Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) is the concept of describing your infrastructure, such as networks, virtual machines, databases and security rules, using code.
In practical terms, engineers would write code that describes the desired state of their infrastructure resources, then using automation tools they would be able to create, update and manage those resources in a repeatable and consistent way. The code can be version controlled (eg. using Git) like any other software code, allowing teams to track changes, collaborate, and roll back changes when necessary.
There are many technologies and tools available for implementing IaC - Some of the more popular examples include:
- Terraform: An open-source tool from HashiCorp that allows teams to write declarative code to manage infrastructure resources across multiple cloud providers and on-premises environments.
- Ansible: An open-source automation tool that allows teams to write and manage playbooks to automate the configuration of servers, network devices, and other infrastructure resources.
- CloudFormation: An IaC service provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS) that allows users to define and manage AWS resources as code
Using IaC and tools like Terraform and Ansible, benefits your team in many ways - Below we list just a few of them:
- Faster and more reliable infrastructure deployment: Infrastructure can be provisioned and configured automatically and consistently, reducing the potential for errors and speeding up the deployment process.
- Improved collaboration: Version control systems allow teams to collaborate on infrastructure code just as they would with any other software code.
- Better security and compliance: IaC allows teams to specify security and compliance requirements directly in code, reducing the potential for manual errors and ensuring consistency across infrastructure resources.
- Simplified management: IaC allows teams to manage infrastructure resources at scale with less effort and complexity, reducing the burden on IT operations teams
IaC can be used in a variety of contexts, including cloud computing, data centers, and hybrid environments. It is particularly useful for organizations that are looking to automate and streamline their infrastructure management processes, or that want to make their infrastructure more predictable and scalable. Some common use cases for IaC include:
- Deploying and managing cloud infrastructure
- Provisioning and configuring on-premises servers
- Deploying and managing container infrastructure
- Deploying and managing microservices architectures
- Managing and updating infrastructure for multiple environments (e.g. development, staging, production)
- Migrating infrastructure between cloud providers