Preface

Building cloud-native applications brings forward many new concepts, challenges, and benefits. One of the most overlooked areas that organizations should be prioritizing growth in is that of Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) – often categorized under the “DevOps” concept. The public cloud, such as Microsoft Azure, offers a seemingly endless number of services that developers can utilize to build their applications. Gone are the days of requesting one or more servers from the operations team before the development team can get around to deploying their application and establishing a release interval.

Today’s cloud-native applications are made up of many services, most of which aren’t Virtual Machines, there’s many integration points, and it takes a lot of manual time and effort to deploy them all. Enter Infrastructure-as-Code. Using IaC we can codify the cloud infrastructure that make up a given workload, allowing us to adhere to standards, track versioning, and repeatedly deploy the application in other tiers (Stage, Production, etc.)

Let’s break that down… Most organizations are pointing-and-clicking their way through cloud adoption. IaC is your life raft to prevent a future where you can’t effectively manage or reproduce your cloud applications.

All the major cloud providers have their own proprietary IaC solution and syntax. Microsoft Azure has Azure Resource Manager and Bicep, AWS has Cloud Formation, and Google has Cloud Deployment Manager. Then you have open-source solutions such as HashiCorp Terraform, which is cloud agnostic and provides a single language regardless of the target environment.

Let’s look at five reasons why you can’t afford to overlook implementing IaC any longer:

Consistent, fast, and Repeatable deployments

Most organizations deploying workloads to the cloud undergo a lot of planning, design, and decisions along the way. These decisions are often lost and forgotten after the workload has been deployed and the team moves on to other priorities. By taking these decisions and drafting IaC templates, they can be reused for repeatable deployments that comply with organization requirements. You’ll also save the headache of potentially having to reevaluate the same decision points over again.

Increased efficiency in software development

In the same way that your software development lifecycle benefits from the likes of version control, CI/CD, and release management, so can your cloud infrastructure. By templatizing your cloud infrastructure, you realize all the same benefits. Utilizing the point-and-click strategy avoids all these proven concepts and leaves you open to inconsistencies and changes that are hard to track. Did we mention repeatable deployments? Deploy dev, stage, and production tiers using a single template.

Change Management

IaC brings an extra layer of protection to changes being made to your cloud workloads. Since our code resides in version control, we can propose changes, commit those changes to development, and promote the same changes programmatically across the other tiers. Changes are tracked using a version control system such as Git and can be reverted if necessary. Manually making these changes can be risky and is prone to errors between environments.

Security

Securing your cloud environments is paramount. Bring the same security controls and enforce them at the deployment stage, often referred to as policy-as-code. This allows us to check the templates being drafted, changed, and deployed programmatically and flag disallowed configurations. Example, a template deploying a storage bucket that has “public access” enabled.

Cost Savings

Templatizing your cloud workloads allows for more intelligent scaling and automation. Further, some IaC solutions produce real time cost estimates as part of the pre-deployment process. Additional cost savings can be had by reducing the amount of hours spent on repeatable manual steps.

At Prodigy Consulting, we’ve developed services to help organizations be successful with IaC. To learn more about how we partner with customers, see: https://consult-prodigy.com/azure-infrastructure-as-code-services/