IaC is pretty significant in DevOps. In this article, we answered what the benefits of Infrastructure as Code in DevOps.
Software teams are increasingly looking towards more powerful tools to implement better practices in DevOps. You have probably heard how the best way to roll it out in your organization is by adopting agile development and continuous integration practices.
But you might be wondering whether or not you should implement infrastructure as a code.
Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is an attractive yet complex DevOps practice that describes the verification, development, and management of software-defined networks, virtual machines, and other cloud infrastructure components with reusable definitions.
In this article, we will discuss the benefits of infrastructure as a code in DevOps and how it enhances the collaboration between teams.
DevOps & Infrastructure as Code
DevOps is a culture, one that recognizes the need for collaboration, visibility, and automation. The aim of DevOps is maximize the efficiency, security, predictability and maintainability of operational processes. One of the ways to achieve this goal is through infrastructure as code (IaC).
Infrastructure as code is based on a simple premise: Infrastructure should be modeled and managed like software.
It allows DevOps teams to automate their infrastructure configuration management in a repeatable and reliable way. When you automate your infrastructure management with IaC, deployment becomes more efficient and consistent. And as a result of these benefits, you accelerate your time to market.
A set of files that describes the infrastructure in a human-readable format helps you provision an environment automatically.
This is an alternative option to manually creating virtual machines in a public cloud or configuring bare metal servers. With IaC, you can deploy an application on multiple environments quickly by using a single command.
IaC makes it easier for teams to replicate environments than manually repeating complex tasks over and over again. It also helps you to avoid errors due to human mistakes that happen when people do things manually or use different scripts or procedures from one environment to another.
What Problem Does Infrastructure as Code Solve?
Every new innovation or tool that comes into the market is solving some problem and so does Infrastructure as Code. Here are challenges being solved by IaC:
1. Managing and maintaining many servers, databases, and other services becomes complex as the number grows. When there are hundreds of servers, making changes manually becomes difficult, time-consuming, and error-prone.
2. When we have to spin up a new server, create a database, or install some software on multiple servers, we usually write scripts for automating them and then run those scripts on all these servers manually. This is also a tedious, error-prone, and time-consuming task.
3. We want to keep the configuration of our servers consistent but it becomes hard to maintain consistency when we keep making changes manually on all servers one by one.
4. We need to repeat the same process again and again when we want to deploy our application in different environments like development, testing, staging or production. It also takes much time to configure all these environments separately and keeping them consistent is another challenge.
5. It’s hard to manage configuration changes when they are made manually on all the servers one by one over an ssh connection individually. Also when there are multiple people managing these configurations it becomes challenging.
What Are the Benefits of Infrastructure as Code in DevOps?
Automation Is One of the Benefits
Infrastructure as a Code automates infrastructure deployment and configuration, therefore improving an organization’s productivity. Organizations can easily create their own automation requirements and need to use the tools that are generally used for configuration management such as Chef, Puppet, and Ansible.
These tools can also be used to automate software delivery automatically with the help of continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines.
Increases Hardware Utilization
The entire life cycle of the system goes through various stages like development, testing, and production. In each of these stages, various hardware resources may be required depending on the size and complexity of the project.
When the infrastructures are coded, it becomes easier to manage these resources and make sure that the utilization of each resource is at an optimal level. Moreover, when we say utilization what we mean is not just CPU utilization but also memory and storage space.
Improved Reliability Is the Other Benefit of Infrastructure as Code in DevOps
Manual configuration is prone to error. Mistyping a single character or forgetting a single step can cause problems that are hard to detect and fix.
By contrast, there is (usually) only one correct way for a piece of code to work, so it’s easier to test and verify that everything has been configured correctly.
This also makes it easier to implement continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD), which further improves reliability by detecting problems earlier in the development lifecycle.
Improves Auditing & Compliance
Auditing and compliance of your infrastructure is a huge challenge. Getting access to the documentation for your infrastructure is hard if it doesn’t exist, and even if it does, finding it may also be difficult.
The process can be a time-consuming, labor-intensive task, especially when you have to manually track down information on a system or server.
Infrastructure as code allows you to automate this reporting process because all of your code is stored in version control. This repository can be used to pull the necessary information for a report or audit trail.
Repeatable Workflow Is One of the Other Benefits of Infrastructure as Code in DevOps
One can make changes, test them out in a dev environment, and then promote them to production only if they work as intended. The idea is to treat infrastructure like software. In other words, treat your server configurations like application code.
This offers great advantages for creating a repeatable workflow and a stable environment which helps in streamlining the software delivery process.
The end result is an automated workflow that eliminates manual errors, speeds up deployments, and makes rollbacks simple and straightforward.
Infrastructure as code also supports collaboration among developers. Rather than having each person working in isolation on his or her own machine, which may or may not be set up correctly for the task at hand, one can have a “master” setup that all developers use.
If a new developer joins the team, it is easy for him or her to get started with this “master” setup. The ability to collaborate on the same code base helps ensure consistency across environments, which can reduce errors in deployments.
Reduces Operational Costs
As mentioned above, IaC allows users to keep track of changes over time and audit those changes with ease. This leads to increased operational efficiency and reduced operational costs.
With the ability to roll back previous versions of infrastructure at the click of a button, downtime is reduced significantly. Automating your processes allows you to reduce the number of staff needed for this task and also reduces errors in the long run, thus reducing costs.
These benefits might not seem like much on the surface. But they’re meaningful and required in DevOps because of the amount of work involved with configuring and maintaining virtual environments.
In short, IaC facilitates the automation of infrastructure changes and ultimately brings DevOps closer to IT Operations. IaC can help lead towards a unified and repeatable operations strategy between Dev, Test, and Prod environments.
With DevOps solving ever-increasing business problems with technology at rapid speeds, it makes sense to combine design automation with specific implementation approaches like IaC.
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