What does it mean to run Infrastructure as Code?


Infrastructure as code (IaC) defines and deploys infrastructure such as networks, virtual machines, load balancers, and connection topologies using DevOps methodology and versioning with a descriptive model. An IaC model creates the same environment every time it deploys, just as the same source code always generates the same binary.

IaC is an important DevOps practice and part of continuous delivery. DevOps teams may use IaC to collaborate with a consistent set of techniques and tools to deliver apps and supporting infrastructure at scale quickly and reliably.

The Advantages of Infrastructure as Code

The following advantages accrue to a firm that employs IaC −

  • Speed − Infrastructure installations are swift and safe since they do not require operator involvement.

  • Source Management − To promote openness and accountability, code may be verified under source control.

  • Documentation − The infrastructure code provides living documentation of the infrastructure's current status.

  • Consistency − Avoid edge cases and one-off setups by deploying similar infrastructure across the board.

  • Agility − DevOps has increased the efficiency of software delivery, while IaC adds agility to infrastructure management.

  • Reusability − IaC makes it simple to design reusable modules, such as those for replicating development and production environments.

How does Infrastructure as Code Work?

Infrastructure as Code may be presented in three easy stages −

  • The infrastructure definition is written in a domain-specific language by developers.

  • The output files are delivered to a master server, a management API, or a code repository.

  • The platform performs all of the required procedures to establish and configure computer resources.

Declarative vs. Imperative Infrastructure as Code

There are two basic techniques for developing code when dealing with IaC tools. These are the declarative and imperative techniques.

An imperative method allows users to describe the specific actions to be performed for a change, and the system follows those processes exactly.

A declarative approach means that users need to declare the final result, and the individual tool or platform manages the actions to follow to accomplish the desired result.

In most infrastructure management use cases, the declarative approach is chosen since it provides better flexibility while managing infrastructure.

Types of Infrastructure as Code (IaC)

There are four basic forms of IaC from which developers can choose −

  • Scripting − The most straightforward way to IaC is to write scripts. Ad-hoc scripts are ideal for doing basic, brief, or one-time activities. However, for more complicated configurations, it is recommended to choose a more specialist option.

  • Configuration Management Software − These are specialist software management tools, sometimes known as configuration as code. They often concentrate on server installation and configuration. Chef, Puppet, and Ansible are a few examples of these tools.

  • Provisioning Equipment − Infrastructure creation is the focus of provisioning tools. Developers can use these tools to specify specific infrastructure components. Terraform, AWS CloudFormation, and OpenStack Heat are examples of this.

  • Containers and Templating Software − These tools create templates or images that include all of the libraries and components needed to operate an application. Containerized workloads are simple to distribute and have far lower overhead than operating a full-size server. Docker, rkt, Vagrant, and Packer are some examples.

IaC Tools

Infrastructure-as-code tools set up and automate infrastructure provisioning. With orchestration features, these systems may automate the deployment of infrastructure such as servers. They can also configure and monitor systems that have already been provided.

Push or pull techniques are used by infrastructure-as-code technologies to enforce the setup from the template. A centralized server distributes the desired configuration to a specified system or systems using the push approach. A request to a centralized server from a system or systems in the infrastructure initiates the pull technique. Tools are normally built for push or pull deployment of code by default but can be configured for special circumstances to perform the opposite. These tools should also be able to undo code modifications, as in the event of a bug.

AWS CloudFormation, Red Hat Ansible, Chef, Puppet, SaltStack, and HashiCorp Terraform are examples of infrastructure-as-code technologies. Some tools use a domain-specific language (DSL), while others use a common template format, such as YAML or JSON.

Organizations should evaluate the target deployment when picking a tool. AWS CloudFormation, for example, is designed to deploy and manage infrastructure on AWS and integrates with other AWS services. Chef also works with on-premises servers and a variety of cloud providers' infrastructure-as-a-service solutions.

Conclusion

IaC is a very productive type of configuration management that focuses on automating the management of cloud IT infrastructure. Once IaC is in place, it may be leveraged to achieve degrees of CI/CD automation for infrastructure changes in a project. IaC provides several useful insights on communication and openness surrounding infrastructure improvements. IaC necessitates several dependencies, such as hosting platforms and automation tools, both of which are commonly available from current hosting firms.

Updated on: 16-Dec-2022

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