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What Makes Scalr A Great Terraform Cloud Business Alternative

JB Beck

JB Beck

Manager - Sales & Marketing

This article assumes that you have some level of familiarity with Terraform Cloud.

What is Terraform Cloud Business?

Terraform Cloud is a HashiCorp managed service which at a high level executes Terraform remotely and stores state. It is packaged into 4 tiers that include the following features: 

  • Free Tier: state storage, locking, run history, VCS integration, private module registry, and remote operations
  • Team Tier: all the Free Tier features + role-based access control ($20/user/month)
  • Team & Governance Tier: all the Team Tier features + Sentinel policy as code framework ($70/user/month)
  • Business Tier:  all the Team & Governance Tier features + SSO, self-hosted agents, audit logs, custom concurrency, and gold support (unpublished price)

As shown above, Terraform Cloud Business is the only Terraform Cloud tier that includes enterprise features, run concurrency and premium support on top of the standard remote state & operations functionalities. It is targeted at companies who have “advanced” security, compliance and governance requirements, and are outgrowing the self-service Team & Governance tier. 

  • SSO lets users use one set of login credentials - for example, their Google account credentials - to access Terraform Cloud.
  • Self-hosted agents enable the deployment of private resources unreachable from the public internet while still leveraging a managed service like Terraform Cloud. 
  • Audit logs records all events and changes happening in Terraform Cloud and sends them as structured data to a centralized logging system such as Splunk.
  • Run concurrency on Terraform Cloud Business lets you execute more than 2 Terraform remote runs in parallel. 
  • Premium support includes a 99.9% uptime guarantee.

How much does Terraform Cloud Business cost?

Unfortunately, Terraform Cloud Business pricing is not publicly available. 

There is no reliable way to know how much Terraform Cloud Business costs other than reaching out to HashiCorp’s sales team.

Enter Scalr, a cost-effective alternative to Terraform Cloud Business that scales

Scalr has feature-parity with Terraform Cloud

At its core, Scalr is a remote operations backend like Terraform Cloud. Scalr and Terraform Cloud are the only two remote operations backend for Terraform available in the market. Both Terraform Cloud and Scalr can be used interchangeably as they rely on the same open-source Terraform APIs. 

They both store state, execute operations remotely and enable collaboration and automation via private module registries, policy enforcement and role-based access controls. During the last year alone, hundreds of teams of all sizes from all around the world have chosen Scalr to execute millions of Terraform runs. 

Terraform Cloud was released by HashiCorp in 2017. Scalr has been built by a team of cloud veterans that have been working with some of the largest businesses and governmental agencies in the world. They identified the shortcomings of Terraform Cloud for larger teams early on, and went on a mission to offer an alternative that’s fair for everyone.

Scalr solves Terraform Cloud’s scale and visibility problems

A major Scalr innovation over Terraform Cloud is the concept of isolated environments (equivalent to Terraform Cloud’s organizations) automatically inheriting shared objects (modules, credentials, VCS connections, variables, policies) configured once at the account level. Scalr environments are a logical grouping of Terraform workspaces, which have the same meaning as in Terraform Cloud.

Coupled with Scalr’s more granular RBAC system, it makes the scoping of resources for a team or an app very easy. No need to reinvent the wheel and configure objects for every organization (in Terraform Cloud) / environment (in Scalr) every time. 

Scalr’s hierarchical management model removes the hassle of switching between organizations or building DIY tooling to get visibility across all Terraform deployments. Run status, policy results, and much more can be monitored in real-time across all environments from a single place.

This works especially well for platform teams wishing to lower the barrier of entry to Terraform within their organization by providing pre-configured environments on-demand, and Managed Services Providers serving multiple clients.

Scalr’s premium plan starts at a much lower price point

Another important difference is that Scalr offers the so-called enterprise features mentioned earlier at a much lower price point. The Scalr Pro plan (equivalent to Terraform Cloud Business) starts at $299/month with unlimited users and workspaces. Scalr Pro includes SSO, self-hosted agents, audit logs, unlimited job concurrency at no extra cost, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee. 

The Scalr Pro plan scales up and down based on usage, and can be canceled at any time. To learn more about Scalr Pro pricing, check out the pricing page. 

So-called enterprise features are no longer reserved to Fortune 500 companies. They’ve become mandatory for almost all SaaS businesses to ensure that security and compliance best practices are strictly enforced. This change in what software buyers need is what drove the Scalr team to make sure that anyone could afford to get started with those features at a low price point, and scale based on usage. 

Summary

The Terraform Cloud Business tier is the only Terraform Cloud tier that includes SSO, self-hosted agents, audit logs, job concurrency and a 99.9% uptime guarantee. Its pricing is not public, and you’ll have to talk to a sales representative to obtain a quote. 

If you’re looking for a remote operations backend for Terraform that includes those features without the hefty price tag, you may want to consider Scalr. The Scalr Pro tier is the only alternative to the Terraform Cloud Business tier that starts at $299/month, and scales as you grow. 

Sign up for a free Scalr account here (a 2-week free trial of the Pro plan is available by opening a ticket on our support portal).