What Is Infrastructure-As-Code and Why It Matters




Wissen Team


June 23, 2023

As software-defined business models hijack traditional businesses, there is an increasing call for flexible application development practices to be followed by enterprise technology teams. While agile methodologies and productized development of IT are gaining traction, the unique nuances of underlying infrastructure configurations often spoil the game. One of the most desired changes by developers is the availability of dynamic monitoring, provisioning, and management of infrastructure just like how they could manage the end cloud-based application. 

Well, Infrastructure-as-Code or IaC lets you achieve just that.

In simple terms, IaC codifies infrastructure into a set of code that developers can invoke in their applications like how programming scripts are written. IaC encompasses the entire deployment infrastructure like networks, load balancers, connectivity protocols and topography, virtual machines, etc. In any continuous deployment application, it works in a similar fashion to how DevOps teams leverage versioning for source code. Each environment can be considered a version with necessary tweaks made through scripting rather than manual configurations of the actual infrastructure.

Let us explore the top benefits of IaC that make it a worthy asset for modern digital application development programs.

Eliminate environment drift challenge

Without IaC, application development initiatives face the challenge of environment drift, especially in the release pipeline of continuous delivery. Engineering teams scramble at the last minute to configure the settings of every individual deployment environment. Automation of the environment configuration becomes a challenge as they tend to become complex and unique over iterative deployment cycles. 

With IaC, environment drift is eliminated seamlessly. A simple deployment comment or line of code sets the desired infrastructure configuration in motion and the environment becomes ready for deployment instantly. Irrespective of the starting state, the target environment is instantly transitioned into the same configuration that is represented by the code. The development team only needs to make changes in the source code rather than the target environment, to make any changes in deployment environment configurations.

Scale rapidly and reliably

Modern cloud workloads require applications that can expand their storage and performance credentials exponentially on demand. However, this would require the corresponding infrastructure or development environment to reciprocate the pace of scale dynamically. With IaC, DevOps teams can setup rapidly configurable and scalable environments that are stable. We have already seen how IaC eliminates environmental drift. This ensures that infrastructure deployment is not plagued by any runtime issues and, hence, applications can achieve desired levels of scale faster and with better reliability. In simple terms, IaC enables enterprises to reduce the time to market for applications or new features to existing applications.

Remove delays and barriers to innovation

In a traditional DevOps environment, developers must often wait for system administrators to provision the necessary development environments. This is especially true for the case of experimental deployment as part of a quality assurance validation or innovation research initiative. 

With IaC, all that development teams need to do is to use code to provision deployment environments on their own without any delay. It gives them the freedom to experiment with application deployment as much as they want before handing it over to operations for the live deployment of an error-free version. System administrators can be leveraged for more important tasks thereby progressively improving efficiency within the enterprise as well.

Reduce errors

With automatic provisioning of infrastructure through code, there is very little scope for erroneous configurations of deployment environments in enterprise application development initiatives. Moreover, every time a new configuration is needed for the deployment infrastructure, developers need to only make changes in the source code rather than having to manually re-configure the infrastructure with the help of system administrators. This further eliminates the possibility of errors in configurations.

IaC offers a long list of advantages that modern enterprise software development initiatives can benefit significantly from. However, IaC does come with its own inherent complexities of being handled like code or scripts. Moving further into the automation of IaC, there are areas where enterprises require orchestration tools or platforms to manage dynamic configuration availability for development environments. This requires additional technical skills and support to monitor version control techniques and assure high-quality standards. 

Besides, the presence of an extensive amount of legacy security and monitoring tools will further complicate the adoption of IaC in large enterprise application development initiatives. More training and testing initiatives would be needed to integrate IaC into the development stream in such cases.

Embracing IaC is not an easy task, but it is seamlessly achievable when your business has the right guidance and timely support from a reliable technology partner like Wissen. Get in touch with us to explore more about how IaC can be a real enabler of value in your business's digital roadmap.