Infrastructure as Code

Infrastructure as Code (IAC)

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) transforms and automates the manual process of standing up data center environments and processes, such as hardware instantiation, networking, run books, appliance and software configuration, into automated deployment and configuration.

The IaC concept has been around for several years with startups and tech firms. IaC is now gaining wider traction.

TechNavio cites the increased adoption of IaC as a major trend across all industries and geographies in their Global DevOps Platform Market 2018-2022 report.

Every industry is challenged by Digital Disrupters–firms competing based on enhanced capabilities and lower costs derived from digital innovation.

According to the 2018 IDC Whitepaper, Designing Tomorrow, “Over 67% of companies believe a digitally enabled competitor will gain a competitive advantage within the next five years.”

Traditional companies must be able to move faster at lower costs and yet continue to manage risk. Firms willing to undergo digital transformation can achieve this with IaC.

Benefits of Infrastructure as Code

Infrastructure cost (CAPEX) and human cost (OPEX) can be reduced by leveraging the dynamic and self-service capabilities that IaC provides.

Increased velocity means recasting multi-step, multi-hour, manual processes—such as racking servers, loading software patches, installing services and applications, configuring networks, and enabling storage—into automated, repeatable, scalable processes performed in minutes.

When done correctly, IaC reduces risk by addressing traditional IT problems, including configuration drift, human error, inconsistencies, and loss of context.

These additional capabilities—faster infrastructure delivery and consistent configuration during the software delivery cycle—allow organizations to make changes faster, more confidently, and at lower risk.

Infrastructure as Code and Digital Transformation

An excellent place to begin Digital Transformation is implementing IaC to facilitate the adoption of DevOps practice.

Firms starting this journey are faced with the challenge of assessing whether the organization has the skills and know-how to embark on the journey alone or requires collaboration with skilled practitioners.

Most “not-born-in-the-cloud” firms realize they need to bring in outside resources (unfortunately, sometimes after first failing internally).

Ness has vast experience across Finance, Healthcare, and Telecom industries with deep expertise in IaC technologies.

We realize that even significant journeys start with a single step and have developed a unique Player-Coach engagement model that facilitates new DevOps principles, enabling the demonstration of best practices through quick-win projects.

At Ness, we are agnostic (yet opinionated) about our tools. Our choices are informed by various factors and our clients’ needs.

However, we do have our favorites.

Tools for Infrastructure as Code

One such tool is Terraform, the service provisioner and infrastructure orchestrator by HashiCorp. Terraform is cloud-agnostic and supports all significant clouds, both public and private.

In hybrid environments, where there are advantages to a single set of tooling, Terraform allows our practitioners to develop, validate, and roll out orchestration templates quickly.

We implement CM with two tools, Salt and Ansible. Ansible focuses on simplicity, getting going quickly, making changes easy to understand, and fast organizational adoption.

We recommend Salt for organizations with greater infrastructure complexity.

Salt has an entirely declarative model that includes components to dynamically manage configuration and detect drift, along with the ability to layer buildouts, react to environmental signals, and dynamically change infrastructure in response to changing conditions.

These abilities require additional complexity and result in a steeper learning curve, but clients with sufficient scale, compliance requirements, or complexity find great benefit from the extra features.

Infrastructure as Code – Ness Expertise

At Ness, our Cloud and Infrastructure as Code DevOps teams support transformation initiatives and demonstrate domain expertise in the following areas:

  • Infrastructure as Code Orchestration with tools like HashiCorp’s Terraform and Cloud-native Orchestration with CloudFormation, ARM, and HEAT
  • Configuration automation with technologies, including Salt and Ansible
  • Migrating applications to the public Cloud, including re-architecting applications to become more cloud-compatible or cloud-native
  • Containerization, including extensive experience with Docker, Docker Swarm, OpenShift, Kubernetes, EKS, GKE, and Cloud migration and hybrid cloud implementation using VMWare, Open Stack, AWS, GCP, and Azure
  • Process and methodology improvements and CI/CD pipeline implementation by leveraging tools, such as Git, JIRA, Jenkins, and Multi-cloud Monitoring and Log aggregation via Splunk, Elastic, and InfluxDB