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The new Terraform Cloud pricing model is so expensive! Or is it?

·444 words·3 mins
Terraform Terraform Cloud

Terraform Cloud recently presented a new pricing model. Previously you paid $20 per user per month, for the team tier. Now you pay $0.00014 per managed resource per hour. Initially it is difficult to say if this is better or worse for you and your current environment.

Before we dig into the answer, lets first stop and appreciate two important points:

  1. The first 500 resources are free. This means that if you have 500 or less resources, you don’t pay anything. If you go above 500 resources, you pay only for those resources. The first 500 are always free.
  2. With the new pricing model we also get access to features that were previously only available for the priced tiers. This is great news to those who were already using a free tier of Terraform Cloud. They can continue to use a free Terraform Cloud (as long as the number of resources are less than 500), and enjoy premium features such as run tasks and sentinel policy integration.

Let’s move back to the topic of pricing. If the new pricing model is expensive or not depends on how many resources you are currently deploying through Terraform Cloud, and how many users you currently have in your Terraform Cloud environment.

The table below illustrates the situation nicely. On the x-axis (left-right) we have the number of active users, and on the y-axis (up-down) we have the number of resources. The number in the table is the price per user per month. A green box means we pay less than what we previously paid, a red box means we pay more than we previously paid. A white box simply means we pay an equal amount. Take a look:

Price for number of resources and per user

Let us imagine two different possible scenarios:

  1. In scenario one we are two developers managing a large number of resources. We are the two super-heroes of infrastructure-as-code in our company. We have currently deployed 3000 resources throughout all our environments. Unfortunately this new pricing model means we will pay $151 per user per month. Not good!
  2. In scenario two we are 15 developers split into multiple teams. Each team takes care of their own environment. In total we have 2600 resources. With the new pricing model we pay $17 per user per month. Nice!

Which scenario is most common? In my personal experience scenario two is more common, but more reasonably there would be more users and less resources than what that scenario has. The first scenario might be common, but if you find yourself in that scenario you should ask yourself why that is. Maybe it is high time to onboard additional users into your Terraform Cloud environment?

Mattias Fjellström
Mattias Fjellström
Cloud architect consultant and an HashiCorp Ambassador