IaC is an innovative concept in which the configuration and management of IT infrastructure is automated and controlled via programming code. Instead of manual interventions and GUI interactions with cloud providers, the entire infrastructure is defined in code. This code can be stored in version control systems and then executed to set up and manage the desired infrastructure.
With IaC, the infrastructure is described with declarative or imperative code, depending on the IaC tool chosen. This allows teams to quickly replicate what was previously built, make precise changes, and include infrastructure configurations in a (shared) version control system. As a result, cloud deployment becomes more predictable, reproducible, and less prone to human error.
IaC also makes it easy to set up the complete foundation of a cloud environment. An example of such a framework is the Cloud Adoption Framework, especially the technical part of this framework: the enterprise-scale landing zone. In it, different implementations are possible, depending on organisational needs. For instance, the enterprise-scale landing zone creates a foundation of the cloud environment and provides the opportunity to transform from a small environment to one at scale. Also, the landing zone lays the foundation for migrating from a private to a public/hybrid cloud environment.
Another key strength of IaC is that declarative code provides a form of self-documentation. IaC describes how the infrastructure should be set up and configured in a readable format. This can serve as a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the infrastructure.
Key benefits of IaC at a glance:
- Efficient and fast: With IaC, organisations can quickly and easily deploy new resources and replicate entire environments. This speeds up application development, testing and deployment, reducing time-to-market.
- Scalable: Scaling infrastructure becomes easier and faster with IaC. Organisations can automatically add resources based on demand, allowing them to respond flexibly to changing needs.
- Consistent: IaC ensures uniform configurations across all environments, from development to production. This minimises the risk of errors due to inconsistent configurations.
- Reusable: The code describing the infrastructure can be re-used across different projects and teams. Moreover, version control allows changes to be tracked, compared, and reversed.
- Less error-prone: By reducing manual interactions, IaC reduces the risk of human error that can lead to security breaches or downtime.
- Secure: With IaC, code quality and security can be tested via pipeline, audit trails and Git, for example.
Infrastructure as Code is changing the way organisations set up, manage, and scale infrastructure. It is therefore crucial for business and IT managers to embrace the benefits of IaC and invest in the right tools and skills to take full advantage of this revolutionary approach.