Terraform vs. Custom Solutions
Most organizations start by manually managing infrastructure through simple scripts or web-based interfaces. As the infrastructure grows, any manual approach to management becomes both error-prone and tedious, and many organizations begin to home-roll tooling to help automate the mechanical processes involved.
These tools require time and resources to build and maintain. As tools of necessity, they represent the minimum viable features needed by an organization, being built to handle only the immediate needs. As a result, they are often hard to extend and difficult to maintain. Because the tooling must be updated in lockstep with any new features or infrastructure, it becomes the limiting factor for how quickly the infrastructure can evolve.
Terraform is designed to tackle these challenges. It provides a simple, unified syntax, allowing almost any resource to be managed without learning new tooling. By capturing all the resources required, the dependencies between them can be resolved automatically so that operators do not need to remember and reason about them. Removing the burden of building the tool allows operators to focus on their infrastructure and not the tooling.
Furthermore, Terraform is a free, source-available tool. In addition to HashiCorp, the community around Terraform helps to extend its features, fix bugs and document new use cases. Terraform helps solve a problem that exists in every organization and provides a standard that can be adopted to avoid reinventing the wheel between and within organizations. Its source code license ensures it will be around in the long term.