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Infrastructure as a code

What Is Infrastructure As Code And Why Is It Important?

In this article you will learn about the basic concepts of what is Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and the related concepts. If you are a DevOps engineer then you must be very much aware of these terms. In short, IaC is an advanced technique for configuring the entire infrastructure as a code. You can deploy this code anywhere to replicate the similar infrastructure provision.

Terraform is the most popular IaC tool in the market, we will look into the comparison of various providers.

What Is Infrastructure As Code And Why Is It Important?

Managing, monitoring, and provisioning resources manually will not be an issue if a developer or operations team doesn’t have to attend to a lot of infrastructure.

Most private data centers could point and click and administer their systems manually due to their minimal infrastructure.

As the days have unfolded, a couple of fundamental changes have emanated, including an API-driven cloud environment and a higher elasticity of infrastructure, such that resources could possibly live for days to weeks instead of the regular months to years structure.

Change is a constant phenomenon; hence, the challenges above have emanated from the changes that characterized the passage of time in the IT industry. This has intensified the need for infrastructure as code.

What is Infrastructure as Code?

Infrastructure as code (also known as IaC) is an advanced system of managing, monitoring, and provisioning infrastructure through the use of code instead of the regular manual approach of engaging the processes.

IaC creates a platform of configuration files with infrastructure specifications, making it easy to edit and distribute such files.

The main providers of IaC include the following: Google Cloud Deployment Manager, Terraform Hashicorp, Azure Resource Manager, and Amazon AWS CloudFormation.

IaC procedure involves three main steps, which are as follows:

  • The developer is responsible for defining and writing the infrastructure specifications in a domain-specific language.
  • After that, the files which are created are sent to either a master server, a code repository, or a management API.
  • Then, the platform takes every necessary action required for creating and configuring the computing resources.

Benefits of Infrastructure as Code

Infrastructure as code (IaC) comes with many benefits, making it a better option for managing resources. Some of the benefits of IaC are:

Speed

Infrastructure as code eliminates the slack of managing, monitoring, and provisioning resources manually. It speeds up the execution process of configuring infrastructure and ensures visibility to enable other teams across an enterprise to work speedily, seamlessly and more efficiently.

Minimized cost

The elimination of the manual process of managing resources creates more time for the operations team to focus on other tasks at a minimized cost.

Accountability

IaC configuration can be versioned like other source code files, and this ensures accountability because you can trace the changes made on each configuration.

Reduction of risk

Managing resources manually exposes them to human errors. Therefore, IaC ensures that errors are completely eliminated, and this goes a long way to guarantee reliability.

Consistency

Since IaC eliminates human errors from occurring in the process of managing, monitoring, and provisioning resources, incompatibility cannot be associated with infrastructure. The entire process remains consistent as it is a programmable infrastructure.

Test

Applications can be tested in production-like environments in the early stage of the development cycle. This improves the confidence of DevOps teams as they engage the infrastructure process.

Stable environment

Infrastructure as code ensures that teams are able to avoid manual configuration to enforce consistency by using code in representing the state of their environments; hence, IaC ensures the stability of the environment.

Improved security

The process of provisioning all networking services under IaC involves code, and this is also the same for their deployment.

Therefore, the security of the entire process is guaranteed and can be deployed throughout a company without necessarily requiring a security gatekeeper’s review or approval.

Documentation

Beyond the automation of the process of infrastructure, IaC also ensures the documentation of the appropriate way of instantiating infrastructure, as well as insurance to help a situation whereby employees leave a company with institutional information.

Infrastructure as Code Tools

The automation of infrastructure requires a number of tools, and some of the main tools include the following.

Ansible

Ansible is one of the most popular infrastructure as code tools. It was created by Red Hat. This tool models infrastructure by explaining the relationship between the system and components instead of managing them separately.

Terraform

Terraform is yet another popular infrastructure as code tool. It is a declarative provisioning tool that allows engineers to automate the provisioning of every aspect of their company, from on-premises to cloud-based infrastructure.

Puppet

Puppet is a sophisticated configuration management tool that enables engineers to deliver software continually. With puppet, an engineer can define the end state of an enterprise’s infrastructure and precisely what is intended.

Thereafter, puppet goes ahead to enforce the desired state and works on all the incorrect changes made. Puppet works with cloud providers like Google Cloud, AWS, VMware, and Azure to enable users to automate across these various clouds.

Terraform Vs. Ansible

Terraform Vs. Ansible has been a great comparison when it comes to infrastructure as code (IaC). Although they are both IaC tools that enable a user to automate configuration and deploy infrastructure, the major difference between them is as follows:

  • Ansible is mainly a configuration management tool that helps to automate system configuration and to manage the same. While;
  • Terraform is mainly to deploy infrastructure as a code that enables readability. It also helps in lift and shift deployment.

FAQs

How does infrastructure as code work?

Infrastructure involved manual processes that were difficult to track, and the manual configuration process led to errors in some cases. So, infrastructure as code (IaC) introduced a system that makes it possible to quickly set a complete infrastructure by running a script.

Infrastructure as code (IaC) creates a platform for operations teams and developers to manage, monitor, and provision resources automatically, instead of engaging the manual process of configuring a discrete operating system, as well as hardware devices.

IaC is sometimes addressed as software-defined or programmable infrastructure. It makes things faster and seamless by eliminating the regular manual process of operations.

Should I use infrastructure as code?

Using infrastructure as code is worth it. IaC gives you the leverage and freedom to introduce changes into your operations without any fear of complicating the process and delving into an unrecoverable state.

With infrastructure as code, it is easy to understand how an environment came to be, thereby sustaining the confidence needed for any changes you intend to make.

Why do you need IaC?

Manual processes are characterized by delay and inconsistency, which are likely to result in errors and waste of time. Infrastructure as code engenders speed and consistency of operations, as well as results.

With a code-based approach, you can get so much done within a short time because you don’t need to spend so much time waiting for the IT Admin to complete a task manually before commencing another. Infrastructure as code eliminates the slack in the regular manual process.

Is Ansible an IaC tool?

Of course, Ansible, SaltStack, and Puppet are all infrastructure as code (IaC) tools. You can configure these mutable IaC tools to install a recent version of an already existing software or package. It will install the update of the software on the existing server and effect all changes right in real-time.

Some other infrastructure as code (IaC) tools include; Terraform, AWS CloudFormation, Chef, Vagrant, Azure Resource Manager, etc.

What is DevSecOps?

DevSecOps is an acronym for development, security, and operations. It is an approach to automation, culture and platform design that integrates the security to be part of the shared responsibility throughout its lifecycle.

DevSecOps plays the role of software development, taking cognizance of any threats and configuring the network infrastructure.

Conclusion

Infrastructure as code (IaC) is the way to go because it makes everything easy. It systematically lifts every burden that comes along with the manual infrastructure process.

With IaC, you can speed up managing, monitoring, and provisioning resources with minimal cost. At the same time, you enjoy the benefit of eliminating error and the opportunity to do so much within a short time.

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