Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is about managing the infrastructure like virtual machines, networks, connection topologies, and load balancers through a descriptive model by using the same versioning that the DevOps team uses for the source code. Whenever an IaC model is applied, it generates the same environment, just like the same source code generates the same binary every time. IaC is used in conjunction with the Continuous Delivery practices in DevOps.
With the inception of public cloud providers such as AWS, GCP, Azure, etc., infrastructure as a code has mainly come into the limelight. One can see how profoundly the cloud has altered the attitude of companies and redefined the word "Agility". In this blog we look at infrastructure as code and Google Cloud.
Getting started with Infrastructure As Code and Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
So now, when we talk about a cloud platform where IaC processes can be preferred to implement, GCP appears to be among the most popular ones. And why not? After all, it is built on open-source projects and open standards. It allows us to build an environment like -- DevOps CI/CD pipelines, networking, related services, Cloud IAM, and runtime environments (of course) -- with automated and repeatable processes.
The approach of IaC on GCP is not so complex to understand; you can re-use your existing expertise in infrastructure configuration to build a next-generation infrastructure on the cloud. You can quickly deploy your entire environment with just a single command and automatically keep it updated too. GCP is flexible enough to provide you with the ability to conveniently lift-and-shift your workloads to its platform and optimize them for the cloud, step-by-step, through the use of IaC processes.
Why Google Cloud Platform (GCP) for Infrastructure As Code ?
You can use straightforward configuration files and commands to build complete repeatable environments, including networking, infrastructure, Cloud IAM, and load balancing. You can build consistent transient environments like testing, staging, and QA, and at the same time, ensure parity with production; this will help in reducing costs.
With GCP, you do not need to grasp any new technology or take any complex DevOps initiative. Besides the Cloud Deployment Manager provided by GCP, you can easily leverage any third-party, open-source tool that you already use.
GCP's support for popular open-source tools enables you to rapidly adopt cloud technologies for lift-and-shift and enjoy a consistent experience across cloud and on-premises.
IaC on GCP can be implemented for any number of infrastructure resources or any size organization. You can easily manage all the dependent resources and experience IaC's benefits, whether for a million machines or even a single one.
GCP gives you the capability to capture configuration and infrastructure as Code to maintain the history of changes. With this capability, you can quickly roll back the lousy infrastructure modifications or even rapidly build new environments in disaster recovery.
With IaC in GCP, you can conveniently and rapidly create, update, or even delete the resources without drastic changes to the existing workflow.
IaC on GCP through Google Cloud Deployment Manager
Cloud Deployment Manager is an infrastructure deployment service provided by GCP to automate the creation, configuration, and management of Google Cloud resources. You can easily create a set of Google cloud resources and then manage them conveniently as a single unit. The resources are defined in a configuration file, and the Deployment Manager is then used to create, delete, or modify those resources. This configuration file can be added as a part of a code repository to allow anyone to create exactly the same environment with consistent results.
Cloud Deployment Manager is a template-driven infrastructure deployment service provided by Google that enables its users to specify all the resources required for an application in a declarative format using YAML configuration files. Configurations can be treated as Code. The creation of resources that are defined through those configurations can easily be repeated repeatedly by maintaining consistency.
Features of Google Cloud Deployment Manager
- Enables us to deploy multiple resources at once parallelly
- Follows declarative approach to define the configurations for the required resources
- It is a template-driven infrastructure deployment service. It allows users to define building blocks and create abstractions for the deployments of required sets of resources. Besides this, users can use Jinja2 and Python templates too to control their deployments programmatically.
- Allows to update or delete the deployed resources with ease without much changes to the configurations
- Provides a Cloud Console UI where you can view all your deployments in a hierarchical manner
- Provides a preview mode where you can see the changes (before committing them) that can be made through a create or update operation
- Provisions the reference of one resource definition to another, thus enabling the creation of dependencies and controlling the order of creation of resources
HashiCorp Terraform is the most popular and open-source tool for infrastructure automation. It helps in configuring, provisioning, and managing the infrastructure as Code. With terraform, you can easily plan and create IaC across multiple cloud providers with the same workflow. Since Terraform and GCP, both grew in popularity, Google's collaboration with HashiCorp and integration of Terraform within GCP went on deeper to provide a smoother developer experience. Since 2013, Google has ensured that it's Terraform and other HashiCorp tools' customers could make optimal use of the services and features provided by GCP.
Chef can be counted among the industry's most notable IaC tools. Chef uses the procedural style language wherein the user has to write the Code and step-by-step specify the way to achieve the desired state. It is dependent on the user for the determination of an optimal deployment process. Google's collaboration with Chef allows its customers to use the tools of Chef on GCP. Google has a dedicated engineering team that manages many integrations to make it easy for their customers to make use of any of the Chef's offerings within the Google Cloud Platform.
Puppet is yet another open-source configuration management tool that is most commonly used to pull strings on several application servers at once. A collection of Puppet-approved modules is offered by Google cloud, which in turn helps the customers in automatic provisioning, configuration, and management of GCP Resources. The Puppet modules over GCP allow users to create virtual machines quickly and even fully managed Kubernetes cluster, globally distributed databases, and many other such resources. It becomes easier and faster to migrate to Google Cloud by leveraging the existing Puppet configurations to define our cloud infrastructure.
Ansible is considered the simplest way to automate the provision, configuration, and management of application and IT infrastructure. Ansible enables you to execute playbooks to create and manage GCP infrastructure resources. Since Google thrives in open-source, it is an active contributor to the vibrant open source community of Ansible. The integration of Ansible and GCP provides its users with everything they need to create and manage their IT infrastructure. It gives instances and their auto-scaling, management of cloud storage and DNS, and even load balancing and custom networks -- everything.
Packer is a very lightweight, open-source tool used for the creation of machine images. This is being done in parallel for multiple platforms from a single configuration source. It is used over GCP as the Google Compute Builder for quickly launching servers and containers by building automated and repeatable machine images with GCE based on existing images
Infrastructure as Code is thus practice and process of representing the underlying resources or infrastructure in the form of Code that can be versioned and stored in the source control system.
Additionally, GCP is one of the most convenient public cloud platforms for IaC implementation. Due to GCP's flexibility and integration with almost every popular third-party IaC tool, they make it easier for its customers to migrate over to Google Cloud without much complexity issues conveniently.