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infrastructure as code

Infrastructure-as-Code: Everything You Should Know

Introduction

Managing IT infrastructure was kind of a difficult job in the past. This was because system administrators had to manually maintain and configure all the software and hardware that was required for the applications to run properly. However, in recent years, many things have changed dramatically and the tech world is accelerating at a rapid pace with new inventions and changes in the field. Emerging trends like cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, edge computing, etc, have revolutionized the way organizations and enterprises develop, design, and control their IT infrastructure.

Here, one of the critical components of this business efficiency is referred to as ‘infrastructure as a code’(IaC). In a nutshell, it’s a practical way to maintain your operational environment. IaC can do wonders for your organization when it is nurtured and implemented properly.

What is Infrastructure as a Code?

It is technically defined as-

Infrastructure as code is the process of managing and provisioning computer data centers through machine-readable definition files, rather than physical hardware configuration or interactive configuration tools- according to Wikipedia.

One of the major trends that have made a huge impact in the tech field would absolutely be cloud computing. It has helped create, sustain and scale technologies and business-related products and services for various enterprises. As long as manual processors are still around, human error cannot be eliminated. The only way these issues can be resolved is if we bring the next level of automation into the infrastructure. This is where IaC or infrastructure as a service comes into play. Without any human errors, it helps in launching cloud foundations quickly and effectively. Nowadays, it is rather essential for organizations to automate infrastructure to reduce costs, meet time to market demands, and answer with speed to new opportunities and competitive threats. IaC makes all this and much more a reality.

Principles of Infrastructure as a Code

For the last recent years, a lot of companies have implemented IaC, but only a few of them have mastered the art of doing it without much hassle. In other words, only a few companies have gained the right tactical strategy in implementing IaC into their structure. So there are a few wrong ways that it can be executed and to overcome this, you have to follow some certain principles. They are-

  • Principle 1: Good Reproducibility of the Systems- IaC enables you to painlessly recreate each part of an infrastructure. It allows you to rebuild without putting too much stress on it. Infrastructure as a service also generates dependence when it comes to provisioning new services.
  • Principle 2: Great Level of Flexibility- There’s a necessity to assure that infrastructure has all the solutions to the questions that your software asks. These questions can be about the desired storage, the compatibility with connected networks, etc. IaC presents itself as flexible blocks that can be gathered immediately if these conditions occur.
  • Principle 3: Powerful Design: This is one of the important principles of IaC. It’s not constant to make changes to an existing system when a component requires a change in the form of an upgrade. The thing is that we can’t predict how the system can change. Hence, the design will be always changing.

Benefits of Infrastructure as a Code

Now, when we take a look at the benefits of IaC, there are quite a few. They are-

  • IaC helps in cost reduction. This is by excluding the manual component, people are capable to refocus their attempts towards other tasks.
  • Another major benefit of IaC is how it allows much faster execution when configuring infrastructure. It also helps provide visibility to help other teams across an enterprise.
  • IaC reduces risk as it removes risks associated with human error, for example, manual configuration. By this, it can increase reliability and decrease downtime.
  • IaC lets the DevOps teams examine applications in production-like environments way sooner in the development cycle.
  • IaC helps in accountability as you have full traceability of the changes each configuration suffered.
  • IaC correctly standardizes the setup of infrastructure so there is a much-decreased probability of any errors. This will lessen the chances of any incompatibility issues with your infrastructure and brush up your application’s run more steadily.
  • IaC also helps in enhanced security since security standards can be efficiently and consistently disposed of across companies without having to have a security gatekeeper analysis and validate every change.

IaC Tools

When it comes to the tools of IaC, there are particularly two types. They are the configuration management tools and configuration orchestration tools. Most engineers use these tools to automate the deployment of other servers.

The most widely used tools in IaC are Ansible, Terraform, and Azure. With the help of these tools, they do a complete outline of the problems being affected by the organization and also the problems encountered by the infrastructure. Other IaC tools include- AWS Cloud Formation, Google Cloud Deployment Manager, Chef, Puppet, Salt Stack, Vagrant, etc.  Throughout the analysis, the tools reveal a visualization of what the infrastructure is assumed to look like, and they build a model of that desired end state.

Conclusion

Companies that bring forth IaC to their operations can deliver results consistently. Those companies who do so can eliminate manual configurations and setups, replacing legacy tools with new generation tools. With the help of IaC, a lot of time can be saved through human resources and also operational costs. When it is used efficiently, it can unlock new potentials, for example in the field of mobile app development services, upgrading the workflow, etc.

About the author- Feril Mohammed Hazem is an industry expert and a professional writer working at ThinkPalm Technologies, a software and mobile app development services provider. He is fascinated by futuristic technology and its ways. Off the screen, he is a movie buff, likes playing basketball and listening to music.

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