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Cloud costs
September 8, 2023
min read

HashiCorp’s BSL License Change: What this means for Harness CD customers?


HashiCorp recently announced that it is changing the licenses on their open source projects from MPL to BSL, which includes the Terraform and Vault projects. Although we understand and respect HashiCorp’s decision to change to a BSL license, this change has left many users wondering how it will affect their use of Harness’s CD product module.  Ultimately, since Harness CD focuses on automating and optimizing the software release and delivery process, and Terraform is primarily used for infrastructure as code to provision and manage cloud resources, and Vault primarily helps manage and provision secrets securely in infrastructure, Harness CD does not “significantly overlap” the capabilities of Terraform,Vault, or any other HashiCorp commercial product, and is therefore not competitive. So the licensing change to the BSL license, as of the date of this publication, does not impact the following Harness CD use cases which incorporate Hashicorp products.  You can also find these use cases at

  1. Use Terraform as an Infra Provisioner:  Harness customers use Terraform to provision infrastructure using pipelines. We recently added support for Terraform Cloud as well. For this use case, customers need to include the Terraform binary on the delegate, then create Harness Pipelines with out-of-the-box Terraform steps, and finally provide Terraform config files as inputs to the Pipeline. Harness does not ship delegates with Terraform binaries.  Upon execution, the Harness pipeline executes commands on the Terraform CLI directly.
  2. Use Harness Terraform Provider to onboard Harness resources:  A Terraform provider is a plugin that enables interaction with an API. In order to make onboarding easy, Harness has created a Terraform Provider which makes it easy to create Harness resources, especially for customers who prefer using Terraform to create resources. 
  3. Using HashiCorp Vault as a Secret Manager: Customers use secrets to authenticate and authorize applications, services and systems in the context of a Harness Pipeline. Hashicorp Vault is used by customers to store their secrets. Harness uses the HashiCorp Vault APIs to fetch secrets securely at runtime during deployments. Harness does not perform any other operations on top of HashiCorp Vault, we just read and fetch secrets from HashiCorp Vault and use them during deployment. Further, secrets are never accessed by the Harness Manager.

Looking Ahead 

Harness is committed to ensuring the ecosystem around the use cases that connect Terraform, Vault, and Harness, continues to thrive. We will continue to invest in the Harness Terraform Provider, plus add support for Harness resources, along with Terraform and Vault features.  

If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact your Customer Success Manager.

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