In past years, managing IT infrastructure has been a challenging undertaking with system administrators manually managing and configuring everything needed for applications to run. However, in recent years, things have changed dramatically with tools such as cloud computing radically transforming and improving the ways organizations design, develop, and maintain their IT infrastructure. Another one of those critical changes has been infrastructure as code, commonly referred to as IaC. IaC codifies and manages core IT infrastructure as software, allowing developers and operations teams to manage resources without manually configuring separate hardware and operating systems.
How does infrastructure as code work?
Infrastructure as code is similar to scripts used to automate IT tasks. However, scripts are typically used to automate a series of static operations that run on several servers. IaC, on the other hand, uses higher-level or descriptive language to build solutions for flexible provisioning and deployment of infrastructure.
The code-based infrastructure automation method is similar to software design solutions where development teams carefully manage code versions, test iterations, and limit deployment until the program has been demonstrated and certified for production.
Why employ infrastructure as code?
As we mentioned earlier, IT infrastructure used to be managed manually, where people would have to physically put servers in place and configure them. From there, the application couldn’t be deployed until after the machines were configured to the correct setting. Unsurprisingly, this manual process resulted in several challenges, including cost, scalability and availability, performance visibility, and inconsistency.
While cloud computing was created to relieve the burden of building and maintaining data centers and the related high costs, it’s not a silver bullet. It does enable you to build up your infrastructure needs swiftly, effectively addressing serious challenges, but it does nothing to address the inconsistency concerns. Here at Everstek, we employ an IaC philosophy, so creating new environments, switching cloud providers or introducing automation is a seamless experience.
What challenges does IaC resolve?
IaC is a way to simply manage your IT infrastructure using configuration files. It streamlines management of your IT infrastructure and lessens IT costs and turnout for businesses and organizations.
IaC solves five major difficulties with manual infrastructure configuration:
- High Expenses
Manually creating individual IT environments is costly and requires specialized engineers to set up the hardware and software, increasing overhead management. One of the most game-changing advantages of IaC is the reduction of infrastructure administration overhead costs. You can drastically lower your expenditures by combining cloud computing with IaC, eliminating the need to spend money on hardware, on-site IT staff, or physical rental spaces.
2. Environmental Inconsistencies
When several employees manually deploy settings, it becomes difficult to map and reproduce the same environment manually. These discrepancies can result in challenges in growth, production, and quality control situations. IaC mitigates this by ensuring consistency through automatically creating and structuring environments, thereby minimizing human error.
3. Slow Setups
If engineers want to configure an infrastructure manually, they must first rack up the servers. Then, engineers can start working on the operating system and the hosted application, which is a tedious and error-prone procedure.
IaC allows you to rapidly and easily build up your whole infrastructure simply by running a script. You can accomplish this for every environment, from development through production, including staging, QA, and others, improving the efficiency of the whole software development lifecycle.
4. Difficult Scalability and Visibility
Due to manual configuration’s latency, applications would regularly experience surges in demand, forcing system administrators to scramble to set up additional servers to handle the traffic. As a result, the application could be down for lengthy periods if the company lacks backup servers or data centers.
Thanks to IaC technologies, you receive total transparency about your IT infrastructure’s health and bandwidth. This means you can proactively get maintenance and work in place before problems arise.
No matter how optimized your communication channels are, manual infrastructure management will always have inconsistencies. This is something you can’t risk with your valuable data on the line. Thankfully, IaC overcomes this problem by making the configuration files the only source of truth. That way, you can be confident that the same settings will be deployed repeatedly and without error.
What are best practices for IaC?
While IaC strategies will vary depending on business needs, there are a few frameworks to consider that can help you get the most out of it.
- Coding should be your exclusive source: every aspect of infrastructure should be documented and configuration files should be the final word on all infrastructure management concerns.
- Maintain complete control over the file versioning: assume that all configuration files are under source control.
- Testing and monitoring configurations are essential: since IaC is code, it can (and should) be routinely tested and monitored. Before deploying your servers to production, use IaC testing and monitoring tools to look for errors and inconsistencies.
Conclusion: IaC is the Future for Businesses and Enterprises
To stay competitive as a business or enterprise, you should explore leveraging IaC to keep up with the rapid pace of current software development. IaC can help your business address many challenges from high cost to slow set-up to scalability and availability.
With Everestek, you can take your technology to new heights. We are a cutting-edge technology solutions company that assists in the creation, modernization, and acceleration of digital activities. Our "all-in-one" delivery capability draws on two decades of unrivaled business experience and technology expertise to create user-centric, automated, and high-quality digital solutions.