Infrastructure as Code - Configuration vs Orchestration Management

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) offers a rapid and effective approach to IT infrastructure management. It eliminates redundant manual tasks that were once necessary for system administrators and reduces the risk of human error. Configurations can be created in a user-friendly format, simplifying the design, configuration, and provisioning of infrastructure.

Furthermore, IaC enables the application of the same configuration files throughout the stack of servers, guaranteeing uniformity in the infrastructure setup. Two concepts that are at the center of IaC are configuration management and orchestration. In this article, we’ll look at the difference between these two concepts.

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What is Configuration Management?

Configuration management in Infrastructure as Code (IaC) involves managing and maintaining the configuration of IT infrastructure through code. This process entails creating configuration files that are human-readable, version-controlled, and automated to ensure that the infrastructure stays updated and consistent.

These configuration files define the desired state of the infrastructure, which can be automatically applied with tools such as Puppet, Chef, Ansible, Terraform, and CloudFormation. The purpose of configuration management in IaC is to streamline infrastructure management, minimize human errors, and ensure consistency across all servers.

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What is Orchestration Management?

Orchestration management in Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is the process of managing and coordinating the deployment and operation of multiple services or applications in a distributed environment. This involves the use of tools and frameworks to automate the deployment, scaling, and management of applications and services in the infrastructure.

To automate the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications, orchestration management tools like Kubernetes, Docker Swarm, and Apache Mesos are used. They provide a way to define the desired state of the infrastructure, monitor it, and automatically adjust it to ensure that it remains in the desired state. Orchestration management in IaC is designed to simplify the process of deploying and managing complex applications and services, reduce human errors, and ensure consistency across the entire infrastructure stack.

Terraform vs. Ansible

We'll examine what each tool does and when to use each.


Terraform is an open-source IaC tool developed by HashiCorp that allows you to manage and define your infrastructure with a declarative language. It is used for defining the infrastructure resources like storage, computing, networking, etc. using configuration files. Along with creating the infrastructure, it also supports changing and versioning the infrastructure for better consistency and efficiency.

It supports various cloud providers like AWS, Azure, and GCP as well as private clouds like VMWare, HPE, etc. It cannot be used for configuration management of the infrastructure i.e. to manage and install tools on existing systems.

To learn more about Terraform, check out KodeKloud’s Terraform Basics Training course.

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Ansible is an open-source IaC tool developed by RedHat. It uses a procedural language to manage and define the configuration of your infrastructure. It can automate tasks such as software installation and configuration. Ansible is agentless, meaning it does not require any software to be installed on the target hosts.

To learn more about Ansible, check out KodeKloud’s Ansible Basics course.

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The choice between Terraform and Ansible depends on your specific needs. If you need to manage and provision infrastructure resources across many cloud providers, Terraform is the better option. If you need to automate configuration management tasks across a large number of hosts, Ansible may be a better fit. In some cases, both tools can be used together to achieve the desired outcome.


IaC allows us to create consistent infrastructure easily. It eliminates manual configuration shortcomings such as configuration drifts and allows you to save time and money. Currently, the most popular IaC tools include Ansible, Terraform, Puppet, and Chef.

If you want to learn how to use any of these tools, KodeKloud has beginner and advanced courses for all four tools.

For a more in-depth look at all the concepts and ideas behind IaC, check out KodeKloud’s Infrastructure as Code courses.