Running Terraform in Automation
For teams that use Terraform as a key part of a change management and deployment pipeline, it can be desirable to orchestrate Terraform runs in some sort of automation in order to ensure consistency between runs, and provide other interesting features such as integration with version control hooks. Automation of Terraform can come in various forms, and to varying degrees. Some teams continue to run Terraform locally but use wrapper scripts to prepare a consistent working directory for Terraform to run in, while other teams run Terraform entirely within an orchestration tool such as Jenkins. This guide covers some things that should be considered when implementing such automation, both to ensure safe operation of Terraform and to accommodate some current limitations in Terraform’s workflow that require careful attention in automation. The guide assumes that Terraform will be running in an non-interactive environment, where it is not possible to prompt for input at the terminal. When running Terraform in automation, the focus is usually on the core plan/apply cycle. Terraform plan can be used as a way to perform certain limited verification of the validity of a Terraform configuration, without affecting real infrastructure. Automation of Terraform often goes hand-in-hand with creating the same configuration multiple times to produce parallel environments for use-cases such as pre-release testing or multi-tenant infrastructure. The two most interesting commands for multi-environment orchestration are terraform init and terraform workspace. The automation tool can set the environment variable TF WORKSPACE to an existing workspace name, which overrides any selection made with the terraform workspace select command. In automation environments, it can be desirable to disable this behavior and instead provide a fixed set of plugins already installed on the system where Terraform is running. As an alternative to home-grown automation solutions, Hashicorp offers Terraform Enterprise. Internally, Terraform Enterprise runs the same Terraform CLI commands described above, using the same release binaries offered for download on this site. Terraform Enterprise builds on the core Terraform CLI functionality to add additional features such as role-based access control, orchestration of the plan and apply lifecycle, a user interface for reviewing and approving plans, and much more. It will always be possible to run Terraform via in-house automation, to allow for usage in situations where Terraform Enterprise is not appropriate.
Automation threatens 800 million jobs, but technology could save us
A new report predicts that by 2030, as many as 800 million jobs could be lost worldwide to automation. In the US alone, between 39 and 73 million jobs stand to be automated – making up around a third of the total workforce. The report also states that as in the past, technology will not be a purely destructive force. New jobs will be created; existing roles will be redefined; and workers will have the opportunity to switch careers. Only 5 percent of current occupations stand to be completely automated if today’s cutting-edge technology is widely adopted, while in 60 percent of jobs, one-third of activities will be automated. Quoting a US government commission from the 1960s on the same topic, McKinsey’s researchers summarize: “Technology destroys jobs, but not work.” As an example, it examines the effect of the personal computer in the US since 1980, finding that the invention led to the creation of 18.5 million new jobs, even when accounting for jobs lost. The figure of 800 million jobs lost worldwide, for example, is only the most extreme of possible scenarios, and the report also suggests a middle estimate of 400 million jobs. The report stresses that the effects of automation on work will differ from country to country. Developed economies like the US and Germany are likely to be hit hardest by the coming changes, as higher average wages incentivizes automation. In America, the report predicts that employment in industries like health care will increase, as society copes with an aging population; while rote jobs that involve physical labor or data processing are most at risk of automation. In developed economies like the US, automation is also likely to lead to increased inequality. High-paying creative and cognitive jobs will be at a premium, while the demand for middle and low-skill occupations will decline. The result, says McKinsey, will be a “Two-tiered labor market.” Previous reports have come to the same conclusion, finding that individuals in higher income brackets are more able to adapt to a changing job market, and that social mobility will suffer as a result, as traditional “Stepping-stone jobs” are eliminated. The report uses America’s transition out of agriculture as a historical example, pointing out that the decrease in farming jobs in the US was accompanied by major spending on secondary education and new laws enforcing compulsory attendance. The conclusion of the report seems to be: automation doesn’t have to be a disaster, but only if politics keeps pace.
What is Automation?- ISA
The dictionary defines automation as “The technique of making an apparatus, a process, or a system operate automatically.” We define automation as “The creation and application of technology to monitor and control the production and delivery of products and services.” Using our definition, the automation profession includes “Everyone involved in the creation and application of technology to monitor and control the production and delivery of products and services”; and the automation professional is “Any individual involved in the creation and application of technology to monitor and control the production and delivery of products and services.” Automation encompasses many vital elements, systems, and job functions. Automation provides benefits to virtually all of industry. Defense Facility operations, including security, environmental control, energy management, safety, and other building automation. Automation crosses all functions within industry from installation, integration, and maintenance to design, procurement, and management. Automation even reaches into the marketing and sales functions of these industries. Automation involves a very broad range of technologies including robotics and expert systems, telemetry and communications, electro-optics, Cybersecurity, process measurement and control, sensors, wireless applications, systems integration, test measurement, and many, many more. Without automation professionals, our world and our future would be very different. Automation professionals are responsible for solving complex problems in many vital aspects of industry and its processes. The work of automation professionals is critically important to the preservation of the health, safety, and welfare of the public and to the sustainability and enhancement of our quality of life. The U.S. government, among many others, recognizes the unsung value of automation professionals. Support for the importance of automation to industry comes from the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations. Automation professionals do and will continue to play a crucial role in protecting us from cyber-attack; enhancing our quality of life; and ensuring the reliability, efficiency, safety, constant improvement, and competitiveness of our electric power systems, transportation systems, manufacturing operations, and industry as a whole.