Terraform vs CloudFormation vs Ansible

This article aims to assist you in understanding the functional differences between these three methods so that you can make better decisions. read this article to learn how each of them differs from or resembles the others. 

Terraform vs Cloudformation vs Ansible

Terraform is a tool that allows you to efficiently and conveniently define your infrastructure.

However, other platforms, such as CloudFormation and Ansible, compete with Terraform by providing similar functionality.

As a result, a comparison of Terraform vs CloudFormation vs Ansible is essential to help you decide which of the three is the best. 

Terraform vs CloudFormation

In this Terraform vs. Cloud Formation comparison, you’ll learn how the two vary in terms of functionalities for your particular requirements.

Terraform is an open-source software tool that follows the infrastructure-as-code concept when it comes to setting up or provisioning infrastructure.

It’s a cloud tool that translates multiple APIs into configuration files that can be shared among team members.

Based on the specifications, these coded APIs can be modified and versioned. 

AWS’ CloudFormation program is a managed service that includes a shared language for modelling and provisioning third-party app tools.

It’s achieved with a single point of reference for infrastructure mapping and creation for your cloud platform.

CloudFormation eliminates the headache of determining which resources must be provisioned and how to bind the dependencies. 

Now that you’ve learned the realistic definitions of Terraform and Cloud Formation, it’s time to weigh in on Terraform vs CloudFormation.

This Terraform vs. CloudFormation comparison will help you understand the differences in selection criteria between the two tools.

 1. State File Format

Terraform’s state file is in JSON format, while CloudFormation will work with both JSON and YAML state files. 

2. Differences in Terms of Scope

 CloudFormation is set to cover the majority of AWS components, but it will take some time to support or assist new service capabilities.

In comparison to CloudFormation, Terraform includes all AWS sections and resources and is quicker in supporting service functionality or AWS features.

Terraform also integrates with third-party platforms and cloud providers. License & Support

3. License & Support

CloudFormation is available for free on AWS, and the support plans include excellent CloudFormation support.

Terraform is well-known enterprise software that is also an open-source project.

Terraform applications are supported by Hashicorp 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

4. Management of State

Before we get into the differences between Terraform and CloudFormation in terms of state management, it’s important to note that keeping track of all existing resources under the management portal is critical for both tools. 

CloudFormation keeps track of its state in stacks, while Terraform keeps track of it on a disc or on a provisioning screen.

Terraform also has remote state options including Terraform Cloud, S3, and DynamoDB. 

5. Modularization

Terraform includes native support for a wide range of modules, as well as a number of open-source modules embedded in the Terraform registry. CloudFormation does not have modular support, but it does have several unique features for modularizing templates. There is no central location for sharing models in CloudFormation. While the export function allows users to share outputs, it does not enable them to be changed. 

6. Change Verification

This Terraform vs. CloudFormation comparison will show how change-verification differs between the two. CloudFormation provides changesets that can be used to enforce or validate changes.

However, Terraform has a command called ‘plan’ that is used to elaborate and illustrate a thorough description of the infrastructure improvements or modifications to be made. 

7. Wait Conditions 

Over time, wait conditions are often applied to infrastructure automation aspects.

Users can allow and use wait conditions in CloudFormation to add multiple breakpoints to an existing prototype. Terraform, on the other hand, does not have such a function for allowing wait conditions. 

8. Handling of the Existing Resources

When compared to CloudFormation, Terraform is better at managing capital. For countable or fewer resource types, CloudFormation may only import the current resources. Terraform, on the other hand, has no such limitations when it comes to importing existing capital. It also helps data providers to query the attributes of these services. 

These are a few of the functional differences highlighted in the Terraform vs. CloudFormation comparison.

By taking into account all of the factors, you would be able to choose the best tool for your needs. 

Terraform vs. CloudFormation

Terraform vs. Ansible

At the start of this article, there is a lot of information about Terraform.

So, before we get into the Terraform vs. Ansible comparison, here’s some background on Ansible. 

Red Hat developed Ansible in 2012, and it has been in use since then.

It is well-known as an open-source configuration management tool.

Ansible’s architecture is serverless and agentless.

Mods for UNIX, Windows, and other hosts are certainly supported.

Ansible relies on PowerShell or SSH sessions to get started with configuration tasks. 

The following are the functional variations between Terraform and Ansible based on various criteria:


Terraform’s declarative model is missing some key elements, resulting in some difficulties when applying provisioning in specific ways.

Ansible is designed to provide a unified provisioning experience across cloud services, hosts, hypervisors, and servers.

As a result, it is thought to be a better provisioning mechanism than Terraform. 

2.Configuring Cloud Infrastructures

Terraform is designed to perfectly configure cloud infrastructures, while Ansible is designed to configure servers only.  


Terraform aids the company in the deployment of VPCs, load balancers, and other infrastructure components, while Ansible is designed to instal applications on top of the infrastructure. 


Terraform is thought to use a declarative programming language!

That’s because it declares what’s essential rather than the execution mechanism directly.

The environment is defined by Terraform, and the adjustments made to it will only be implemented in the next ‘Apply’ session.

Ansible adapts the procedural language used to derive the steps required to achieve the desired outcome.

5.State Management / Packaging & Templating 

Terraform provides partial and significant support for templating and packaging, while Ansible provides full support. 

Terraform is heavily reliant on state management features, while Ansible lacks lifecycle management ideologies. 


These are the functional differences between Terraform, Ansible, and CloudFormation to help you understand the benefits of each method.

Keeping these reference points in mind will assist you in selecting the best choice for your needs. 


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