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Can we build a better Terraform? The story of Opta

cover image by By Daein Ballard - CC BY-SA 3.0
Managing to distributed systems is... difficult. You can find guides and recommendations everywhere that say if you don't have to do a distributed workload you shouldn't.

An article from last year by yours truly argued that containers and container orchestration have very different futures: It makes sense that almost everyone will be working with containers in the future, but it's not as clear that container orchestration knowledge will be de rigueur.

As we've faced this complexity of modern distributed workloads a number of companies have tried to make this work easier. These tools tend to fall into three categories:

"We have an okay tool, but hire us and we'll deliver your whole cloud"

When tools are sold with strict SLA's and mandatory professional services, you're often really purchasing Kubernetes expertise rather than great software

"Our Tool is Free! (for 90 days)"

Often a partially-open-source-tool that inevitably requires some Software-as-a-Service component to really work, a number of tools will lock you into their platform, never give you all the tools, and rarely offer you any support if things go wrong

Actual Open Source

These are teams releasing tools as Open Source Software that can be used, start to finish, on your own. Multiple teams see the growth potential in Kubernetes and other distributed workloads and just want to grow with the industry. They offer professional services or hosted servers in addition to free tools, but you can do the whole thing start to finish yourself.

While this third option sounds a lot better for the user, it can still hit pitfalls. The industry standard Terraform is currently struggling to keep up with community PRs and is in danger of falling behind users needs.

This isn't a new story: Large-ish companies can struggle to justify the cost of maintaining an open source tool, and once they grow to that medium size it's hard to find the time to maintain a tool everyone wants but no one has time to update.

Trying to build a better Terraform

Enter RunX, a small team focused on trying to build a fully modern tool for deploying distributed workloads. We're a small team of just 8, laser focused on reducing toil for cloud engineers. We just raised 4 million in funding, and we'd love you to try out Opta, the easier way to deploy.

Discussion (2)

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roylarsen profile image
Roy Larsen

Things like this are cool and all, but it all feels kinda magic-ey.

It feels like the moment a dev wants to step out of what you assume they need, they can't do it.

Infra is a hard problem and solutions like these always seem to be golden paths for an internal team than a S/P/IaaS company. It always feels easy to outgrow solutions like these

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derekcrosson profile image
Derek Crosson

This is perfect! Thanks!!!