Infrastructure as code: faster, cheaper and better

Maarten Draijer

In the world of DevOps and continuous delivery there is another useful tool: Infrastructure as Code (IaC). The advantages of programmable infrastructure are lower costs, speed and reliability. In this article we will be talking about just that.

IaC: programable infrastructure?

When developing software it is often needed to build an infrastructure. This is needed when for example to put the software into production. Without IaC teams would have to make all infrastructure manually. That would take a lot of time and leads to many unique configurations: the settings wouldn't be replicated exactly the same, while the functions might be in accord. The maintenance and checking of these unique environments has to be done by humans which makes it time consuming and prone to errors.

Before we continue it is best to indicate what we call infrastructure. In IT infrastructure is, among other things, about networks, virtual machines and load balancers. All these affairs are needed to be able to use or test a piece of code or software.

At the moment you pre-program this infrastructure in code, you make sure that there aren't dozens or even hundreds of unique environments. Each environment is exactly the same, is placed automatically and follows the same set of rules. This has a few advantages.

Advantages of Infrastructure as Code

As we stated at the beginning of this article : the greatest advantages of IaC are lower costs, higher speed in the process and better reliability.

Speed and ease

With IaC you can roll out a complete infrastructure by running a script. Think about virtual servers, pre-programmed databases, load balancers and more. You can apply these in the development phase, staging and production. Another advantage is that you can easily use the same infrastructure in a different datacenter. This way you can make a backup of all work without much effort.

Less risk, more consistency

Not all developers are skilled enough to make a good infrastructure. There may even be as few as one or two developers who know how they work exactly. What if they are on sick leave or leave the company? That would create a problem. With IaC you not only create an automatic process, but also create the right documentation. Rolling out infrastructure will be a piece of cake. Because you use code to set the infrastructure, the control of different versions will also be a lot smoother. This will create a better approach to find and fix any problems.

Lower costs

You want your developers to work on things that have the most added value. That won't be the manual creation of an infrastructure. When you would automate this process with Infrastructure as Code, your developers will have more time to work on the software itself. They will be more productive, which would save money on personnel costs.Your IaC-code could also automatically deactivate you infrastructure when it is not used. That would lead to lower costs of cloud hosting.

Where to begin?

IaC is firmly connected to DevOps. So if you aren't using DevOps, picking that up would be a wise first step. Is your DevOps going smoothly, then it would a good start to check which tools you can use in Iac. Check out Docker, Juju pr terraform. At Udemy you can start [with some courses].(!

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