Let’s begin with the fundamental question, what is infrastructure as a code? According to Infrastructure as Code: Managing Servers in the Cloud by Kief Morris, “Infrastructure as a Code (IaC) emphasizes consistent, repeatable routines for provisioning and changing systems and their configuration. Changes are made to definitions and then rolled out to systems through unattended processes that include thorough testing and validation.” IaC is an approach to infrastructure automation that is based on best practices from software development. So essentially with IaC infrastructure is treated as if it were software. With IaC we expect to see less human error, more agility to rapidly transform cloud computing environments, more security, and reduced administration costs to name just a few benefits.
Have you noticed monthly, semi-monthly or even weekly and daily application updates of your favorite messengers, Facebook, YouTube or Instagram? Are you wondering how these organizations are making frequent updates of your favorite applications? We have become accustomed to rapid improvements like this and no longer think of it as out of the ordinary. We are used to it, we expect it, and accept it as fact. So how is this made possible? Well, there are a lot of pieces to the Software Development Value Stream puzzle that are critical such as Product Management organizing the right requirements and making sure they are properly researched and then communicated, and obviously these rapid improvements are master work of Software Engineers. One very important piece in the Value Stream puzzle is automation, especially around cloud environment automation.
Within software organizations (at the risk of being cliché) there is constant pressure to produce more, with less, to a very high quality; everyone is trying to achieve this basic goal. In reality, one of the major causes of pressure is increasingly the management of multiple complex cloud computing environments. In a DevOps environment, teams set high-level objectives and start building software in small iterations. Each iteration is a usable product that provides value to the customer, which can be tested in a realistic environment, and deployed to production environment.
In the not-too-distant past applications were manually deployed to their hosting environments. DevOps and the introduction of Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) popularized the necessary automation technologies that ultimately allowed software organizations to rapidly release new versions of their products. IaC is a newer practice within DevOps with the goal of eliminating the manual configuration of cloud-based environments. As the velocity of deployments increases, and practices such as CI/CD rapidly become the norm, it is critical to manage infrastructure and applications in a similar way; small iterations, build complexity over time, leverage automation wherever possible, maintain source code in repositories, get humans out of the way of once things are approved and validated.
So, move over legacy development processes and manual management of cloud environments, IaC strives to eliminate time-consuming, error prone, rigid, and costly manual environment management processes. At this point IaC is an essential DevOps practice, indispensable to a competitively paced software development lifecycle.
At Intent Solutions Group we are implementing the most modern DevOps processes and technologies, including Infrastructure as Code, as a way of helping software organizations optimize their software development lifecycle. Our Customers understand that they need a partner who helps them continuously measure and optimize the Software Development Supply Chain or they risk losing ground to their competitors.