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Infrastructure as Code in DevOps: A Comprehensive Guide

Examples, benefits, and best practices — we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about Infrastructure as Code

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is revolutionizing the way engineers and system administrators work. With a market cap of $800 million that’s expected to grow to $2.3B in 2027, there’s an increasing demand for IaC solutions as cloud computing becomes more widely adopted. The benefits of switching from manual processes to Infrastructure as Code are numerous, but given the complexity of the topic, many businesses have yet to make the plunge. In order to make your cloud computing processes as efficient as possible, knowing the ins and outs of IaC is crucial — but you don’t have to figure it out on your own. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Infrastructure as Code, including how to implement it most effectively.

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What Is Infrastructure as Code?

Examples of Infrastructure as Code

KloudSpot

Rapyder

Unisys

What Are the Benefits of Infrastructure as Code?

What Are Some Best Practices for Using Infrastructure as Code?

#1: Build Immutable Infrastructure

#2: Optimize Processes

#3: Implement Comprehensive Version Control

#4: Treat Code as Documentation

What Are the Best Infrastructure as Code Tools?

Multi-environment Tools

Platform-specific Tools

What Is Infrastructure as Code?

Infrastructure as Code, or IaC, refers to the use of programming to manage cloud-based infrastructure like internal networks and virtual machines. IaC takes the place of what were historically manual processes, freeing up engineers and developers for more critical work while replicating the same environment every time it’s spun up.

Replication is key for Infrastructure as Code; IaC solutions rely on codifying and documenting various infrastructure specifications in order to drive a repeatable process. When done manually, this infrastructure needs to be built from scratch every time, making IaC a more flexible and cost-effective way to get the job done.

Infrastructure as Code was developed to solve the issue of environment (also called “configuration”) drift. In other words, when each environment needs to be manually provisioned with individually maintained settings, discrepancies tend to pop up among the different environments. IaC, in turn, maintains consistency, avoiding the costly deployment issues and errors that are all too common in DevOps.

For more on the role of Infrastructure as Code in DevOps, read the full blog post here.

Examples of Infrastructure as Code

So what does Infrastructure as Code look like in action? Here’s how several companies used IaC to improve their processes.

KloudSpot

As a situational awareness and intelligence platform, Kloudspot relies on Wi-Fi and BLE-based data to create “location-intelligent consumer experiences” for industries like health and safety, education, retail, and more. When Kloudspot’s platforms were managed manually, it proved to be a cumbersome, time-consuming process.

Enter DuploCloud. With DuploCloud’s DevSecOps-based approach, Kloudspot was able to rapidly spin up its new customer environment with automated AWS infrastructure provisioning. DuploCloud helped Kloudspot create a more streamlined pipeline while also ensuring compliance with its built-in security and incident management capabilities. As a result, Kloudspot was able to remain nimble and manage multiple workloads at once while becoming a leader in the situational awareness and intelligence space.

Rapyder

A global cloud consulting partner, Rapyder works with clients to help them move their processes to the cloud. When one client wanted an easy-to-access cloud-based infrastructure, Rapyder turned to Terraform, an open-source Infrastructure as Code tool. This allowed Rapyder to create a solution that decreased the client’s time to market while being easy to implement.

Additionally, Rapyder automated the application deployment process, which allowed the client to spin up apps quickly and automatically. As a result, the client was able to test its apps and deploy them more quickly, saving time and money. 

Unisys

By developing a cloud implementation for California State University, Unisys was able to reduce costs for the university’s massive educational IT structure by 33%. To meet the challenge of bridging systems across 23 campuses — which represent nearly half a million students and over 50,000 faculty and staff — Unisys implemented a hybrid-cloud infrastructure solution using AWS and Morpheus Cloud Management Platform.

This solution allowed CSU, which administers one of the largest Oracle/PeopleSoft implementations in the world, to let each campus cater its online experience to its specific needs. By improving system performance, Unisys has saved CSU an estimated $4.5 million in IT infrastructure costs.

For more examples of IaC in action, check out 4 Examples of the Power of Infrastructure as Code. 

What Are the Benefits of Infrastructure as Code?

As the examples above show, Infrastructure as Code’s primary benefits are increased efficiency and reduced operational costs, but that’s just scratching the surface. IaC has numerous other benefits:

  • Consistency: IaC is all about repeatability, and being able to repeatedly spin up pre-configured environments as needed provides consistency that helps eliminate deviations.
  • Decreased risk: By making processes consistent across the board, Infrastructure as Code helps decrease risk by cutting out the inevitable human error that occasionally accompanies manual configurations.
  • Security: A good IaC solution should have advanced security features baked into the platform, making every deployment as secure as possible.
  • Faster deployment: Because it takes less time to fully provision environments using Infrastructure as Code, time to deployment is significantly faster — an especially important benefit for start-ups and small businesses.
  • Accountability: When engineers no longer have to manually (and painstakingly) document every single action thanks to IaC’s fully traceable source code, it’s easier to track changes and version history.

Want to know the additional ways Infrastructure as Code makes life easier? Check out The 7 Biggest Benefits of Infrastructure as Code.

To find out more about how you DuploCloud’s turnkey solution uses Infrastructure as Code to reduce costs and significantly shorten software development times, download our free whitepaper about no-code/low-code DevOps:

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What Are Some Best Practices for Using Infrastructure as Code?

To get the most out of the switch to an Infrastructure as Code solution, developers and engineers should keep these strategies in mind.

#1: Build Immutable Infrastructure

Variable infrastructure has its benefits, but it also leads to the issue that Infrastructure as Code was created to solve: configuration drift. At scale, running individual scripts becomes increasingly burdensome and increases the chances of falling out of spec, script failure, or manual error. Immutable infrastructure is needed to make updating more manageable and well worth the extra resources.

#2: Optimize Processes

In order to keep errors to a minimum, your deployment team will need to constantly monitor automated processes to ensure that mistakes aren’t being introduced and repeated. That’s where Infrastructure as Code comes in handy: Tools like DuploCloud not only automate large portions of cloud infrastructure creation and management, they also continuously monitor that infrastructure to ensure that all processes are adhering to the necessary compliance and security standards.

#3: Implement Comprehensive Version Control

One of the biggest principles of IaC deployment is implementing a robust version control system. This ensures that dev teams aren’t contradicting each other or introducing configuration errors. Think of version control as a single source of truth, and make sure any Infrastructure as Code tools you’re using provide accountability for developers working at scale.

#4: Treat Code as Documentation

For Infrastructure as Code deployments, you shouldn’t need separate documentation to clarify your code. Let it stand for itself and use the code as documentation, which helps further reduce inconsistencies and errors. As operations grow, maintaining your knowledge bases becomes a major project, and separate documentation only increases the chance of incorrect or outdated information making its way into your system.

Learn more about how Infrastructure as Code best practices keep teams secure, compliant, and efficient here.

What Are the Best Infrastructure as Code Tools?

Once you understand the various uses and benefits of an Infrastructure as Code solution, the next step is partnering with the right platform for your business. Whether you’re looking for a cloud-agnostic multi-platform solution or one that’s tied to a specific platform, these tools are ideal for DevOps professionals who want to implement an IaC approach for their organizations.

Multi-environment Tools

  • DuploCloud: Designed to make IaC accessible for businesses of all sizes, DuploCloud’s powerful no-code/low-code platform can deploy cloud applications ten times faster while mitigating risk and ensuring security standard compliance.
  • Ansible: This open-source cloud orchestration and configuration tool was designed to speed up the process of deploying identical environments, though it does require configuration models written in a YAML-based DSL.
  • Terraform: Used by Rapyder in the example cited above, Terraform’s cloud automation tool supports many commonly used cloud platforms, service providers, and programming languages.

Platform-specific Tools

  • CloudFormation: For support of the creation and management of AWS resources, CloudFormation is an ideal solution thanks to automation templates (in YAML or JSON format) and lightning-fast deployment.
  • Microsoft Azure: Azure Resource Manager (ARM), Microsoft’s proprietary Infrastructure as Code solution, provides templates to govern test, staging, and production environments while allowing for easy management of resources.
  • Google Cloud Deployment Manager: Dedicated specifically to Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Cloud Deployment Mananger bills itself as “an infrastructure deployment service that automates the creation and management of Google Cloud resources.”

Read our blog post for more information about the top IaC tools and platforms for DevOps professionals.

Making the move to an Infrastructure as Code platform can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, but it doesn’t have to be. The right IaC platform should make cloud automation and orchestration as seamless as possible while adhering to best practices for efficiency and accuracy. If you’re ready to adopt DuploCloud’s Infrastructure as Code solution and get up and running ten times faster — while reducing operational costs by up to 75% — get in touch today!