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HashiCorp tool sniffs out configuration drift

OK, which of those engineers tweaked the settings? When infrastructure shifts away from state defined by original code

HashiConf HashiCorp has kicked off its Amsterdam conference with a raft of product announcements, including a worthwhile look into infrastructure drift and a private beta for HCP Waypoint.

The first, currently in public beta, is called Drift Detection for Terraform Cloud, and is designed to keep an eye on the state of an organization's infrastructure and notify when changes occur.

Drift Detection is a useful thing, although an organization would be forgiven for thinking that buying into the infrastructure-as-code world of Terraform should mean everything should remain in the state it was when defined.

Sadly, the real world is somewhat different, and infrastructure tends to change (or drift) over time as engineers tweak settings to make things work. Eventually, the infrastructure moves away from the pristine state defined by the original code.

This loss of configuration control is bad in all sorts of ways; development, testing and production environments can go out of synch, meaning that code that worked in one place unexpectedly fails elsewhere. A temporary change that gets forgotten about can result in all manner of unexpected expense. And so on.

Drift Detection is one of those technologies that we're a little surprised wasn't already in the TerraForm toolbox - it simply checks when a resource differs from the state file and notes it both in the workspace and via a notification (email, Slack or a webhook.) Drift has, after all, long been a challenge for the cloud infrastructure community and HashiCorp's solution is only one of many available. However, being built into the platform will make it appealing for more than a few of the company's customers.

HashiCorp has also taken its first step toward adding Waypoint to the HashiCorp Cloud Platform (HCP). WayPoint is HashiCorp's take on providing a way for developers to build, deploy and release their apps over a variety of platforms.

It arrived in 2020 as a self-hosted platform and, at the time, the company boasted that "Waypoint does not require any HashiCorp-provided services."

This is all well and good, but actually getting Waypoint to work reliably can present a bit of a challenge, hence HashiCorp rolling it out as a managed service. "For many operators," the company says, "setting up a server to be operationally reliable and secure by default is a barrier to trying out Waypoint."

And so we find ourselves at the start of a two-month private beta program for early adopters.

Waypoint is not the first of HashiCorp's services to receive a daubing with the HCP stick. Terraform, Vault, Consul and Pack can also be found in its managed cloud. ®

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