This article explores the concept of infrastructure as code and how it has revolutionized information technology infrastructure management. You will learn what infrastructure as code is, why it is needed, and its benefits in cloud infrastructure management, DevOps automation, and disaster recovery planning. The article also covers the process of making changes to the infrastructure of an application using infrastructure as code.
Managing the information technology infrastructure was previously a challenging task. Administrators were required to manually handle and configure all of the hardware and software necessary to support applications. However, recent years have witnessed a significant shift in how organizations conceive, develop, and maintain their information technology infrastructure due largely to developments like cloud computing.
A crucial aspect of this trend is “infrastructure as code,” which streamlines information technology infrastructure management. In this article, we will explore the infrastructure as code and how it has transformed information technology infrastructure management.
Table of contents
- What is infrastructure as code?
- Examples of infrastructure as code
- Why infrastructure as code is needed
- Making changes to the infrastructure of the application
- Use case of infrastructure as code
- Infrastructure as code tools
What is infrastructure as code?
It emphasizes the automation and consistency of infrastructure management by utilizing code as a language for defining and deploying IT resources.
Infrastructure as code in DevOps bears a resemblance to scripting, which is employed to automate IT processes, where a DevOps team can automatically manage and provision the infrastructure for an application through a configuration file or a software code; it simply means that all the infrastructure required to run your application can be created through a code that is what is called as an infrastructure as a code. Infrastructure as code utilizes a higher-level or descriptive language to code more versatile and adaptive provisioning and deployment processes. To illustrate, Ansible, an IT management and configuration tool, includes infrastructure-as-code capabilities to install a MySQL server, authenticate that MySQL is functioning correctly, establish a user account and password, configure a novel database and discard unneeded databases.
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Examples of infrastructure as code
Take a simple example of a web application where basic services like
- Virtual machine
- Load balancer
- Auto Scaling
You would need these core services to create a web application on AWS. These services are called infrastructure to run an application.
These Services are implemented through a code which means we have to write a line of code and give it to a cloud formation service, and the cloud formation service is going to create all these core services for us and can deploy our application. So that is where your infrastructure, as a code, comes into the picture, so because of the infrastructure of code,
you don’t have to rely on the infrastructure team for it. Things are automated.
Sometimes it is optional to make changes to your application. There are a few scenarios where you must change things in your infrastructure, like capacity. Now you set up an infrastructure with a 10 GB capacity. But customers or end-users demand 20 GB capacity. Now there will be a change in infrastructure. You can also make a change of
your infrastructure using a development process from the beginning, and developers
Why infrastructure as code is needed
Infrastructure management through traditional configuration methods requires manual efforts that are prone to errors and can be time-consuming. However, Infrastructure as Code (IaC)
- Automates the provisioning and management of infrastructure by writing and executing code that defines the desired state of the infrastructure. This enables organizations to easily replicate their infrastructure across different environments, promptly scale resources up or down, and recover quickly from disasters or outages.
- IaC offers a standardized and auditable approach to infrastructure management, ensuring that the infrastructure complies with security and regulatory requirements.
- By adopting IaC, organizations can achieve greater agility, speed, and consistency in managing modern IT infrastructure, making it an indispensable tool for infrastructure management.
For instance, suppose you were to provision a server, set it up, and install various software on it. So instead of writing scripts, you can now write entire code that will set up your hardware, install various software, and do all the necessary configurations. Cloud-based infrastructure provisioning includes service management, asset management of your infrastructure, virtualization and consolidation of information infrastructure energy, efficiency security of your assets and resilience.
Making changes to the infrastructure of the application
Now the question that comes to mind is whether it is easy to change the application.
Let’s say there is some problem in a particular infrastructure, and you make changes manually. It will notify you that somebody is trying to change manually. So, that will not be allowed in the infrastructure, so what will it do? It has to be done; it has to go through a proper procedure, where you have to make the changes in the code, and that code changes have to be approved by a different team, or a team lead or an application owner and then only or an AWS owner and then only you can incorporate that particular.
Now imagine you are the developer of Netflix. You logged Into your AWS account and made some changes to the infrastructure where Netflix is running. You had permission to log on. What will happen now? It will affect Netflix applications and start working differently or weirdly now. Can Enterprise companies like Netflix afford it? No, so that is why they will go through the infrastructure automation process, where manual changes will not be entertained. That is how all the Enterprises plan only the POC environment or a testing environment is where you will be allowed to make
Changes. So the code that you write will be verified with your lead or application owner; you’ll have to get several levels of approval, and then you push that code then, your infrastructure gets changed; now, if you see in the
Use case of infrastructure as code
- Cloud Infrastructure Management: Infrastructure as Code (IaC) has become increasingly prevalent in managing cloud infrastructure, particularly given the dynamic nature of cloud environments that render traditional configuration methods impractical. By adopting IaC, organizations can expedite the provisioning and scaling of cloud resources, minimizing the time and effort needed for manual configuration.
- DevOps Automation: In a DevOps context, IaC is an indispensable component that enables organizations to automate the creation, deployment, and management of their IT infrastructure. Leveraging IaC in a DevOps environment allows organizations to attain superior agility, speed, and consistency in their software delivery processes.
- Disaster Recovery: IaC is well-suited for disaster recovery planning, as it empowers organizations to swiftly and easily reconstruct their infrastructure during a disaster or outage. With IaC, organizations can swiftly and efficiently define and deploy infrastructure, reducing downtime and ensuring the continuity of their operations.
- Compliance and Security: IaC can assist organizations in meeting compliance and security requirements by providing a standardized and auditable approach to infrastructure management. By leveraging IaC, organizations can ensure that their infrastructure is aligned with security and compliance standards and can promptly address any issues that arise.
Infrastructure as code tools
Several IaC tools are available, such as Terraform, Ansible,git, Chef, Puppet, and SaltStack and many more. Each tool has its strengths and weaknesses, which are dependent on the specific requirements of the organization’s IT infrastructure.
- Terraform, an open-source IaC tool, enables users to automate the creation and management of resources across various cloud providers. It is used to do intial infrastructure and application setup and also manages infrastructure.
- Ansible, another open-source tool, automates the configuration of servers, applications, and networking devices.It manages infrastructure and applications and do intial applicatio setup.
- Chef and Puppet are tools that aid in automating the deployment and management of applications and infrastructure.
Infrastructure as code, an essential component of the DevOps movement, represents the next logical progression beyond cloud computing to remedy the various issues stemming from traditional manual IT management. With its capacity to realize the full potential of cloud computing, IaC eliminates the need for professionals to engage in labour-intensive, error-prone tasks, granting them unprecedented levels of freedom. Additionally, IaC offers significant advantages such as cost reductions and efficiency improvements throughout the software development lifecycle.