Atlas, and this documentation, covers a large set of terminology adopted from tools, industry standards and the community. This glossary seeks to define as many of those terms as possible to help increase understanding in interfacing with Atlas and reading documentation.
Authentication tokens are tokens used to authenticate with Atlas via APIs or through tools. Authentication tokens can be revoked, expired or created under any user.
ACL is an acronym for access control list. This defines access to a set of resources. Access to an object in Atlas limited to "read" for certain users is an example of an ACL.
An alert represents a health check status change on a Consul node that is sent to Atlas, and then recorded and distributed to various notification methods.
An application is a set of code that represents an application that should be deployed. Applications can be linked to builds to be made available in the Packer environment.
An apply is the second step of the two steps required for Terraform to make changes to infrastructure. The apply is the process of communicating with external APIs to make the changes.
An artifact is an abstract representation of something you wish to store and use again that has undergone configuration, compilation or some other build process. For Atlas, an artifact is typically an image created by Packer that is then deployed by Terraform, or used locally with Vagrant.
Atlas encompasses all the interfaces and services documented here. It is the name of this product.
Auto-join is a Consul feature detailed here.
Boxes are a Vagrant specific package format. Vagrant can install and uses images in box format.
Builds are resources that represent Packer configurations. A build is a generic name, sometimes called a "Build Configuration" when defined in the Atlas UI.
A build configuration are settings associated with a resource that
creates artifacts via builds. A build configuration is the name
packer push -name acemeinc/web.
The box catalog is a publicly available index of Vagrant Boxes that can be downloaded from Atlas and used for development.
Consul is a HashiCorp tool for service discovery, configuration, and orchestration. Consul enables rapid deployment, configuration, monitoring and maintenance of service-oriented architectures.
A datacenter represents a group of nodes in the same network or datacenter within Consul.
Environments show the real-time status of your infrastructure, any pending changes, and its change history. Environments can be configured to use any or all of these three components.
Environments are the namespace of your Atlas managed infrastructure.
As an example, if you to have a production environment
for a company named Acme Inc., your environment
may be named
Environment variables injected into the environment of Packer builds or Terraform Runs (plans and applies).
Flapping is something entering and leaving a healthy state rapidly. Within Atlas, it's typically associated with a health checks that briefly report unhealthy status before recovering.
Health checks trigger alerts by changing status on a Consul node. That status change is seen by Atlas, when connected, and an associated alert is recorded in Atlas and sent to any configured notification methods, like email.
An infrastructure is a stateful representation of a set of Consul datacenters.
Managed node is the billing metric for Atlas. For Consul Enterprise, a node is a host with a Consul agent on it. For Terraform Enterprise, a node is a compute resource managed by Terraform. See Managed Nodes for more details about which Terraform resources and resource properties are counted as compute resources.
An operator is a person who is making changes to infrastructure or Atlas settings.
Packer is a tool for creating images for platforms such as Amazon AWS, OpenStack, VMware, VirtualBox, Docker, and more — all from a single source configuration.
A Packer template is a JSON file that configure the various components of Packer in order to create one or more machine images.
A plan is the second step of the two steps required for Terraform to make changes to infrastructure. The plan is the process of determining what changes will be made to.
Providers are often referenced when discussing Packer or Terraform. Terraform providers manage resources in Terraform. Read more.
The post-processor section within a Packer template configures any post-processing that will be done to images built by the builders. Examples of post-processing would be compressing files, uploading artifacts, etc..
Often referred to as the "Artifact Registry", the Atlas registry stores artifacts, be it images or IDs for cloud provider images.
A run in Atlas represents a two step Terraform plan and a subsequent apply.
A service in Consul represents an application or service, which could be active on any number of nodes.
Shares are let you instantly share public access to your running Vagrant environment (virtual machine).
Terraform state is the state of your managed infrastructure from the last
time Terraform was run. By default this state is stored in a local file
terraform.tfstate, but it can also be stored in Atlas
and is then called "Remote state".
Terraform is a tool for safely and efficiently changing infrastructure across providers.
Terraform configuration is the configuration files and any
files that may be used in provisioners like
Variables in Terraform, uploaded with
terraform push or
set in the Atlas UI. These differ from environment variables
as they are a first class Terraform variable used in interpolation.