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DevOps Practices - Infrastructure as Code (IaC)

DevOps Practices - Infrastructure as Code (IaC)

DevOps Practices - Infrastructure as Code (IaC)
date_range - 5 months ago

Infrastructure as Code is one of the most important concepts in DevOps practice. It helps in the management of infrastructure, such as networks, virtual machines, load balancers, and connection topology. The management is done using a descriptive model, using the same versioning tools as the DevOps team use for source code.

IaC solves the problem of "environment drift." Over time, each environment becomes unique, and it cannot be reproduced automatically. These inconsistencies between environments can result in issues at deployment, security vulnerabilities, and risks when developing applications and services that need to meet strict regulatory compliance standards. Administration and maintenance of infrastructure involve manual processes that contribute to errors and are hard to track.

IaC solves these problems with the principle of "idempotence." Idempotence is the property of particular mathematics and computer science operations whereby they can be applied multiple times without changing the result beyond the initial application.

The deployment command always sets the target environment into the same configuration described in the provisioning script. This way, we always end up with the same configuration regardless of the environment's starting state.

Idempotency is achieved in two ways, either by automatically configuring an existing target or by discarding the existing target and recreating a new environment.

The configuration of the model is typically done in code formats such as JSON or YAML. The release pipeline executes the model and creates a target environment; all changes to the environments are made by editing the source model and by starting the release pipeline - not directly on the target environment. On the first hand, this practice could look a bit more complicated, but in the end, it eliminates configuration drift and makes all your environments consistent. With this approach, it is also easier to maintain and track infrastructure versions and confidently roll back to any previous version.

What is the Difference Between Mutable and Immutable Infrastructure

Mutable infrastructure can be modified after it is provisioned initially. This gives your team the possibility to make ad hoc server configurations to meet particular urgent needs. The problem with this approach is the "environment drift" that can happen over time.

Immutable infrastructure can not be modified after it is provisioned initially. If immutable infrastructure needs to change, it has to be replaced with a new infrastructure - this way, the problem of "environment drift" is eliminated.

What Are the Benefits of Infrastructure as Code?

Speed

IaC helps dramatically speed up provisioning and scaling of infrastructure for development, testing, and production.

Consistency

IaC helps eliminate "configuration drift" that occurs when making ad-hoc changes to the environments. All your environments can be kept consistent all the time.

Efficient Software Delivery Lifecycle

By speeding up infrastructure provisioning and ensuring infrastructure consistency, IaC helps make an efficient software delivery lifecycle.

Lower Infrastructure Costs

Together with other benefits, IaC also helps organizations to take advantage of the consumption cost model in cloud computing.

IaC Tools on AWS

Templated Infrastructure Provisioning - AWS CloudFormation

AWS CloudFormation is a tool created for the management of AWS resources through modeling. It helps provision and updates AWS resources in an orderly and predictable fashion by using automated procedures described as models in the CloudFormation template language, YAML or JSON.

Chef Configuration Management - AWS OpsWorks

AWS OpsWorks is a configuration management service that uses Chef. Chef is an automation platform that treats server configurations as code.

OpsWorks uses Chef to automate server configuration, deployment, and management across Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances or any on-premises compute environments.

Configuration Management - AWS Systems Manager

AWS Systems Manager is a management service that helps define and track system configurations, prevent drift, and maintain software compliance of EC2 and on-premises configurations. It collects software inventory, applies OS patches, creates system images, and configures Windows and Linux operating systems.

Policy as Code - AWS Config

AWS Config is a fully managed service that helps enable security and governance. It provides an AWS resource inventory, configuration history, and configuration change notifications.

Conclusion

Infrastructure as Code helps make infrastructure management fast, efficient, error-free, and consistent.

One of the most important properties of Infrasture as Code is the infrastructure immutability that helps prevent "environment drift" across various environments such as development, testing, staging, and production. Infrastructure and application resources are modeled with either a text file or programming language. There are no changes to the existing infrastructure; instead, when there is a need for infrastructure change, we change the model and start an automated provision procedure from the beginning.

Sedmi odjel is an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner and Solution Provider; we are specialized for the implementation of AWS services and solutions.

As a company that works with a lot of software companies, we understand the whole development lifecycle and how DevOps model and tools can help your company become more competitive.

If you have any question about DevOps tools, give us a call at +385 1 3141 562 or contact our sales department at sales@sedmiodjel.com.

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