DevOps is a set of practices that combine many IT disciplines, including software development, operations, and engineering into an agile, cohesive unit to supply a better product and seamless system integration. But in reality, it doesn't always work as planned.
It’s not surprising that developers primarily work with developers, Ops engineers primarily work with Ops, and infrastructure engineers focus on their infrastructure challenges. In this sense, it’s easy to understand how these teams wind up isolated — All are territorial in their responsibilities, therefore creating a siloed environment.. Smoothly eliminating silos, with ongoing input from all views throughout development, is one of the principal functions of the shift towards DevOps.
As software development life cycles become more complex, it has gotten more difficult to track responsibilities for the outcome and it has become easier to blame other departments for bottlenecks, delayed deadlines, or weaknesses within the quality of the product. Cohesive and effective DevOps teams should be able to predict and prevent such issues. But the truth is that failures still manage to occur.
In the past, applications were manually deployed to their hosting environments. New releases incurred days or weeks of manual deployment and working weekends and overtime was not uncommon.
Later, companies started to automate that process through scripts. Often, a single script was frequently written for a collection of procedures that needed to be performed by an Ops engineer — one for configuring load balancers, another for installing dependency libraries, etc.. Modifying scripts to accommodate new requirements was tedious and time-consuming. Moreover, only a few Ops engineers would understand all of the dependencies. If a server became unavailable due to a bad deployment (misconfiguration), it could take hours before the problem was diagnosed and resolved.
These days, using Infrastructure as Code (IaC), we treat our infrastructure the same way we treat our application code. We write code that provisions and manages our infrastructure in a predictable way. That means that an application, regardless of its environment or where it’s hosted, may be spun up with a predefined list of requirements, entirely from scratch.
That same code can run in production, in staging, and on your native dev environment, guaranteeing consistent results wherever your application runs.
The advocacy for IaC has been going strong for some time by now., But with cloud adoption (especially with IaaS and PaaS), companies are looking at more efficient ways of optimizing the infrastructure-provisioning process. The cloud makes it easy to deploy and scale infrastructure quickly and in an on-demand manner, in comparison to traditional on-premise data centers.
Why IaC ?
IaC minimizes the need for dedicated server admins on a larger scale too. Instead of having multiple admins to handle specific parts of a cloud environment, everything can be managed — in an entirely automated way — by one engineer. VMs and cloud instances can be created and maintained simply with several lines of code. In addition, IaC directly helps reduce costs through automation, and it helps reduce risks by lowering the chances of errors, and enables greater speed by reducing the deployment times.
Since our infrastructure is generated from code, that also implies that you can version your infrastructure and discuss changes together with your team. Automation offers several business benefits; reducing operational expenses and downtime and minimizing the burden on engineer productivity.
An IaC setup also allows you to monitor how the application is configured. Just like you can check the performance of software, you can track various characteristics of your infrastructure setup, such as how long it takes to provision an app from start to finish. You can automate tasks based on when an event occurs, like receiving alerts if a node misbehaves, if a critical service such as Nginx goes down, or even when measuring resource allocation, such as disk space or memory usage.
IaC and Multi-cloud
IaC is great for DevOps. But it is also essential for multi-cloud deployments. A well-orchestrated IaC platform helps you abstract from vendor native tools and, using software-defined APIs, manage across different platforms using a single set of pre-defined, verified configurations.
IaC makes the difficult processes of provisioning and configuring hardware (virtual hardware), software stacks, Active Directory, security policies, and various interdependencies much faster and simpler. It has advantages over scripting because scripts are generally linear and inflexible. In the cloud, IaC is almost essential.
The Missing Pieces in the Puzzle
While we are BIG believers in IaC, we can’t ignore the fact that cloud infrastructure configurations have become increasingly complex and highly nested. It is difficult, and sometimes impossible, for humans to reliably review and test. The result? A significant risk of service failures, data loss, and compliance breaches.
Lightlytics enables DevOps to automatically predict, pre-empt, and prevent failures, downtime, and business disruptions caused by infrastructure deployment or updates by simulating all possible dependencies and impact on operations before deployment. With Lightlytics, you can deploy and run IaC with confidence, for optimized operations, better security, and less siloed processes between teams.
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