The Concept of “Infrastructure as Code”

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Introduction

Practice shows that the term “infrastructure” has several meanings depending on the context. For example, a person who is going to buy a house in a residential area will understand the infrastructure as the presence of shops, recreational facilities, good roads, gas stations, etc. in the area. For a person working at an industrial enterprise, the infrastructure will include production facilities, equipment and tools, communication networks, etc. At first glance, it seems that such infrastructure characteristics are difficult to reconcile with the Internet space, software development, blockchain technology and other attributes of Web 2.0 and Web 3.0. However, upon a more detailed dive into the essence of this term, we will see that this is not so. It turns out that not only the infrastructure of Web 2.0 we are already familiar with, but also web3 infrastructure is the same set of certain positions, processes and tools – material and software, which are extremely are important for the creation and operation of any IT projects.

Let’s imagine the work of a web developer, whose task is to create and bring to use some kind of software product by users. The most important part of such a task is the product design, its development, layout, testing, etc. However, the product development process itself will not be enough to successfully implement the task. If you imagine the creation of a product in the form of an iceberg, then its visible part will be the development process itself, and the underwater part of the iceberg will be the very infrastructure without which cannot be implemented the process of creating and deploying an IT product.

Features of “Infrastructure as Code”

Speaking about the classical understanding of the term “IT infrastructure”, we must not forget that progress in the IT field itself does not stop and today, providing infrastructure is no longer just the usual purchase of the necessary equipment, installing an operating system, and deploying software on a hardware server. The IT industry today operates with such a tool as cloud technologies, which can significantly reduce the time from the moment of idea to the practical implementation of any infrastructure. In addition, another advantage cloud technologies is their ability to control scaling.

One of the results of this movement forward was the emergence of such a concept as IaC (Infrastructure as Code). The first thing you need to pay attention to in this concept is that IaC uses the DevOps methodology. And IaC itself includes the following components:

  • infrastructure automation,
  • configuration management,
  • version control,
  • automatic testing,
  • automatic deployment,
  • acceleration of deployment,
  • scalability,
  • fast feedback,
  • change management.

Advantages of IaC

Understanding the need for IaC should proceed from the fact that it is thanks to this concept that the unity of work of any DevOps teams is ensured. The set of techniques and tools that DevOps teams work with to deliver applications and their supporting infrastructure is also uniform, which ensures the speed and reliability of the process. It should be noted that IaC can be successfully used not only on a large scale, but also in local home infrastructure. In addition, IaC is applicable not only within cloud technologies, but also when managing conventional hardware servers.

The main advantages of IaC are: cost reduction, speed and risk diminution. Cost reduction occurs due to the lack of server purchases and reduced costs for paying employees who manage the software in the presence of traditional infrastructure. A significant advantage of IaC is the factor that leads to risk diminution and this is a manifest which describes the infrastructure. It is the presence of the manifest that allows you to cover it with tests, like programmers do this with their codes. And this, in turn, provides insight into what will happen to the infrastructure and what impact it may have on other components of the system.

IaC Postulates

The significance of IaC is determined by three important postulates. The first is that the IaC itself is, among other things, documentation, since the developed manifest is included in it. This means that in addition to the developer, various specialists can familiarize themselves with the manifest and use it in the process of their work. From the first postulate follows the second no less important one – the infrastructure code is the truth. And this is logical, since code, as a document, by its definition is an object that inspires trust. The third important postulate is that infrastructure code is a common property. This means that, if necessary, not only the developer but also other specialists can make changes to it. Such accessibility leads to the emergence of team specialists awareness of their actions, and also creates in them a sense of responsibility for the consequences of the changes made.