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What Is Infrastructure As Code (IaC)?

Infrastructure As Code (IaC) is a methodology in which scripts automate infrastructure and configuration management. IaC tools allow you to abstract away details about your physical environment, allowing you to focus on what matters- your code.

Infrastructure as code solves many problems. For example, simplifying configuration management to ensure that your infrastructure will be provisioned the same way every time. IaC is more than just documentation, though. It's also an important part of version control for any modern software development.

The ability to roll back to previous versions or provide clean copies of your codebase during branching are two benefits afforded by this toolset. Especially when applied correctly in an iterative environment like GitHub-based projects. These tools can even help you identify issues before they emerge at runtime through continuous integration. Examples of these are running tests after each commit has been made on GitHub.

Deploying your infrastructure as code

Deploying your infrastructure as code not only means that you can divide up your infrastructures into modular components and combine them in different ways through automation, but it also saves time by automating the provision of servers with operating systems. Not having to manually manage these things each time a developer creates an app will save hours of time.

Imagine the possibilities of building your infrastructure with a tool that can do it for you. Ansible Automation Platform is automation software that will codify and provision your infrastructure. This saves you time in manual configuration tasks.

You can use this platform to build playbooks as templates or scripts describing any given system's desired state. All without having to spend hours upon hours manually configuring them! An example of Infrastructure as Code can also include Chef. This is a set of instructions for managing servers on Linux platforms. Companies had used these kinds of services since 2006 when they were released.

Oracle uses them extensively today, and AWS offers IaC services too. That's why DevOps engineers love IaC so much because it makes their jobs easier.

After all, you can automate time-consuming tasks. Otherwise, they would have to be done manually.

Benefits of IaC

It makes your job easier as a developer because it automates some of the tedious parts of code development. For instance, provisioning and deploying servers, usually not in the developers' skill set.

You will save money on hosting costs because they require fewer server resources than manual configuration. This means there is more room for growth - this also cuts down on overages when funds get tight. Finally, it's just faster.

Manual configurations take a lot longer than infrastructure automation scripts do. Especially if these processes need to happen often. For instance, when adding new features or servers. A developer has two options when configuring a server for your application:

1. Manual configuration

The way developers usually set up servers is by manually configuring the settings. Unfortunately, this can be tedious and time-consuming, depending on how many different web apps you have in development.

IaC automates these tasks, so there are fewer errors. It also saves money because there's more room for growth without overages.

Some people may say, "It seems like having an expert do this would be better," but it isn't. Programmers don't know as much about infrastructure as someone who specializes in setting them up.

If anything goes wrong, your site will be out of order until you fix it. When you begin to integrate IaC, you will soon realize that there was no way for you to thrive otherwise.

Of course, this is an assumption. But almost every enterprise that begins to use IaC never looks back. It's an indispensable asset in the world of competing technologies.

Declarative vs Imperative—IaC Development

The two approaches to IaC are imperative and declarative. The imperative is more common because it's easy to implement, but there are some issues with this approach.

A declarative approach in IaC is a better fit for complex environments because it's easier to understand and less error-prone.

Declarative defines what you want your system to do rather than how it should be done. This means that tasks are executed with no unexpected side effects and will always happen as planned. This is true regardless of environment variations or network downtime!

Using the imperative approach, you are required to tell the system how you want things done. This is not only error-prone. But it limits your options, too, if a task doesn't make sense in certain situations.

Ensure that you understand what type of environment you're working on. This should be done before choosing which approach would be best. This is because declarative is for complex environments and imperative for simple ones!

In any case, sometimes, both approaches can be successfully implemented in the workflow. Often, requiring both as a mandatory cloud native solution to the problem at hand.

Infrastructure As Code Best Practices

When it comes to using IaC to optimize your workflow and configurations, there are certain things you can do that will ensure the best outcomes. One important one using a common set of code standards for all your applications. This will help you keep everything in order and consistent. But also help with making it easier to find where problems are when they come up!

When first starting with IaC, try one strategy exclusively until mastery is obtained. Always do this before switching strategies. Don’t mix between two approaches this way, which leads to confusion if not careful.

Use tools like Terraform from HashiCorp to minimize manual work. This allows infrastructure definitions using a configuration file with continuous delivery.

Use a declarative approach for configuration files which only contain abstractions (no logic). This will help keep everything in order and consistent. It’ll also make it easier to locate problems when they come up!

Use an imperative approach for configuration files that do contain logic and abstractions. This will allow for complex constructs such as loops to help reuse code across different configurations. This can speed up development time in the long run.

Source Control—Source of Truth, Version Control, Simplicity

Specify a single source of truth for all infrastructure specifications. These files are the only place to put explicit, non-trivial configuration information. Specifically, if it is not easily found by running a command or looking in an API documentation page.

Make sure you use this resource appropriately because it will make managing any changes easier in the future when major incidents happen, such as a server failure during load spikes on Friday afternoon around 4 PM EST.

You're probably familiar with the idea of a backup. But you may have never thought about backing up configuration files as well!

Version control all your configs and ensure you put them under open source control. This is to protect them in case of disaster strikes.

It would be best if you tried to keep your documentation as minimalistic and simple for infrastructure specifications. If you are following the source of truth, there shouldn't be a need for additional documents. Which eventually may get out-of-date with what's actually happening on the system.

With IaC, you can code your configurations and have them automatically applied. The best way to ensure everything is working properly is by testing it before deploying the configuration in production. This will help avoid errors and inconsistencies that might arise from misconfigurations or bugs.

Infrastructure Solutions for Your Enterprise

Now you know what Infrastructure as Code is and how it can help practically any tech-driven enterprise. You are well on your way to deciding if it can be useful to you. Most likely, you will; however, it can still be daunting to learn about the use of these tools.

If you're interested in infrastructure managed development and execution solutions, get in touch with us, and we will happily accommodate your pressing needs.