Infrastructure as code

This blip is not on the current edition of the Radar. If it was on one of the last few editions it is likely that it is still relevant. If the blip is older it might no longer be relevant and our assessment might be different today. Unfortunately, we simply don't have the bandwidth to continuously review blips from previous editions of the RadarUnderstand more
Published: Jan 31, 2011
Last Updated: May 19, 2020
May 2020

Although infrastructure as code is a relatively old technique (we’ve featured it in the Radar in 2011), it has become vitally important in the modern cloud era where the act of setting up infrastructure has become the passing of configuration instructions to a cloud platform. When we say "as code" we mean that all the good practices we've learned in the software world should be applied to infrastructure. Using source control, adhering to the DRY principle, modularization, maintainability, and using automated testing and deployment are all critical practices. Those of us with a deep software and infrastructure background need to empathize with and support colleagues who do not. Saying "treat infrastructure like code" isn't enough; we need to ensure the hard-won learnings from the software world are also applied consistently throughout the infrastructure realm.

Oct 2012
We continue to highlight infrastructure as code. This technique treats infrastructure configuration in the same way as code; checking configuration into source control, then carefully pushing changes out to the data center.
Mar 2012
Jul 2011
The DevOps movement continues to grow, with developers and operations staff working closely together to solve the “software last mile” problem. Infrastructure as code is a technique for treating infrastructure configuration in the same way as code; checking it into source control, then using it to push changes out to the data center. In addition to web server, application server and application configuration, we are seeing network configuration treated in the same way. Network switch, firewall and load balancer configuration can be infrastructure as code, and even changed at runtime.
Jan 2011
The large number of hosts and devices in a modern datacenter or cloud deployment have made manually installing and configuring infrastructure unwise. Infrastructure as code is an approach whereby infrastructure configuration is scripted or described by files that are stored in version control, and changes are pushed out to the datacenter in a controlled manner. This parallels the discipline of source control and build promotion used in software development, hence ‘as code’. The two front-running open source tools for infrastructure automation are Chef and Puppet. They both use a textual DSL to script automation. Using this approach provides consistent and repeatable environment changes, reducing the manual effort involved, especially in troubleshooting environmental differences.