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Introduction to Infrastructure as Code

Management of IT infrastructure is a tiresome job & also time-consuming. Manual creation and handling of infrastructure trends have a lot of room for errors. Removal of these problems business is using Infrastructure as code also abbreviate as IaC. It enables operations admin and developers to provide the technology stack with an automated approach rather than manually configuring it.


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Why we need IaC?

Infrastructure as a code concept is about managing your infrastructure by codifying it. The same way we manage the application or code for releases instead of making configuration modifications manually. It eases the management of infrastructure processes to deliver efficient and reliable software. It makes the whole infrastructure handling process an automated way & also works as a single source of truth. There are various tools available in the market for IaC practices for infrastructure setup and configuration backed by large community help like terraform, puppet, salt, ansible & many more.

Top 5 Best Practices of Infrastructure as Code

To implement IaC in the long run, following the best practices is very crucial. Some of the best practices that can be followed are mentioned below

Codifying Everything in IaC

All the infrastructure specifications should be explicitly coded in the configuration file like ansible playbooks, cloud formation template, or any other tool of IaC you are using.
These configuration files are the single source of truth of your infrastructure specification & it describes what infrastructure components will be used & their configuration. It also depicts interrelation with one another.

It can be deployed seamlessly & quickly without any manual intervention needed for infra setup or configuration management.

Reduce the Documentation

IaC essentially is the documentation, so we shouldn’t have any extra instruction for the documentation to the IT team. In the past, when any updates in the infrastructure component needed to be done, documentation was required to be up to date to ensure no space for inconsistency. Still, this didn’t always happen. With IaC in place, it represents the documentation and is always up to date, which tends to a reduction in the work of IT person.

Additionally, the flowcharts or diagrammatic representation & setup instruction are necessary for the employees who are not familiar with the IaC deployment process. So it is recommended that to keep documentation as minimum as possible.


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Maintain Code in Version Control System

To manage, tracking or reconciliation of the configuration details as it’s written in code. The configuration file should be kept in version control systems, also known as VCS like git or subversion. Similarly, like any other application code kept in version control system. to main a version of your IaC code.

It also ensures the facility provides an audit trail for the code changes, but it also gives the opportunity to collaborate or peer review or even test the codebase before it gets live.
Git branching and the merging feature should enhance the collaboration, and updates of the IaC codebase can be managed properly.

Test Integrates & Deploys with CI/CD

Continuous integration (CI) and testing & deployment is the best way to manage all the changes in IaC code. Rigorous testing of infrastructure configuration plays a crucial role in the removal of post-deployment issues. As per the need, various tests like unit, integration, or regression tests. These tests can be performed in an automated way every time there is a modification in the code.

Security of the configuration must be tested & monitored continuously. DevSecOps is an emerging practice for the detection of threats and ensuring security. All this is done with security personnel working with developers, securing the software development lifecycle throughout.

Increment in collaboration of security testing and development team treats can be identified earlier to minimize treats live environment. With CI in place, the templated infrastructure configuration can be implemented in multiple environments such as the dev, UAT, QA, or Production environment with minimal changes applied effectively.

Modularization the Infrastructure

The emergence of Microservices architecture is done in smaller modules that increase reusability that can be deployed independently as the rest of the product components. The same concept can be implemented in IaC. All the infrastructure components can be breakdown into separate modules & further deployed in combination as a complete end-to-end infrastructure in an automated fashion.

It tends to provide greater control over the infrastructure component & allows to decide who has control over which infrastructure component. For example, a junior engineer having he knowledge of specific components. Modularization allows access to a specific component only to the junior engineer to ensure that not everyone has access to everything, leading to mishappenings.

Modularization naturally limits to amount of changes done in the configuration. Also, smaller changes tend to bug detection easily & leads to the team being more agile.
With the usage of microservice architecture, a configuration template can be created for insurance of infrastructure consistency, and the future can be connected with messaging interface or HTTP.


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Conclusion

Infrastructure as a Code is gaining popularity & surely becoming the norm for the organization looking to automate the infrastructure setup and configuration faster and more accurately.
It leads to effective application development as it can only be assured by steam line SDLC & an improved development environment.

Incorporating best practices while implementing Infrastructure as a Code leads to effective management & smoother handling of infrastructure via IaC. Proper implementation of IaC yields better results in operation as well as development side. IaC has a wide variety of tools like terraform, ansible many more & continuously evolving as backed by the large community support allowing us to choose as per our requirement.

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