Skip to content vs. Terragrunt: A Comparative Analysis

Both and Terragrunt have been increasingly popular tools within the DevOps community, particularly among those working with Terraform. However, each tool brings its unique offerings to the table. This article dives deep into a comparison of these tools to provide a clear understanding of their capabilities and respective strengths.

1. Introduction

  • A comprehensive tool designed for managing cloud-native infrastructures using declarative manifests called stack templates.
  • Integrates with various components such as Terraform modules, Kubernetes manifests, Shell scripts, Helm charts, Argo CD/Flux applications, and OPA policies.
  • Provides a unified approach to deploy, test, and distribute components.


  • An extension for Terraform designed to provide additional utilities to manage Terraform modules.
  • Helps in keeping Terraform configurations DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself), ensuring modularity and reuse across multiple environments.
  • Offers a layered approach to configuration, simplifying the management of Terraform deployments.

2. Core Features & Abilities

Configuration Management

  • Uses stack templates for configuration. Templates can integrate with various technologies like Terraform, Kubernetes, and Helm. A single template can describe and deploy an entire infrastructure.
  • Terragrunt: Primarily deals with Terraform configurations. Enables reuse and modularity of configurations by linking to Terraform modules and managing inputs/outputs between them.

Flexibility & Integration

  • Highly flexible, supporting a multitude of components from Terraform modules to Kubernetes manifests. Its design promotes integrating diverse cloud-native technologies.
  • Terragrunt: Primarily focuses on Terraform. While it offers great utility functions for Terraform, its integration capabilities are confined to Terraform's ecosystem.

Workflow Management

  • Aims for a consistent GitOps Development experience across multiple technologies.
  • Terragrunt: Facilitates workflows within Terraform, such as ensuring consistent remote state management and modular Terraform deployments.

Versioning & Source Management

  • Allows pinning versions for components and supports specifying module versions directly within the stack templates.
  • Terragrunt: Uses a version reference for Terraform modules, making it easier to manage and switch between different versions of modules.

Special Features

  • Provides templating for different technologies, can be used in any cloud or on-premises scenarios, and promotes technology best practices.
  • Terragrunt: Provides utilities like automatic retries, locking, and helper scripts for advanced scenarios in Terraform.

3. When to Use Which? is ideal for:

  • Managing infrastructures that integrate multiple cloud-native technologies.
  • Projects that need unified deployment, testing, and distribution.
  • Environments that require a consistent GitOps development experience across technologies.

Terragrunt shines when:

  • You're working exclusively or primarily with Terraform.
  • Needing to maintain configurations DRY and modular across multiple environments.
  • Complex Terraform projects that require additional utilities like locking, retries, and advanced configuration management.

4. Conclusion

While both and Terragrunt cater to infrastructure as code and Terraform enthusiasts, their ideal use cases differ. provides a more holistic approach to cloud-native infrastructure management, incorporating a range of technologies. In contrast, Terragrunt focuses on enhancing the Terraform experience.

Your choice between and Terragrunt should be influenced by your specific project requirements, the technologies you're using, and the level of integration you desire.

Remember, the choice of tool often depends on the specifics of the project, organizational practices, and individual preferences. Always evaluate tools in the context of your needs.