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DevOps Infrastructure as a Code

Updated: 7 days ago

IaC is used extensively by businesses all over the world, which is piquing people's interest. This article is the comprehensive guide you need to comprehend the meaning of DevOps Infrastructure as Code, as well as its business advantages, use cases, difficulties, best practices, and leading solutions to facilitate your teams' deployment. Servers were the irreplaceable threat that caused developers nightmares a few years back. The entire system crashed even if only one server went down, and identifying the problem required putting every error and mistake together. Don't even bring up the lost business over this entire period.

Today, IaC is the messiah the development community has been waiting for all along. An infrastructure that can adapt to the changing needs of its users while still providing quick, secure replies without sacrificing speed.

This article explores what IaC is, how it benefits organizations, how to leverage it, and which tools to use for its effective implementation.

What is DevOps Infrastructure as Code?

What is DevOps Infrastructure as Code

IaC's main tenet is the replacement of manual operations with automated code for infrastructure provisioning and management. You must create configuration files that store the details of your infrastructure. By doing this, you may more easily change and distribute configurations and ensure that your development team consistently furnishes the same environment. IaC assists in enforcing configuration management and shields your configurations against unauthorized or impromptu changes.

The ability to divide your infrastructure into modular parts and connect them using automation is a significant advantage of implementing IaC. Whenever you create or deploy an application, you no longer need to manually provision/manage servers, every operating system, and storage.

Declarative and imperative techniques are the two options available if you decide to integrate IaC into your ecosystem.


Difference between declarative and imperative IaC

Declarative approach

By using this strategy, you can specify the conditions under which your system must operate as well as the resources and qualities it must have. An IaC tool handles how to put it into practice and get the desired results on its own. The developer community prefers IaC tools like Terraform, AWS CloudFormation, Ansible, and Puppet.

Imperative approach

With this strategy, you must describe the procedures the IaC tool ought to adhere to while supplying a resource. These command imperatives give the tool the instructions necessary to create each environment. Chef is a well-known illustration of an important IaC tool. Even though IaC tools are generally compatible with both strategies, they favor one favor the other.

We now understand what IaC is and how to use it. The true key, though, is realizing how it may help your company and raise ROI.


Why is DevOps Infrastructure as Code necessary for your company?

1. Minimized risks of manual error

The majority of data centre management has always been performed manually, which leaves room for error. IaC is a game-changer that uses automation to reduce the need for manual intervention. IaC automates the complicated, time-consuming provisioning processes that modern applications are created for, just as DevOps encourages a collaborative approach to development by eliminating the bulky monoliths. To make it easier for new team members to work on the infrastructure and its management, it standardizes the processes and leverages logs to create thorough documentation.

2. Cost optimization

The IaC model allows you to see what is working and what isn't by representing all the resources in code, allowing you to adjust your plans accordingly. Additionally, automation frees up your engineers' time to focus on important projects rather than tedious manual labor, which reduces payroll expenses and allows you to adjust employee pay to match workloads. The IaC model allows you to see what is working and what isn't by representing all the resources in code, allowing you to adjust your plans accordingly. Additionally, automation frees up your engineers' time to focus on important projects rather than tedious manual labor, which reduces payroll expenses and allows you to adjust employee pay to match workloads.

3. Consistent configuration and setup

The final step in the cloud migration process, infrastructure deployment, involves configuration and setup. To reduce resource waste, expedite development, and eliminate human mistakes, both of these procedures need to be standardized. If done manually, at least one error will inevitably occur, leading to discrepancies and inconsistencies in the setting. Furthermore, quick execution of these procedures is essential to prevent unforeseen delays and unwelcome downtime. IaC is essential for standardizing the installation procedure, reducing the likelihood of mistakes and compatibility problems, and enhancing overall application performance.

4. Improved development speed

IaC makes it possible to deploy cloud architectures in various stages, which makes the software development lifecycle more productive. QAs have access to a production copy for testing, while developers can construct their sandbox settings for development. Additionally, it is possible to deploy infrastructure in a single step while doing security and user acceptance testing in the same environment.

You can use Continuous Integration and Deployment with IaC to quicken your development procedures. It may shut down resources when not in use, enabling your teams to have a tidy cloud environment.

5. Enhanced security

One-way deployment is among the important IaC features. IaC makes it possible to provision computing, networking, and storage services using code and to deploy them to either a private or public cloud in the same way. For infrastructures that require high-security requirements, it is possible to establish and implement security standards as well, doing away with the requirement for a third party to approve each security change.

Although it is already well-known that IaC offers organizational benefits, it is not without difficulties. Here are a few typical problems you might anticipate, however their nature may vary depending on the industry.


What are the potential IaC challenges you may face and ways to resolve them

1. Steep Learning Curve

IaC implementation necessitates process modifications. Your team members must become proficient in establishing pipelines for code execution, picking up new conventions or standards, or learning to code in the desired language in which the IaC will be built. Additionally, if your team lacks sufficient knowledge of IaC tooling, including its upgrades and changes, you risk having an incompatible toolset that hinders the pace of your implementation.

Solution

You will need to get your team ready, either by training the people you already have or by hiring new people who have experience with IaC implementation. They will need to have a thorough understanding of IaC scripts written in Ruby, Python, or HCL, as well as comprehend how the declarative approach to process simplification functions. To give your staff the time they need to develop these abilities, you can also decide to outsource IaC services during the early stages of adoption.

2. Configuration Drift

When disconnects between IaC configuration and the infrastructure appear, particularly in the early phases of the IaC journey, this is known as configuration drift and is a prevalent problem in IaC. It typically happens because the engineers choose to make those modifications manually in the console rather than making the important adjustments required for infrastructure provisioning. This causes a drift since what the code defines and what is deployed do not match, and it also causes an outage when the code switches back to human updates.

Solution

Explain to your team the results of making manual modifications to the console, and tell them to always avoid doing so. After setting up the IaC workflow, you can also make sure there is no interference. If the infrastructure needs to be modified, it must be done in accordance with the established maintenance workflow. In a Synk study, 48% of participants responded that as a best practice, they generally avoid making changes to the infrastructure directly and instead prefer to make code corrections first. The code configuration will need to be updated if you need to make any new, distinct changes to the system.


Popular use cases of Infrastructure as Code

You've chosen to implement IaC in your ecosystem, but how can you get the most out of it? To get you started on the implementation process, consider the following three use cases:


1. Cloud Deployments


Cloud Deployment

Resource automation, application configuration, and cloud deployments are the three main applications of IaC. It works with private settings like Windows Server or vSphere and public clouds like AWS, Azure, and others. You can use template files, which are often authored in JSON, for efficient administration and deployment of cloud resources and configurations. If your business employs a hybrid cloud environment where you can manage many cloud environments with a single setup, it might be extremely helpful.


2. Monitoring


Monitoring

Application monitoring focuses on one data area, whereas IaC monitoring covers another. IaC focuses more on reports, alarms, and logs linked to the infrastructure, whereas app monitoring concentrates on business-centric objectives. The error reports, and activity logs generated by an IaC tool and the cloud service can be accessed by organizations that manage numerous platforms for their business needs to obtain precise information about the infrastructure.


3. Infrastructure Testing

IaC assists businesses in developing a test environment that is both functional and an exact replica of the organization's production environment. As a result, your teams are free to test and try out various updates, modifications, or features. Additionally, writing IaC might be challenging for a company that has just adopted it and necessitates much trial and error. The testing environment, however, offers a benefit for enhancing the infrastructure and expanding the range of IaC capabilities without impairing the services.


Use these industry-leading tools to implement Infrastructure as Code efficiently



AWS Cloud Formation

You may quickly and efficiently provision and manage various AWS and third-party resources with IaC using CloudFormation.

Important characteristics include:

  • By integrating with various AWS resources, you can automate resource management and scale your resources.

  • Uses open-source CLi to develop resource providers for managing and provisioning resources for external applications.

  • Uses a preferred template language to create your infrastructure from scratch, and CloudFormation maintains and provides the resources and stack specified in the template.


Pippet

It is a configuration management tool that is open source. Multiple application servers can be managed at once using Puppet.

Important characteristics include:

  • You can specify the required final state of your infrastructure using the Ruby-based Domain Specific Language (DSL).

  • Decrease in configuration-related downtime and efficient catastrophe recovery.

  • Supports defining settings in an easy-to-learn language for Mac OS, Microsoft Windows, Debian, and more.


Ansible

Red Hat developed Ansible to advance automation simplicity. It makes it simple to automate every operation, from provision and configuration to application management.

Important characteristics include:

  • Creates numerous similar environments with all the necessary security baselines, while Ansible handles the necessary compliance checks.

  • Uses playbooks to carry out the creation and management of the required infrastructure resources.

  • YAML-written code makes it simple to comprehend and deploy setups. Additionally, you can add functionalities by creating your own Ansible plugins and modules.


Terraform

For provisioning, customising, and controlling the infrastructure code, Terraform, a well-known open-source infrastructure automation platform, is employed.

Important characteristics include:

  • Plans and builds IaC using the same CLi procedure regardless of the infrastructure provider.

  • Offering numerous environments with the same configuration to manage your infrastructure's whole lifecycle. It encourages maximum automation and greatly decreases human error.

  • Before updating or provisioning the infrastructure, pre-execution checks allow configuration validation to make sure the configuration achieves the desired effects.


Chef

Chef, popular among developers, is focused on installing and modeling an automated process that is secure and scalable in any environment.

Important characteristics include:

  • Uses procedural style language, allowing users to write code and outline the steps necessary to arrive at the desired state. Additionally, the user has a choice of the best deployment method.

  • Uses Ruby-based DSL to build cookbooks and recipes that outline the precise procedures to tower to achieve the application configuration.

  • Provides simple provisioning and deployment of on-demand infrastructure for DevOps teams.

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