The onset of Cloud computing services has fundamentally altered the way IT departments functions across all businesses. Cloud services come with their own set of advantages including on-demand scalability without the need of setting up infrastructure and high-availability, but a cloud infrastructure still needs proper configuration. This is where Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) gains prominence.
What is IaC?
Before proceeding further, let’s quickly understand what IaC stands for. Simply put, IaC is nothing more than automating your infrastructure. A more detailed explanation would be — IaC is a method of configuring or provisioning cloud infrastructure through machine-readable definition files instead of manually managing or configuring the infrastructure. While an organization’s DevOps team can still manually configure its cloud infrastructure, the manual process not only takes a lot of time leading to improper resource utilization, but also comes with the risk of being bogged by discrepancies.
Since IaC involves writing code for configuring the infrastructure, it takes away the discrepancy aspect from provisioning/configuration of the businesses’ IT infrastructure. The code files can also be easily improved, rewritten, or edited, making the configuration of IT resources easier and quicker. Having properly defined what IaC is, let’s get to what benefits does IaC brings to an organization’s cloud environment.
IaC Benefits —
Speed — Speed is one the prominent benefits when it comes to using IaC. Since the setup of the infrastructure only involves running a script, the process is far quicker than the manual configuration. Every environment, from development to production ends up saving time due to IaC, making the entire development process way quicker.
Consistency — Consistency is one the of most obvious advantages of IaC. Manual configuration is often rife with discrepancies, and since IaC makes sure that the code files are the single source for deployment. It effectively guarantees that the same configuration is deployed throughout your entire cloud infrastructure.
Accountability — Since each iteration of the code file can be assigned versions, if any error occurs it can be traced. The error can then be promptly fixed and proper accountability can be assigned to avoid future errors.
Efficiency — IaC also brings increased efficiency to the organization. The code approach allows organizations to deploy their infrastructure architecture in different stages. This makes the development part streamlined, contributing to the productivity of the team.
Cost Savings — The automation of infrastructure configuration and provisioning naturally ends up saving costs for the organization. While cloud computing already reduces costs related to infrastructure, IaC takes the cost-savings to a new level. IaC also frees up the time that developers or engineers would spend on menial jobs like hardware upkeep, and allows them to focus on important tasks that add more value to the organization.
Having understood the benefits that IaC brings to an organization, one can safely say that IaC is the next step in adoption of Cloud services for any organization. The overall benefits and the ease of infrastructure maintenance provided by IaC holds the potential to make the Cloud journey seamless and beneficial for organizations far and wide. Major Cloud providers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform already have their IaC solutions in the form of AWS CloudFormation, Azure Resource Manager, and Google Cloud Deployment Manager respectively. There are other IaC options out in the market in the form of Terraform, Chef, and Puppet that are equally effective.