Terraform Backends – Local and Remote Explained

What's this blog post about?

State management is a crucial aspect of Terraform that informs it about the state of your infrastructure and which resources need to be added, removed, or edited. Backends in Terraform are responsible for managing the storage and state of infrastructure deployments. They define where and how Terraform's state data is stored, accessed, and who can access it. Common backend types include local and remote services such as AWS S3, GCP Cloud Storage, and Azure Blob Storage. Key features of Terraform backends include: 1. State storage - The main role of Terraform backends is to store your Terraform state file safely in a place where Terraform can access, store, update, and delete it (if necessary). Backends determine how the state data is loaded and how the state is updated. 2. State locking - This feature allows your IaC runner to lock the state file while running your Terraform code, so it cannot be updated until it completes its run, successfully or not. This guarantees that nothing can edit your state file and cause conflicts. 3. Partial configuration - When configuring your backend, you'll often be required to specify sensitive credentials that Terraform needs to be able to access and use the backend you want to manage your state. Terraform supports multiple backend types, including remote backends like Amazon S3, Azure Blob Storage, or Google Cloud Storage, and a local file system. Each type has its own specific configuration requirements. To configure a backend for your Terraform code, you need to define it in a backend block inside your terraform block. Best practices for managing a Terraform backend include securing and encrypting state files, enabling versioning, using state locking to prevent concurrent operations, regularly backing up state files, and monitoring access logs for suspicious activity.


Date published
July 8, 2024

Andre Lopes

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By Matt Makai. 2021-2024.