What is Infrastructure as Code (IaC)?

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What is Infrastructure as Code (IaC)?

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is a DevOps methodology that uses machine-readable definition files to manage and provision computer data center resources. It replaces manual configuration tools or physical hardware with a high-level descriptive coding language. This language is used to automate the provisioning of IT infrastructure, such as servers, operating systems, database connections, and storage.

  • DevOps methodology: This is a set of practices that combines software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). It aims to shorten the system development life cycle and provide continuous delivery with high software quality.
  • Machine-readable definition files: These are files that a machine can read and understand. They are used in IaC to define and manage resources.
  • High-level descriptive coding language: This is a type of programming language that is designed to be easy for humans to read and write. It is used in IaC to automate the provisioning of IT infrastructure.

What are the uses of Infrastructure as Code?

IaC is used for managing large-scale, distributed systems, cloud-native applications, and service-based architectures. It is also used for building and changing infrastructure in a safe, consistent, trackable, and repeatable way.

  • Large-scale, distributed systems: These are systems that run on multiple machines and are designed to provide a single service or perform a single task.
  • Cloud-native applications: These are applications that are designed to take advantage of cloud computing frameworks. They are built with services packaged in containers, deployed as microservices, and managed on elastic infrastructure.
  • Service-based architectures: This is a type of software architecture where services are provided to other components by application components, through a communication protocol over a network.

What are the benefits of Infrastructure as Code?

The benefits of IaC include cost reduction, increase in speed of deployments, reduction of errors, improvement of infrastructure consistency, and elimination of configuration drift.

  • Cost reduction: By automating the provisioning of IT infrastructure, IaC can significantly reduce costs associated with manual configuration and physical hardware.
  • Speed of deployments: IaC can increase the speed of deployments by automating the provisioning of IT infrastructure.
  • Reduction of errors: By using machine-readable definition files, IaC can reduce the chances of human error in the configuration of IT infrastructure.

What are the key principles of Infrastructure as Code?

Two key IaC principles are idempotency and immutable infrastructure. Idempotency means that no matter how many times you run your IaC and what your starting state is, you will end up with the same end state. This simplifies the provisioning of infrastructure and reduces the chances of inconsistent results.

  • Idempotency: This is a property of certain operations in mathematics and computer science, where they can be applied multiple times without changing the result beyond the initial application.
  • Immutable infrastructure: This is a principle in which servers are never modified after they’re deployed. If something needs to be updated, fixed, or modified in any way, new servers built from a common image with the desired changes are provisioned to replace the old ones.

What tools can be used for Infrastructure as Code?

Some tools that can be used for IaC include Ansible, Salt, Chef, and Puppet. These tools help automate the process of managing and provisioning computer data center resources.

  • Ansible: This is an open-source software provisioning, configuration management, and application-deployment tool.
  • Salt: Also known as SaltStack, this is a Python-based open-source configuration management software and remote execution engine.
  • Chef: This is an open-source configuration management tool written in Ruby and Erlang.
  • Puppet: This is a software configuration management tool which uses a declarative language to describe system configuration.

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