docker and DEVOPS - Part 2

What Are The Advantages of Infrastructure as Code? (IaC)?

Dynamic infrastructures are impressive, easy to explain and the benefits are obvious. Infrastructure As Code (IaC), like dynamic hosting, also has tremendous potential. To understand the benefits of Infrastructure as Code, let's take a look at the traditional approach. Not only are the servers mostly static, but their setup and configuration require mainly manual steps.

For example, opening the box when a new server is delivered and connecting the cables is a manual task. Using Infrastructure as Code, however, allows these processes to run in a virtual environment. These steps as well as all further setup and configuration work can be written as code.

A big problem with the manual approach which may surprise management but is no secret to server administrators, is that infrastructure setup and changes are often insufficiently documented or not documented at all. In other words, ask a room full of server administrators about the installation and changes blog and see who meets your eye.

To be fair, documenting is time-consuming and server administrators are always under great pressure, especially when changes need to be made. However, in an emergency situation, proper documentation can be a lifesaver. Conversely, a change to the infrastructure without documentation to some extent is like driving in the dark with the headlights off.

Overview of The Advantages
IaC is different. IaC is different. Problems occuring during a manual setup solve themselves here:
  • Complete documentation: The mentioned lack of documentation is avoided. A lack of documentation in IT is a risk not to be underestimated for any company or organization. Infrastructure as Code provides complete, readable, and versioned environment documentation.
  • Less risk of changes: It is common practice for source code to have version control. Likewise, the code that defines the server infrastructure can also be versioned. This makes infrastructure changes controlled, fully traceable, versioned, and, if necessary, easier to undo. If, for example, after a change in the infrastructure, the performance is no longer as expected, it is very easy to see the changes ("Diff") at a glance and thus circling the cause by comparing the underlying source code. In a traditional environment, this is almost impossible or at least complicated and error prone. The lower risk makes it more efficient to optimize the infrastructure more frequently and thus achieve more performance at a lower cost.
  • Setting up a test environment: When rolling out new software versions, it is common practice to test them in a staging (or integration) environment before going live. Setting up the test environment is not only faster and easier, it also guarantees that the test environment is absolutely identical. Manually setting up a staging environment that is identical to the production environment requires long and concentrated work, which is monotonous and this prone to mistakes. Also, failover redundancy and backup solutions are clearly defined and it is easier to detect discrepancies than to be insecure.
  • Identical Setup: International infrastructures are deployed identically with Infrastructure as Code servers worldwide, simplifying management and control.
  • Easy Recovery: In the case of a total loss, restoring the infrastructure can take hundreds of manual steps and several days in a traditional environment, depending on the existence and quality of the documentation. With Infrastructure as Code, even a very complex server environment can be fully set up and configured in 30 minutes. A mouse click is the only manual work required. The total loss of infrastructure is obviously not a very likely scenario. The scenario of infrastructure reconstruction, however, helps illustrate the general idea of ​​Infrastructure as Code.
  • Dynamic infrastructures: Infrastructure as Code is an excellent idea for dynamic infrastructures. When servers are no longer needed, they can be easily removed, saving costs and keeping the structure transparent. When a new server is started, it is automatically set up and fully configured within one to two minutes. This happens over and over again and absolutely reliably.
  • Easier Collaboration: Working on the server infrastructure in teams is also easier because the code is first written, then possible teamwork conflicts are resolved, and finally the final infrastructure definition is applied as a whole.
We support you in setting up your IaC infrastructure! has many years of experience using Infrastructure as Code and is happy to help you run your applications using this infrastructure setup or to work with you to make the necessary adjustments to your existing infrastructure. Please get in touch with us.   
Christian Haag, founder and CEO of networkers GmbH
Does that sound interesting? You would like to know more? 
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