Managing IT Infrastructure like Coding – The DevOps Way


Managing IT Infrastructure like Coding – The DevOps Way

In the past, servers and other IT equipment used to occupy a lot of space in the company. Resources would be required to manage this, and the person should be available round the clock to maintain it in case of any issues. System administrators would need to run to and fro for maintaining the records of what must have happened, and how best to fix this.

Over the years, managing backend systems has definitely revolutionized. Managing a full-fledged system is no longer difficult, and it is all thanks to this new technology of DevOps. It is essentially the amalgamation of software development and I.T. operations to cut short on the development life cycle and provide a set of features that would otherwise have been impossible.

It is all the magic of automation in its midst that makes DevOps so different than others. All the manual operations have been eliminated to make way for this domain to evolve and flourish, and thereby delivering solutions that are smarter.

Infrastructure is an important part of the development life cycle and it is essentially the cornerstone of the entire system. We would be speaking at length about a novel technology called the Infrastructure as Code or the IAC. This would shed some more facts about the software-defined infrastructure in more detail than necessary.

What is IAC, and how does it correlate with DevOps?

Infrastructure as Code or IAC is an idea which outlines the latest and the best practices of the modern infrastructure. As the term suggests, IAC concerns with a coding styled approach to the infrastructure setup, and it essentially means that an automated approach is taken as compared to the manual one. Plus, it manages the infrastructure using a machine-readable code file that can be configured by the IT infrastructure team that can then be tested and run accordingly.

The Relation with DevOps

DevOps uses a Continuous Integration / Continuous Deployment approach for decreasing the gap between development and operations through automation. It ensures a swifter release cycle, plus the factor of improving the product quality gets the maximum focus.

Therefore, when we speak about a swifter release in the development life cycle, it is important to have a good infrastructure setup that will streamline with respect to the release speed of the software. It needs to be tested with minimum faults and put into the production environment without any hitches. This is why, IAC plays an important role, and is considered to be one of the preconditions for implementing DevOps in your Company.

What is the need for IAC?

Some of the points that need to be paid attention to include,

  • Software Development and delivery were completely different some years back, since the product needed to be tested and then deployed on the server. This is also included the inclusion of different components as well.
  • There used to be multiple roles for deploying a conventional software like system and database administrators, developer and tester. All needed to be in perfect sync with each other.
  • All the three environments namely development, test, and production needed to be in sync with each other.
  • They would also need to factor in the version control, time zones, load balancing, and installing the required packages for software among other settings.
  • The server setup would essentially take up a lot of time. There would be errors involved, and the time required to solve them would be even more, and that results from deployments which would be time-consuming.

The two facets to understand before we get to understand the main purpose of IAC

The introduction of the cloud has been revolutionizing the I.T. industry and has eliminated the need for managing the infrastructure continuously. Cloud services like Amazon, Google and IBM have made it flexible and scalable with respect to their services.

Another important facet that has changed infrastructure would be DevOps itself. Since it delivers swifter solutions and promotes even faster deployment speeds, infrastructure management has become a cinch now.

There is absolutely zero need to manually handle the servers on your own since IAC makes everything much easier than before. There are multiple tools and services that have accepted IAC and found it advantageous contributing to faster delivery in software requirements.

Benefits of IAC

Some of the important benefits for Infrastructure as Code are given below,

  • Increased performance of the system – IAC makes your system much faster, and it also prevents any possible risks thereby making you aware of any possible compliance and safety concerns. It ensures that the responses are faster and the performance is improved.
  • Speed – Speed is important in today’s world, and the whole development cycle faces these issues with respect to the same. IAC has been recommended as one of the vital factors in picking up the pace for the development process ensuring maximum productivity.
  • Change Management – Prior to the deployment of code in the production environment, codes are usually tested again and again. IAC includes a secure change management system for multiple platforms, therefore.
  • Scalable Infrastructure – A scalable infrastructure is what IAC offers to the organizations which make it a tad bit easier to add new resources and software with minimum hitches.
  • Customer satisfaction – It improves maximum customer satisfaction at minimum costs.

Tools for Implementation of Infrastructure as Code

Some of the best tools in existence for IAC are listed down below,

  • Amazon Web Services CloudFormation
  • Azure Resource Manager
  • Terraform
  • Google Cloud Deployment Manager
  • Chef
  • Ansible

Some of these tools are open source, and some are very popular among organizations, and some actually belong to official DevOps tool providers.

Challenges of IAC

Some of the challenges that might prove to be a bit difficult for IAC include,

  • The inclusion of new tools that can be used as new skills.
  • Outside interference might pose a bit of a problem in the system.
  • IAC Setup needs to be audited every time manually.
  • IAC would require proper planning and effective execution; else it might lead to problems.
  • Co-operation is a crucial part for a seamless implementation.
  • IAC requires a consolidated point of view for proper validation.

Would IAC be a better alternative for your Company?

IAC provides Companies with increased scalability and lesser complications. Plus, you would not be using conventional means for setting up your server. With the inception of DevOps and Cloud Computing, switching over to IAC would really not be a problem. All of these factors need to be taken into account and only then should be implemented. There are multiple tools and services that contribute to IAC thereby improving the Company’s performance.