AWS and HashiCorp’s Journey to 1 Billion Terraform AWS Provider Downloads

AWS and HashiCorp's Journey to 1 Billion Terraform AWS Provider Downloads

AWS re:Invent is one of the largest IT conferences in the world, and it’s right around the corner. AWS re:Invent 2022 will be in Las Vegas, November 28 – December 2, and HashiCorp will be featured heavily with breakout sessions, expert talks, and product demos.

Before AWS re:Invent kicks off, we want to reflect on Terraform’s history, our current project collaboration with AWS, and the state of the Terraform AWS provider, which topped one billion downloads this year.

»It Started with Infrastructure as Code

The rise of hardware virtualization in the mid-2000s spawned new opportunities for infrastructure hosting. Cloud hosting providers began offering access to dynamic infrastructure as a service (IaaS) platforms. As these platforms grew and began offering more sophisticated infrastructure services, the complexity of a traditional systems administration role also grew. The need to rapidly configure and manage expanding cloud infrastructures quickly became a challenge.

In 2011, AWS introduced CloudFormation, a service that helps model and set up AWS resources so that you can spend less time managing those resources and more time focusing on your applications that run on AWS. With CloudFormation you could create a template that describes all the AWS resources you want to use (like Amazon EC2 instances or Amazon RDS database instances), and CloudFormation takes care of provisioning and configuring those resources for you. You no longer have to individually create and configure AWS resources and figure out what’s dependent on what; CloudFormation handles that for you.

»HashiCorp Terraform 0.1

Over time, though, a need grew for an environment-agnostic solution; a tool that could provide the same workflows, no matter what application you were using. The best, and maybe the only way to do this, was through the power of an open source ecosystem. In 2014, HashiCorp released Terraform 0.1, an open source, cloud-agnostic infrastructure as code solution. Terraform 0.1 supported AWS resources at release. The idea was to start there and extend this automated provisioning workflow to any infrastructure simply by adding a new provider for that specific piece of infrastructure.

»Terraform’s Growth

Terraform was far from an overnight success. Downloads were mostly stagnant for the first 18 months, and at one point shutting down the project was considered. The team at HashiCorp believed that Terraform would succeed primarily based on the ecosystem created around it; that is, the providers it would support. Building this ecosystem required an active and vibrant open source community. So Terraform was built to be easy to write and easy to use, and continued to iterate on the core workflow to ensure it solved real world problems.

By the end of 2016 Terraform had more than 750 contributors. In 2017, HashiCorp launched the first provider program to help partners and communities build, post, and maintain providers. In that same year, the Terraform Registry launched to enable partners and community to compose and share modules. Downloads began to double every month as new modules and providers were added.

»Scaling Terraform

From 2018 to 2020, HashiCorp began to put more focus on commercializing Terraform. This was an important step to ensure the open source project and the company behind it were sustainable. HashiCorp released Terraform Enterprise and Terraform Cloud and began adding large organizations as paying customers. Meanwhile, HashiCorp continued to iterate on Terraform and released the largest, most impactful open source release, Terraform 0.12, in 2018.

»Terraform: Beyond the Basics with AWS

AWS supported Terraform in 2016 by publishing one of the most popular AWS Partner Network (APN) blog posts of all time — Terraform: Beyond the Basics with AWS. The post showed AWS users how to create, update, and version AWS infrastructure using Terraform. It also defined many best practices for working in Terraform and AWS, including:

With more than one billion downloads, thousands of contributions, and an incredible community, Terraform is the world’s most widely adopted infrastructure as code tool. Today there are more than 2,500 Terraform providers and 10,000 modules. Terraform has achieved this success because of the community around it: the open source contributors, the ambassadors, our users, and our partners.

As the community adopted Terraform for infrastructure as code, many large organizations also realized that Terraform had what they needed for successful infrastructure automation. As they scale, these organizations need a standardized approach to compose, reuse, and collaborate around infrastructure as code to provision infrastructure. Today, there are thousands of Terraform commercial customers. World class organizations are standardizing on Terraform Enterprise to help drive their digital transformations. Terraform is boosting their operation’s productivity, reducing risks, and increasing the velocity of their application teams.

»The State of Terraform and AWS

In 2022, the Terraform AWS provider surpassed one billion downloads — as of publication the count stands at 1.3 billion downloads, half of which occurred in this year:

This content was originally published here.