How to Automate Your Infrastructure with Terraform and CDK

Are you tired of manually managing and configuring your infrastructure? Do you want to increase your efficiency and reduce the time it takes to deploy new resources? Look no further, because Terraform and AWS Cloud Development Kit (CDK) can help you automate your infrastructure!

In this article, we'll delve into what Terraform and CDK are, and how you can use them to automate your infrastructure deployment. We'll explore the benefits of using these tools, and why they are becoming increasingly popular for automating infrastructure.

What is Terraform?

Terraform is an open-source infrastructure as code (IaC) tool created by HashiCorp. It allows you to define and manage your infrastructure resources in a declarative way, i.e., specifying the desired end state rather than the sequence of instructions to get there.

With Terraform, you define your infrastructure in a configuration file (written in HashiCorp Configuration Language or JSON format), and then use the Terraform CLI tool to execute that configuration, creating or updating the resources as needed. Terraform can be used with almost any cloud provider or infrastructure resource that has an API.

The benefits of using Terraform include:

What is AWS CDK?

The AWS Cloud Development Kit (CDK) is a higher-level, object-oriented interface to define and manage cloud infrastructure developed by AWS. It uses familiar programming languages (like TypeScript, Python, and Java) to define AWS resources, which then generate Terraform code to actually create and manage the resources. So, while you may never write any Terraform configuration directly with CDK, it uses Terraform under the hood.

The benefits of using CDK include:

Using Terraform and CDK Together

You can use Terraform and CDK together to define and manage your AWS infrastructure. CDK provides higher-level constructs that simplify the creation and management of AWS resources, while Terraform provides more granular control and enables you to define infrastructure as code for AWS and other cloud providers.

To use Terraform and CDK together, you can generate Terraform configuration files from your CDK TypeScript, Python or Java code using the cdk synth command. This command generates Terraform code that reflects the resource definition that you specified in your CDK code.

The generated Terraform code can then be further edited using any normal text editor, and then run with the normal Terraform commands (e.g., terraform init, terraform plan, and terraform apply). You can track your generated Terraform files in version control (as you would with normal Terraform files), so you can update your infrastructure in a repeatable and safe way.

How to Get Started

To get started with Terraform and CDK, you'll need to:

  1. Install Terraform CLI
  2. Install AWS CDK
  3. Choose a programming language
  4. Create a new AWS CDK project
  5. Define your AWS resources
  6. Synthesize the Terraform configuration
  7. Use Terraform CLI to apply the configuration

1. Install Terraform CLI

First, you need to install the Terraform CLI. You can find the download links on the Terraform website here and download the appropriate package for your operating system.

2. Install AWS CDK

Next, you need to install the AWS Cloud Development Kit (CDK). You can install AWS CDK by running the following command:

npm install -g aws-cdk

3. Choose a Programming Language

Choose a programming language supported by CDK that you are comfortable with, for example TypeScript, Python, or Java.

4. Create a new AWS CDK project

Create a new AWS CDK project by running the following command:

cdk init app --language=<your_language>

This command will create a new CDK project with the specified language.

5. Define your AWS resources

Define your AWS resources in your chosen programming language using AWS CDK's constructs. Here is an example from TypeScript:

import { Construct, Stack, StackProps } from 'aws-cdk-lib';
import { Instance, InstanceType, AmazonLinuxImage } from 'aws-cdk-lib/aws-ec2';
import { Vpc } from 'aws-cdk-lib/aws-ec2';
import { Alarm, Metric } from 'aws-cdk-lib/aws-cloudwatch';

export class MyStack extends Stack {
  constructor(scope: Construct, id: string, props?: StackProps) {
    super(scope, id, props);

    const vpc = new Vpc(this, 'VPC');

    const instance = new Instance(this, 'Instance', {
      instanceType: InstanceType.of('t3.micro'),
      machineImage: new AmazonLinuxImage(),

    new Alarm(this, 'CPUAlarm', {
      metric: new Metric({
        namespace: 'AWS/EC2',
        metricName: 'CPUUtilization',
        dimensions: {
          InstanceId: instance.instanceId,
        period: Duration.minutes(5),
        statistic: 'Average',
      threshold: 90,
      evaluationPeriods: 1,

This code defines an EC2 instance in a VPC, and an alarm to monitor its CPU utilization. You can use the AWS Cloudwatch metric CPUUtilization to monitor EC2 CPU usage.

6. Synthesize the Terraform configuration

Synthesize the Terraform configuration from your source code by running the following command:

cdk synth

This command generates a Terraform configuration based on your source code. You can now edit the Terraform code and incorporate it into your infrastructure project, just like any other Terraform code.

7. Use Terraform CLI to apply the configuration

Use the Terraform CLI to apply the configuration by running the following commands:

terraform init
terraform plan
terraform apply

These commands will deploy your infrastructure resources to AWS. Terraform will automatically create and update resources as required, using the code that you have defined as part of your infrastructure-as-code (IaC) project.


By using Terraform and CDK together, you can define and manage your infrastructure in a declarative way and rapidly deploy infrastructure resources. You can utilize CDK's higher level constructs to make infrastructure management easier, while still having access to Terraform's precision when needed.

This allows teams to rapidly create, test, deploy, and maintain their infrastructure, ultimately making them more efficient and less prone to error.

If you want to learn more about how to use Terraform and CDK, check out, where you can find tutorials, guides, and other resources to help you get started.

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