Infrastructure as Code: what is it and what is it for?

Infrastructure as Code or IaC enables the automation of the management and provisioning of the IT infrastructure through the use of computer code. Learn more about the definition, benefits and risks of this type of tool.

Infrastructure as Code, or IaC, is a type of IT configuration that allows developers and operations technicians to automatically manage and provision the IT infrastructure. through the code without going through manual processes. This is often referred to as software-defined or programmable infrastructure.

Infrastructure as Code can be used across the entire IT landscape. However, it is particularly essential for Cloud Computing, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Likewise, DevOps requires agile work processes and automated workflows which can only be achieved with the assurance of a permanently available IT infrastructure. This infrastructure is indispensable for executing and testing the developed code.

Infrastructure as Code: what are the benefits?

infrastructure as code advantages

Infrastructure as Code brings several major benefits. Within companies, it allows first of all to reduce the IT shadow The use of computer systems without the explicit approval of the company, in particular by departments other than the IT department.

Indeed, most of the time, IT shadowing is due to the inability of IT departments to react in time to meet the needs of other departments regarding improvements to systems and IT infrastructure. This can pose significant security risks and unpredictable costs for the company. L’IaC enables faster responseand by extension reduce costs, enhance security, and ensure compliance with corporate IT standards.

In addition, theIaC improves customer satisfaction allowing the company to offer a quality service within a short period of time. This improves customer satisfaction and enhances the perception of IT within the company as a whole.

Infrastucture as Code also reduces OPEXThe company is able to deploy a fully tested and compliant IT infrastructure in minutes with little or no human intervention. This results in colossal savings in terms of working time and potential financial risks. Similarly, the fact that one developer can accomplish the tasks of several team members alone, especially in a DevOps context, reduces CAPEX costs.

In addition, while manual configurations often have errors and minor changes that can accumulate to form inconsistencies with the standard, Infrastructure as Code ensures standardization. By extension, this standardization makes it possible to securing changes by reducing the rate of deviation.

Finally, the ability to supply additional resources during periods of bursting and flooding is a major concern. allows horizontal scaling. It also offers the possibility to replace resources in case of failure.

Infrastructure as Code: what are the risks?

Despite its many benefits, Infrastructure as Code also presents risks. First of all, there are the risk of poor planningIndeed, setting up an IaC requires defining an infrastructure that will enable the implementation, configuration and operation of IaC tools. For example, a physical server infrastructure that is powerful and scalable enough and capable of running a tool like VMware is required to create and operate virtual machines.

Besides.., IaC requires new skills. Some expertise is required to master the tools, and achieving this expertise requires time for learning and training. Until the tools become simpler to use, employees are trained or new experts are recruited, many companies prefer to use subcontractors.

Another risk inherent in IaC is that of error replication. Knowing that the initial code is developed by humans, there is always a risk that it contains minor errors that will only have an impact after a certain amount of time. Unfortunately, during this time, many machines may have been created automatically with such code errors. It is therefore essential to check the code thoroughly.

Other examples include the risk of configuration deviation linked to any human intervention on a machine created via an IaC workflow. Over time, these configuration discrepancies can result in misconfigurations or even service failures.

Finally, the IaC presents a risk of accidental destruction since some tools have the ability to automatically destroy resources as long as the code says so. In fact, automation can have unfortunate consequences.

Infrastructure as Code: what are the main tools?

The Infrastructure as Code market has reached a certain maturity over the years. There are a wide variety of toolsThe new version of the software, which offers different functionalities.

Among the most popular of these solutions, we can cite Puppet and Chef. Puppet allows the rapid creation of new infrastructures based on customer needs, while Chef allows rapid collaboration between team members.

Even if it’s not specifically dedicated to IaC, the open source configuration management tool Ansible offers modules to build Infrastructures on a large number of Cloud and onsite configurations. It is SSH (linux) and WinRM (Windows) compatible and its code is written in YAML.

Among other popular solutionsThese include the open source Terraform tool, Amazon Web Services Cloud Formation’s IaC tool, and the IaC implementation of Microsoft Azure ARM Templates.

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