The idea of managing your operations environment in the same manner you manage apps or other code for broad release is known as infrastructure as code, as the name suggests. The operations infrastructure is managed using the same guidelines and constraints that control code development, especially when new server instances are spun up. This avoids the need for manual configuration changes or one-off scripts.
This implies that the underlying code that controls the development and administration of your infrastructure is subjected to the fundamental best practices of DevOps, such as version control, automated testing, and continuous monitoring. To put it another way, your infrastructure is handled in the same manner as any other piece of code.
IaC strategies that are declarative versus imperative
IaC can be approached in one of two ways: declaratively or imperatively. An IaC tool will set up the system for you after a declarative approach outlines the desired state of the system, including the resources you require and any properties they should have. Additionally, a declarative approach maintains a record of the status of your system objects, which makes managing the infrastructure shutdown easier.
Instead, an imperative method specifies the precise commands that must be executed in the right order in order to produce the intended configuration. The needed infrastructure will be automatically provisioned by many IaC solutions, which adopt a declarative approach. A declarative IaC tool will apply changes you make to the intended state for you. You must determine how to implement those changes in order to use an imperative tool. IaC tools can frequently operate in both modes, but they frequently favor one over the other.
Infrastructure as Code:
Speed is the first major advantage that IaC offers. By executing a script, infrastructure as code enables you to swiftly build up your entire infrastructure. That is possible for all environments, including development, production, staging, QA, and more. IaC can increase the effectiveness of the entire software development lifecycle.
Errors occur as a result of manual processes. All people have faults. Our memories are flawed. We struggle with communication and are generally not very good at it. No matter how hard you try, manual infrastructure management will still lead to errors. By making the configuration files themselves the exclusive source of truth, IaC addresses this issue. By doing this, you can ensure that the same settings will be deployed consistently throughout time.
This one is simple and quick. IaC configuration files can be versioned just like any other source code file, giving you complete traceability of the changes that each configuration underwent. Stop trying to figure out who did what when.
How Does IaC Function?
Although the specifics of how IaC tools operate can vary, we can roughly classify them into two groups: those that use the declarative method and those that use the imperative approach. You are absolutely correct if you believe that the aforementioned categories have anything to do with programming language paradigms.
Using an imperative strategy “gives orders.” It specifies a series of orders or instructions the infrastructure must follow to arrive at the desired outcome.
Conversely, a declarative strategy “declares” the desired result. Declarative approaches demonstrate the final outcome rather than clearly laying out the processes the infrastructure must take to get there.
Best Practices to help you maximize your laC strategy
Make code the sole authority on anything
All infrastructure requirements should be explicitly coded in configuration files. The only reliable source of information for all issues relating to infrastructure management should be your configuration files.
Your configuration files should all be version controlled
Put all of your configuration files under source control. This probably doesn’t need to be said. Use scant or no documentation for your infrastructure requirements. The logical conclusion of the first point is this one. There should be no need for further documentation because your configuration files should be your only reliable source of information. The configuration files prevent this from happening, however, external documentation might quickly become out of sync with the actual setups.
Check and keep an eye on your configurations
IaC is software, and all software can be tested. So you should test it! Before deploying your servers to production, you can check for faults and consistency issues by using testing and monitoring tools for IaC.