You’ve stumbled upon the abbreviation and wonder “what is IaC”? Then let’s get that straight. It stands for “Infrastructure As Code”. It does not tell much right? Then, let’s further explore what it is.
Now, imagine this. You are that infrastructure guy (e.g. System Administrator) in the firm who is responsible for the infrastructure. You provision and manage the infrastructure through manual processes.
You have to make sure that the processes all well documented. Sometimes, you need to do ad-hoc changes and document them as well.
Now, if you would need to build the exact same infra again, you would need to replicate the exact steps in your documentation taking into account all the changes that went in after you built it. How would you compare if somehow two infra components behave differently?
Well, that does not sound so easy. In fact, managing IT infrastructure has traditionally been a hard job. Fortunately, as with all the tech revolutions going on, this domain of IT has got a fresh new breath as well.
Wikipedia defines IaC as follows:
Infrastructure as code is the process of managing and provisioning computer data centers through machine-readable definition files, rather than physical hardware configuration or interactive configuration tools.
This boils down to managing your whole infra with mere code.
Imagine yourself writing a piece of code similar to how you would write any software code. But this is the code you will use to build your infra.
Any changes you need to do, you make them in the code and re-create your infra. How would you document these changes? This where source control management comes into play. You can use any source control management tool like GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket to version control your files.
Okay, say you have your code. Now, how you build an actual infra? An infra automation tool like RedHat Ansible can help you automate this process. It takes the IaC and builds your infra. That simple.
Past are the days when developers manually provisioned and managed servers, and all the other associated infra components like operating systems, storage, etc. Instead, putting place an IAC strategy is a no-brainer:
- Make your code the single source of truth
- Version control all your configuration files
- Abandon unnecessary infra documentation
- Test and monitor your configurations.
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