Infrastructure as Code - What it is and How to use it

September 6, 2022
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Santosh Peddada
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Summary : In the previous blogs in this series, I have discussed the significance of building a well-architected cloud environment, and how to manage the security of a multi-account AWS environment with custom solutions built on the AWS Control Tower.

In this blog I will explain how you can build and maintain a well-architected environment effortlessly using Infrastructure as Code (IaC).

(This is a series on the AWS Well-Architected Framework. This is Part 3. Read Part 1 and Part 2)

Infrastructure is one of the fundamental and necessary pillars of the software development process. It is directly responsible for the smooth running of your applications, production, staging, and test environments. As the complexity of applications grows, managing and provisioning IT infrastructure in the traditional way to meet the demands of frequent updates, new service launches, and security and compliance regulations is not feasible. 

This is where Infrastructure as Code (IaC) can be useful as an IT practice. IaC automates the provisioning and maintenance of cloud infrastructure and updates through code, eliminating manual efforts so that you can meet the growing infrastructure needs in a scalable and trackable manner IaC has many benefits such as:

  •  Environment Consistency

When several users are deploying configurations there are bound to be inconsistencies in the development, QA, and production environments. With Infrastructure as Code, all parameters are stored in manifest files which can be replicated and reused easily. By enforcing guardrails, yet another fundamental aspect of security is taken care of. .

  • Flexibility and Cost Optimization

Automated infrastructure provisioning accelerates software development as users don’t need to configure an environment every time they want to develop, test, or deploy software.

Resources can be allocated based on performance needs - larger and high performance resources for production environments, smaller and medium/low performance resources for non-production environments. This results in significant cost savings, increased flexibility, and productivity.

  • Increase in speed of deployment

With cloud computing, infrastructure management has moved away from physical data centers to virtualization, containers, etc. The number of infrastructure components has also grown with more applications being released to production on a daily basis, and infrastructure being scaled up or down frequently. With an IaC practice in place, infrastructure provisioning is automated which reduces errors in configuration and increases the speed at which development, production and test environments are deployed.

However, implementing or acquiring the IaC methodology is not an easy task and has quite a few challenges:

  • First, IAC demands code writing expertise because it is important to have reusable code which can fit into multiple environments with conditions, variables and dependency management for effective usage. For example, having separate templates for prod and non-prod environments is not ideal and it would make management complex. 
  • Second, security and compliance standards of a well-architected environment keep on changing. So the IaC templates should be able to align with the new security requirements and actively update the environment.
  • Thirdly, there should be visibility and control over the infrastructure to make sure all the updates are well monitored, in addition to tracking the usage and cost of provisioning infrastructure.
  • Finally, proper documentation on the use of IaC templates is important to make them more effective.

As a Well-Architected Partner, Ibexlabs can address these challenges with the IbexCatalog.

IbexCatalog is a suite of custom-built AWS Service Catalog products for network, compute, storage, and databases to deliver well-architected cloud environments through Infrastructure as Code. We follow cloud security best practices to build secure environments that can help you achieve compliance with industry standards such as HIPAA, HiTRUST, NIST, and PCI. The products are constantly updated so that you are up to speed with security and compliance regulations. Get in touch with us to learn more about IbexCatalog and how we can help you scale your business with a well-architected cloud infrastructure.

Santosh Peddada

Santosh Peddada is a Solution Architect with Ibexlabs. He has been in the IT industry for around 7 years, holding positions from Devops Engineer to Solution Architect. For the past two years, he has been an integral part of the design and development of AWS architecture for clients. He has served as the product owner for the Ibex Catalog, and provided solutions for a number of different industries.

Talk to an Ibexlabs Cloud Advisor