Infrastructure as Code or just IaC has emerged as a best practice for automating the provisioning of infrastructure resources and services.
IaC is a method to provision and manage IT infrastructure through the use of source code, rather than through standard operating procedures and manual processes. The main idea behind IaC is that you write and execute code to define, deploy and update your infrastructure.
You’re basically treating your servers, databases, networks, and other infrastructure like software. And this code can help you configure and deploy these infrastructure components quickly and consistently.
IaC helps you automate the infrastructure deployment process in a repeatable, consistent manner, which has many benefits.
Why implement Infrastructure as Code?
Nowadays, there are a lot of tools and technologies to manage your Infrastructure as Code. So, why bother to learn new technology and end up with even more code to manage?
The answer is simple.
According to The State of DevOps Report 2019, businesses that use DevOps practices, such as Infrastructure as Code, deploy code 208 times more frequently, 2604 times faster to restore service and 106 times faster change lead times.
So, there is tangible proof that you can get a huge return of investment in exchange for implementing IaC in your organization.
So, let’s see 5 benefits you can get from IaC:
- On-demand self-service. A user can provide him/her self with computing resources, such as virtual machines and cloud storage, as needed automatically without the need for human intervention. A DevOps Engineer writes code to deploy specific resources with custom configuration options that make sense for you and your organization, in an on-demand and automated fashion. All this without you knowing ‘how’. You only focus on ‘what’ you need.
- Faster and safe deploys. When the deployment process is computing automated, it will be significantly faster and more secure since the process won’t be prone to human error. IaC allows you to spin up an entire infrastructure architecture by running a script.
- Documentation and version control. Instead of relaying in the memory of the one system administrator, you will be able to store the configuration source files in a Version Control System (VCS), which allows you to control the changes throughout the life-cycle of the infrastructure resources. Version control becomes a powerful tool for debugging when a problem comes up. Your first step will be to check the commit log in the VCS and figure out what changed in your infrastructure; the second step will be to fix the problem by simply taking the infrastructure to the next previous state in which all their components were working fine.
- Validation. Before you apply any change or update to your infrastructure, you will have the opportunity to review and validate the result of the new state of the infrastructure. If the planned change does not align with the goal state, you can apply any corrections to the code before it causes you any downtime. IaC completely standardizes the setup of infrastructure so there is a reduced possibility of any errors or deviations. This will decrease the chances of any incompatibility issues with your infrastructure and help your applications run more smoothly.
- Reuse. Typically you will have, at least, three environments in your organización: Development, Quality Assurance, and Production. You want to have a modular infrastructure in which each Cloud service/resource may have its own representation in code. So that you can easily package each infrastructure building block to model your entire IT infrastructure in each environment.
It’s worth to mention that you, your teammates and boss will be way happier having IaC in place. Deploying code could be a tedious, repetitive and boring task. No one in your organización will notice your work until you mess it up, and we all know that isn’t a happy moment.
Infrastructure as Code can simplify and accelerate your infrastructure provisioning process, help you avoid mistakes and comply with the policies, keep your environments consistent, and save your company a lot of time and money.
At the end of the day, everybody will be a little bit happier. So, if Infrastructure as Code isn’t something you’re doing now, maybe it’s time to start!
About the authors
Graduated from Information Technology Engineering from Universidad de El Salvador. Cesar has over 14 years of experience in IT infrastructure management and support. He’s currently a DevOps Engineer at Applaudo Studios.
Graduated from Information Technology Engineering from Universidad Tecnologíca de El Salvador. Jimmy has over 5 years of experience in IT and is currently a DevOps Engineer at Applaudo Studios.