What Is Infrastructure as Code in DevOps?
Learn how applying DevOps Infrastructure as Code best practices leads to higher efficiency and reduced risk
Platform engineering and operations are complicated, there’s no way around that. But in our current day and age, the complexities of the cloud can lead to bloated infrastructures that are incredibly risky for companies. With infrastructure growth, the cost of maintenance increases, as does the risk of errors, issues, and crashes. That’s why this post centers around a critical question: What is Infrastructure as Code? Read on to learn how moving away from manual processes toward automated provisioning can help your company mitigate high maintenance costs and lower the associated risks.
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What Is Infrastructure as Code in DevOps?
Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is the practice of using programming to manage and provision infrastructure instead of relying on manual processes. Whether the infrastructure in question is a network, a virtual machine, or a connection topology, deploying via Infrastructure as Code ensures that the same environment is replicated each time it’s spun up. It also applies the best practices DevOps professionals already use with application code to the underlying infrastructure that supports that code.
Practically speaking, IaC relies on codifying and documenting infrastructure specifications in configuration files that drive a repeatable process. One of the primary benefits of Infrastructure as Code is that it allows for a modular approach; combining modular components through automation means developers can avoid manually provisioning application services and their dependencies.
With manual processes, by contrast, infrastructure needs to be built from scratch each time, which leads to redundant efforts if the environment in question is exactly the same as one that’s been used before. From a DevOps perspective, that makes Infrastructure as Code a more flexible and cost-effective method.
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What Problem Does Infrastructure as Code Solve?
Infrastructure as Code evolved to solve the problem of environment drift. Also called “configuration drift,” this refers to the discrepancies that appear among environments when each one has to be manually provisioned with individually maintained deployment settings. In the case of DevOps, these inconsistencies can lead to costly deployment issues and errors. Manually provisioning each environment only compounds the overall effort required, because the task of maintenance around bloated infrastructure also requires costly and inefficient manual oversight.
With cloud computing as the norm underlying most modern technology businesses, Infrastructure as Code’s ability to increase efficiency, reduce manual effort, and automate key processes is more important than ever. Moving from on-prem to the cloud led architectures to expand significantly, incorporating countless microservices, applications, and functions connected through APIs across a sprawling scale. Tools like Infrastructure as Code that support automation are a more appropriate match for the scope the cloud provides.
Additional Benefits of Infrastructure as Code
Infrastructure as code is a powerful tool to help DevOps engineers increase their provisioning, deployment, and maintenance efficiency. Let’s look at some of the primary benefits of IaC toward accomplishing that goal:
High speed, high efficiency
It’s easy to see how spinning up a fully provisioned environment with the click of a button is more expedient than manually provisioning that environment from scratch. Because of the modular nature of Infrastructure as Code, DevOps engineers can pick and choose from pre-provisioned components or leap straight into a complete environment. This flexibility helps reduce the time engineers have to spend doing repetitive work, and allows them to focus on putting their highly specialized skill sets to work in other programming areas.
Increased consistency, decreased risk
Once a server, environment, or application has been fully provisioned and approved under the business’ protocols and policies, that creates a consistent baseline that can be reused again and again through Infrastructure as Code. In addition to increasing efficiency for individual engineers, Infrastructure as Code also makes it easier for entire engineering teams to stay lean and focused (instead of having to hire a full-time engineer to cover every single discipline under the sun). This approach also reduces risk by returning to the same pre-approved and pre-configured environments with each fresh start, instead of reinventing the wheel and hoping no new errors have been introduced.
Robust DevOps best practices
IaC also allows engineers to apply their existing CI/CD pipeline procedures to fundamental infrastructure. Critical steps like version control, testing environments, and continuous monitoring are often applied to other types of code, and applying them to the underlying infrastructure creates a more robust and thorough approach to DevOps best practices.
Infrastructure as code is a powerful way for companies to boost their DevOps efforts without having to reinvent their entire engineering department. If your company is ready to use Infrastructure as Code to design, develop, and deploy applications at scale, DuploCloud can help. Our DevOps automation platform helps small- and medium-sized businesses accomplish cloud provisioning at 10x the speed and reduce their costs by 75%. Contact us to get started with your low-code/no-code deployment strategy today.