Infrastructure as Code (IaC)-05

Infrastructure as Code | 4 Min Read

10 Best Infrastructure as Code (IaC) Tools to Boost Your Productivity

Picture of Navdeep Singh Gill

Written by Navdeep Singh Gill, 13 - November - 2020

Presenting the top 10 Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tools to automate all the recurring tasks such as configuration, provisioning, and deployments for one of the millions of devices.

Terraform

Terraform is a HashiCorp tool that enables users to write, plan, and build infrastructure as code.
This IAC tool for Azure records the entire history of versions of infrastructures and automates everything that can be codified.
Terraform allows us to use the same configurations to be utilized in different environments to minimize errors, save time, and the ability to build resources across all major providers of infrastructures.

Ansible

Ansible is one of the best IAC tools by the Red Hat which automates the infrastructure.
It does not use agents and can connect to servers and run commands over SSH, and its code is written in YAML as Ansible Playbooks, making it very easy to understand and deploy configurations.
You can expand the features of Ansible by writing your own Ansible modules and plugins.
If you want to use only one lightweight and the best IAC tool for Azure, chances are Ansible is the one you need.
The default architecture of Ansible is to run in push mode, but it also has a pull mode if you want to pull the config from the managed server.

AWS CloudFormation

AWS CloudFormation is highly embedded and the best IAC tool for Azure, which can be used with AWS, and the models for CloudFormation are written in YAML and in addition to JSON.
It offers a shared language for the description and provision in a cloud environment of all network resources.
CloudFormation uses Rollback Triggers to restore infrastructure stacks to a previously deployed state if errors are observed, to ensure that deployment and upgrading of infrastructure are achieved in a controlled manner.
It also allows for the treatment of infrastructures as code, authoring them with any code editor, and searching for any version control.

Azure Resource Manager

Azure Resource Manager, A Cloud specific IAC tool allows you to deploy and manage services created to work with other Azure services.
It allows resources to be deployed, maintained, and tracked in a single action as a collective rather than individually.
Natively incorporates Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) into the management mechanism to allow users to apply control of access to all resources within a resource category.
Azure Resource Manager also handles resources, rather than scripts, using declarative templates.

Google Cloud Deployment Manager

Google Cloud Deployment Manager is another one of the best IAC tools that offer many similar features to automate your GCP infrastructure stack.
Using YAML or Python, you can build models, preview what changes will be made before deploying, and view your deployments in a console user interface.
In the deployment, it allows resources to be added, removed, or modified. This Infrastructure as Code tool uses a declarative language approach to specify what the configuration is supposed to be and let the system figure out the rest.
Google Cloud Deployment Manager provides simultaneous deployments of many resources at once and controls the order of resource creation and creates resource definition dependencies.

Chef

Chef is one of the most common configuration management solutions used by enterprises in their processes of continuous integration and delivery.
Using its Ruby-based DSL, Chef allows you to create recipes and cookbooks. These recipes and cookbooks specify the exact steps required to achieve the desired configuration of your applications and utilities on existing servers.
This IAC tool for Azure is also known as a procedural configuration management method because you explain the process that is required to get the desired state.
Chef works with other cloud service providers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, OpenStack, and more.

Puppet

Puppet is a set of IAC tools that are used to deliver your infrastructures quickly and on a secure scale.
It offers a wide group of developers who have built modules that help extend the functionality of the software. It is also a Ruby-based DSL like chef, where you can describe your infrastructure's desired end state.
The primary difference between Puppet and Chef is that it uses a declarative approach, where you decide what the configurations you want to look like, and then Puppet finds out how to get there.
Also, Puppet integrates with leading cloud Infrastructure as Code platform providers such as AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and VMware, enabling multiple cloud automation.

SaltStack

SaltStack is an IAC tool built using Python, supports the Jinja template that provides the code and config in a YAML file, and all features it shares with Ansible.
SaltStack has the capability that automatically detects problems with event triggers and automatically requires a return to the desired state.
It offers a simple solution for provisioning, deploying, and configuring infrastructures on any platform to have infrastructure running faster. Having the client/server model and is designed to scale.
Salt even has SSH support that can support agentless mode. Salt also has a scheduler that lets you specify how often the managed servers run your code.

( R )?ex

(R)?ex is an open-sourced deployment and configuration management platform for simplifying network administration and automation of data centers.
To save time and frustration, this Infrastructure as Code tool automates repeatable tasks.
Simple to understand with Perl, as well. (R)?ex is agent-less like Ansible and uses SSH to execute commands and control remote hosts. It makes (R)?ex immediately easy to use.

Vagrant

Vagrant is yet another one of the best IaC tools that were developed by the Terraform creators, HashiCorp. The difference is that Vagrant focuses on building computing environments that use a limited number of virtual machines quickly and easily, rather than massive cloud infrastructure environments that can span hundreds or thousands of servers over several cloud providers.
A vagrant is an IAC tool that provides cohesive workflow regardless of your role in helping to make development environments easier.
Over various platforms, it works to enable users to continue using their favorite editors and programs. It monitors production environments to help ensure continuity across the lifecycle of development and find and address bugs before submitted to production.
It also offers an identical and simple workflow across roles and leverages a declarative configuration file containing all the details about the development.

Conclusion

We believe that IAC is the future of computing resource provisioning and management. While it comes with its own set of implementation challenges, the benefits it delivers far surpass the hurdles it faces at present. When technologies and the frameworks associated with IaC, installing, and maintaining infrastructure should become the default standard. IAC tools will also be a key component in making this possible as companies and teams continue to back DevOps. The IT and DevOps teams are set to greatly benefit from Infrastructure as Code (IAC). It provides practices and instruments for smoother and more practical implementations cohesively. Plus, it supports a quicker and more robust infrastructure.

 

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Navdeep Singh Gill

I am the Chief Architect of Nexastack and have experience in leading the technical & cross functional teams as well as deep hands-on experience through all phases of an engagement i.e. strategy, conceptual design, proof of concept, detailed architectural design, implementation, end-to-end-delivery, production integration, change management and solutions improvisation / migration.

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