Traditional methods of infrastructure development are tedious and time-consuming. Organizations are always looking for efficient ways to build and deploy scalable applications without compromising on agility or flexibility. Infrastructure as a Code development tool or IaC tool gives companies all the features and resources they need to manage IT resources and automate their provisioning consistently.
Infrastructure as Code solutions can transform enterprise outcomes by enhancing efficiency and providing ease of use, flexibility, and versatility during the development of projects. Below we will describe what IaC security tools are and which are the best IaC Tools in 2023 that can fit your different project requirements.
Table of Contents
- What are IaC Tools?
- Best IaC Tools (Infrastructure as Code Tools) in 2023
- Tips for Choosing the Best IaC Tool
What are IaC Tools?
IaC tools are special software solutions that provide a method of provisioning and managing IT resources using machine-readable files or code. IaC tools help organizations cut expenses, enhance speed, and reduce risks brought about by manual configurations.
In DevOps environments, increasing automation and promoting standardization is critical to success. Organizations need to build, deploy, and reduce time to market web infrastructure applications and easily accommodate changing resource demands. Modern IaC tools support advanced scalability and seamless updates, preventing sudden downtimes or disruptions.
Best IaC Tools (Infrastructure as Code Tools) in 2023
Modern IaC tools these days address provisioning, configuration, deployment, and configuration challenges in organizations and address them. IaC tools are constantly evolving, and developers are working on implementing the latest features and bug fixes.
Here is our best and most up-to-date IaC tools list for 2023:
PingSafe is one of the top IaC tools and offers a Comprehensive Cloud-Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP) for detecting and remediating cloud misconfigurations before deployment. It provides excellent Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) and Secret Scanning that can detect over 800+ types of secrets across BitBucket, GitLab, and GitHub in real-time. As an Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tool, PingSafe proactively detects misconfigurations across Terraform, CloudFormation, and other popular IaC templates. Unlike other IaC tools, it enforces Shift-Left security and has a threat watch dashboard that stays up-to-date and detects zero-day threats.
- Real-time secret scanning for over 800+ types, including BitBucket, GitHub, and GitLab
- Enforces Shift-Left Security and detects misconfigurations in CloudFormation, Terraform, and other popular IaC templates
- Graph-based data visualizations and CI/CD integration support
- VM Snapshot scanning, automated threat remediation, and IaC script monitoring
- Can monitor domain names, perform zero-day vulnerability assessments, and validate hard-coded secrets as well
- Can identify out-of-the-box configurations and drifts in policies across various cloud environments
- Flags security defaults and provides continuous visibility on the security posture
- Supports Helm, Terraform, CloudFormation, Kubernetes, and other major IaC templates
- Performs IaC deployment and configuration checks against CIS and provides extensive reporting for hard-coded secrets
There are no cons associated with this IaC tool as of the moment
PingSafe’s Starter plan commences at 2000 USD per month.
Ansible is built on the Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform and is one of the best open-source IaC tools that offer improved efficiency and productivity to enterprises. It frees teams to focus more on innovation and helps reduce manual tasks. Ansible is completely event-driven and a dedicated leader in infrastructure automation.
- Network automation, edge automation, and hybrid cloud automation
- Security automation and centralized configuration management
- Provisioning, Red Hat Insights, and automation analytics
- Writes custom modules and plugins
- Active and expansive community
- Automates repetitive and sophisticated tasks
- Incredibly fast and saves time by deploying cloud instances from templates
- Has debugging and performance issues
- Network automation tasks require using complex data structures
Terraform allows developers to build, change, and version infrastructures efficiently and is one of the leading IaC tools in 2023. It offers many high-level components and SaaS features and is the ideal solution for professionals well-versed in cloud engineering and DevOps. It comes in two variants – Terraform Core and Terraform Plugin. Both support over 100 cloud providers, including Kubernetes, Oracle Cloud, Google Cloud, Alibaba Cloud, AWS, and Microsoft Azure.
- Scalability and multi-cloud infrastructure provisioning
- Remote state management
- Version control integration
- Workspaces and projects
- Policy enforcement and governance
- Role-based access control and Single Sign-On (SSO)
- Easy to setup and promotes smooth collaborations
- Infrastructure automation and management
- Integrates with Ci/CD pipelines and provides secure variable storage
- Self-hosted agents
- Usage gets complicated with local files
- Does not support revert functions for resources
Vagrant is a remarkable open-source IaC tool for managing development environments and is highly recommended for automated infrastructure setups. It is mainly designed to work with local development environments and is also compatible with a few virtual machine instances.
- HTTP tunneling
- Automatic networking
- Folder sync
- Infrastructure asset management
- It can be used for web development projects
- Extremely efficient and scalable
- Automated infrastructure management
- Nice variety of plugins
- Community support is complicated
- Major plugin incompatibility with the latest syntax updates
5. AWS Cloud Formation
AWS Cloud Formation offers infrastructure code provisioning services and is one of the leading IaC tools in the market. It scales up cloud resources worldwide and automates resource management with key integrations, and offers turnkey application distribution and governance controls as well.
- Continuous integrations with CI/CD pipelines
- Manages infrastructure with DevOps
- Cross-account and cross-region management for AWS resources
- JSON/YAML authoring
- Premium integration services
- IaaS and PaaS compatible
- Lacks cloud architecting support and high visibility
6. Chef (Progress Chef)
Chef (Progress Chef) helps enterprises extend infrastructure security and achieve complete cloud-to-edge compliance. As one of the popular Iac tools, it is an industry leader in DevSecOps and DevOps and enables systematic configurations across hybrid, multi-cloud, and edge infrastructure environments.
- Easy-to-use and intuitive UI
- Great documentation and training
- Powerful open-source configuration management
- Continuous compliance
- Helps maintain compliance across cloud-native assets
- Supports multi-cloud governance and threat remediation
- Application packaging and delivery services
- Secures infrastructure management, testing, and deployment
- · Chef is complicated to use for users with no technical experience
- · It requires sufficient staffing, resources, and hardware to deploy and maintain effectively
Brainboard lets users create innovative cloud infrastructure projects and is one of the most reliable IaC tools of 2023. It helps enterprises with version control, cloud migration, and infrastructure provisioning and offers self-service workflows. It adds 2-factor authentication (2FA) to protect accounts further and enables seamless integration with Keycloak.
- Activity tracking and access controls
- Audit management
- Brainstorming and data mapping
- Configurable workflows, alerts/notifications, and collaboration tools
- Compliance management
- Customizable templates and continuous deployments
- Optimizes workflows by pushing existing Git repositories
- Imports Visio and Lucid Charts
- Single Sign-On and templates catalog
- Cloud custom resources and projects management
- No Bicep support
- Can generate only Terraform
Tips for Choosing the Best IaC Tool
There are many options available when it comes to choosing the best IaC tools in 2023, but here are the main factors you need to consider before investing:
- Team’s Experience Level – You should consider your team’s technical experience and see if the IaC tool is right for their requirements. Terraform and PingSafe are great choice for teams with limited experience as they help with infrastructure automation and keeps codes simple.
- Community Support – Community support includes documentation, training, ongoing support, and forums where users can discuss their issues with the tool and share resources. Better community support translates to improved efficiency and productivity outcomes.
- Seamless Integrations – Your IaC tool should have no problems integrating with Terraform, GitLab, AWS, and other primary IaC templates. This can streamline deployments and make it easier to work on projects.
- Budget – Pricing should be another critical factor. You don’t want to exceed your company’s budget, and you want the right blend of features for the right pricing.
IaC tools can dramatically simplify your cloud infrastructure and make resource management seamless. With the rising number of deployments, there is an inherent need for cloud systems that can scale up or down based on workloads.
The chief benefits of these IaC tools are process automation, declarative paradigms, documentation and collaboration, and compliance with the latest industry and regulatory practices. Many companies face bottlenecks during development and don’t have a large team, so these tools are valuable for improving efficiency when designing projects.