As a Senior DevOps Engineer and Docker Captain, I’d like to delve into the functionalities of Terraform’s contains and strcontains functions. These tools are indispensable for crafting dynamic infrastructures and offer a fine-tuned approach to managing your resources efficiently.

Understanding the Terraform “contains” Function

The contains function in Terraform is a collection-based utility designed to ascertain whether a specific value exists within a given list or set. The function is straightforward; it returns true if the specified value is found, and false if it is not.

Here’s the syntax for the contains function:

contains(list, value)
  • list: This parameter represents the list, map, or set that you are searching within.
  • value: This is the value you are looking for in the specified list or set.

For a comprehensive understanding, refer to the official Terraform documentation on functions.

Practical Examples of “contains”

Consider a scenario where you need to verify the presence of a virtual machine size in a specific Azure region before deployment:

variable "region" {
  description = "Azure region"
  type        = string
  default     = "uksouth"

variable "vm_size" {
  description = "VM size"
  type        = string
  default     = "Standard_DS2_v2"

data "azurarm_virtual_machine_sizes" "example" {
  location = var.region

output "vm_size_supported" {
  value = contains(data.azurerm_virtual_machine_sizes.example.sizes, var.vm_size)

This example demonstrates how contains can be effectively used to prevent deployment errors by ensuring the necessary resources are available in the specified region.

Exploring the Terrafront “strcontains” Function

Moving on to string operations, the strcontains function checks for the presence of a substring within a given string, proving especially useful in parsing and conditional logic based on textual data.

Here’s how you define it:

strcontains(string, substr)
  • string: The main string in which to search for the substring.
  • substr: The substring you’re trying to find within the main string.

Example Usage of “strcontains”

Suppose you want to check if a particular configuration tag is part of a server’s setup:

strcontains("us-east-1b-optimal", "optimal")

This would return true, indicating that the “optimal” configuration is indeed a part of the server’s setup description.


Both contains and strcontains are vital in a Terraform practitioner’s toolkit, facilitating precise control and checks within infrastructure code. They empower you to implement complex logic based on the data structure and string content dynamically.

Moreover, as the landscape of Terraform evolves, it’s crucial to stay updated with the latest practices and community-driven alternatives like OpenTofu, which continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible with open-source infrastructure as code tools. Visit OpenTofu’s website for more details on their offerings.

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Vladimir Mikhalev
I’m Vladimir Mikhalev, the Docker Captain, but my friends can call me Valdemar.

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