Terraform vs. AWS CloudFormation vs. Packer



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What is Terraform?

With Terraform, you describe your complete infrastructure as code, even as it spans multiple service providers. Your servers may come from AWS, your DNS may come from CloudFlare, and your database may come from Heroku. Terraform will build all these resources across all these providers in parallel.

What is AWS CloudFormation?

You can use AWS CloudFormation’s sample templates or create your own templates to describe the AWS resources, and any associated dependencies or runtime parameters, required to run your application. You don’t need to figure out the order in which AWS services need to be provisioned or the subtleties of how to make those dependencies work.

What is Packer?

Packer automates the creation of any type of machine image. It embraces modern configuration management by encouraging you to use automated scripts to install and configure the software within your Packer-made images.

Want advice about which of these to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

Why do developers choose Terraform?
Why do you like Terraform?

Why do developers choose AWS CloudFormation?
Why do you like AWS CloudFormation?

Why do developers choose Packer?
Why do you like Packer?

What are the cons of using Terraform?
No Cons submitted yet for Terraform
Downsides of Terraform?

What are the cons of using AWS CloudFormation?
No Cons submitted yet for AWS CloudFormation
Downsides of AWS CloudFormation?

What are the cons of using Packer?
No Cons submitted yet for Packer
Downsides of Packer?

How much does Terraform cost?
How much does AWS CloudFormation cost?
How much does Packer cost?
What companies use Terraform?
495 companies on StackShare use Terraform
What companies use AWS CloudFormation?
244 companies on StackShare use AWS CloudFormation
What companies use Packer?
135 companies on StackShare use Packer
What tools integrate with Terraform?
19 tools on StackShare integrate with Terraform
What tools integrate with AWS CloudFormation?
10 tools on StackShare integrate with AWS CloudFormation
What tools integrate with Packer?
11 tools on StackShare integrate with Packer

What are some alternatives to Terraform, AWS CloudFormation, and Packer?

  • GeoEngineer - Ruby DSL and DSL (geo) to codify then plan and execute changes to cloud resources, by Coinbase
  • Habitat - Application Automation framework by Chef
  • Atlas - Develop, deploy, and maintain your application anywhere. Use one console and one workflow from development to production
  • Pulumi - Open-source cloud development platform

See all alternatives to Terraform

Using Terraform for blue-green deployments on Triton
Chef, Terraform, vCenter and Windows
Terraform with vCenter and Chef


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