests, end-to-end tests, terraform model testing and terraform configuration testing. These tests can be run within the Terraform system, and users can automate tests to reduce the time necessary for manual assessment of changes and errors before production. Unit and contract tests can quickly automate the verification of configurations. System commands can also perform basic-level code tests to quickly and easily identify errors.

As previously mentioned, Puppet’s software provides automated testing with the Gitflow process. However, Puppet’s technology also offers other ways to implement testing to ensure the quality and efficiency of module development and to avoid errors and regressions. The system enables users to specify guardrails and adjust the parameters and variations of their code to allow testing. Users can perform acceptance testing and multi-node acceptance tests in Puppet Development Kit using the puppetlabs-ntp module. Additionally, experienced users can write their own acceptance tests to automate the maintenance of their infrastructure status.

Choosing between Terraform and Puppet

Now that you have more information about Terraform and Puppet and their relative features, you can consider the capabilities they offer their users and how well they would serve your DevOps needs. For example, your organization may wish to utilize a tool that automatically streamlines your server configuration, making Puppet a viable option. But other organizations might prefer the model testing capabilities and system command features Terraform offers. So take a look at which tool would work better with and provide more to your organization’s DevOps processes when choosing the ideal tool.

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