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Six reasons to consider Infrastructure as Code for your organisation

By Satish Sunker, Cloud Solutions Architect, BUI

Johannesburg, 04 Jul 2024
Infrastructure as Code is a compelling solution for businesses wanting to enhance their agility and efficiency.
Infrastructure as Code is a compelling solution for businesses wanting to enhance their agility and efficiency.

With more and more companies migrating to Azure and incorporating DevOps methodologies into their IT strategies, the efficient management of cloud infrastructure is increasingly important. Infrastructure as Code is a popular approach in this field because it paves the way for technical leaders to streamline complex IT environments and address security, governance and compliance at a core level.

What is Infrastructure as Code?

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) refers to the provisioning and managing of computing infrastructure through code rather than through manual processes. “IaC is a DevOps practice that’s all about handling your IT infrastructure, such as networks and virtual machines, the same way you handle code,” explains Satish Sunker, Cloud Solutions Architect at BUI. “It’s about taking the principles you’d normally apply to code, like versioning and testing and rolling out, and applying them to infrastructure. Essentially, it’s about leveraging code to configure and control your infrastructure deployments.”

How does IaC work? IaC involves writing templates or scripts that define your infrastructure set-up, including servers, load balancers and databases. Microsoft has a range of Azure DevOps tools to enable you to provision and manage such resources. These tools use descriptive languages to define the desired state of your infrastructure, enabling automatic modifications to match this condition.

From entertainment giants like Netflix to vehicle manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz, companies worldwide are using IaC to ensure their cloud environments are consistent, reliable and stable. “For businesses and enterprises alike, there are significant advantages to IaC,” notes Sunker. “Improvements in speed and efficiency, transparency and collaboration, reliability and resiliency, resource management, security and compliance and flexibility are the main reasons why IaC is gaining such traction,” he says.

IaC improves speed and efficiency

Automated provisioning. IaC enables rapid infrastructure deployment by automating manual processes that traditionally take hours or even days. IaC scripts and templates can provision resources in minutes, reducing the amount of time and effort required from your DevOps team.

Consistent deployments. IaC integrates seamlessly with your continuous integration and continuous deployment pipelines, allowing for consistent and repeatable deployments. This integration ensures that infrastructure changes are tested and deployed alongside your application code, reducing errors and downtime.

“When you’re managing your environments using IaC, you’re much more agile than your industry competitors who are mired down by manual processes,” says Sunker. “You have the creative freedom to experiment and test new features in sandboxes that you can set up and tear down really easily – and that gives you the space to innovate without worrying about potential downstream implications.”

IaC improves transparency and collaboration

Unified documentation. IaC ensures that your infrastructure configurations are documented in code, making them accessible and understandable to all DevOps team members. This documentation is always up to date and indicative of the current state of your infrastructure. “It functions as a living repository, and that’s necessary for modern workplaces: teams evolve, employees move around or move on and it pays to have comprehensive documentation available at your fingertips,” advises Sunker.

Version control. Using version control systems for infrastructure code reduces discrepancies, increases transparency and enhances collaboration. Your team members can keep track of changes, revert to previous versions and see a full history of modifications. “Better teamwork is a byproduct of IaC,” says Sunker. “There’s usually more alignment between your development, operations and cyber security staff because everyone works with the same infrastructure definitions. Clear communication is good for business.”

IaC improves reliability and resiliency

Error reduction. IaC ensures consistent environments across development, testing and production by minimising the human errors associated with manual configuration: automated scripts and templates reduce the likelihood of mistakes and misconfigurations. “You know that saying about having too many cooks in the kitchen? It’s a cliché, but it’s accurate. The more hands involved, the greater the risk of spoiling the proverbial broth. Or, in this case, your environments. With IaC, you can alleviate the inconsistencies that are so common when groups of people are involved in config,” says Sunker.

Disaster recovery. IaC enables reliable disaster recovery through repeatable infrastructure set-ups. In the event of a failure, infrastructure can be rebuilt automatically from code, ensuring business continuity and resiliency even in your most challenging circumstances.

IaC improves resource management

Cost optimisation. IaC allows for the detailed monitoring and optimisation of infrastructure costs. “IaC tools can provide deep, granular insights into your resource usage and help you identify areas for budget improvements and savings,” notes Sunker. “With rising technology costs squeezing operational budgets everywhere, the ability to ensure predictable expenditure is a big plus.”

Waste reduction. IaC helps in better resource allocation and management, reducing wastage. You have the ability to spin up and spin down resources in line with your business patterns and automated scaling ensures that your resources are only used when needed.

IaC improves security and compliance

Security as code. With IaC, security measures can be added to your code, ensuring compliance from the start. Automated policies and checks can also help you enforce security standards uniformly across all your infrastructure environments. “Consistency is key when it comes to security,” says Sunker. “With IaC, you can apply your firewall rules, access control settings and other protective measures in the same way across the board.”

Compliance and governance. IaC helps you maintain regulatory compliance by defining and enforcing policies through code. You can track every change, identify and rectify vulnerabilities and ensure that your infrastructure follows best practices and industry guidelines.

IaC improves scalability and flexibility

Simpler scaling. IaC makes it easier to scale your infrastructure (up or down) based on prevailing demand. You can use automated scripts to adjust your resources in real-time, ensuring optimal performance and cost efficiency.

The freedom to adapt. With IaC, you have the flexibility to adapt to changing business needs and respond to emerging technologies. And, when new tools and services become available, they can be integrated into your existing IaC frameworks with minimal disruption.

“By automating the provisioning and management of infrastructure through code, you can achieve unprecedented levels of speed, efficiency and consistency within your business or enterprise,” notes Sunker. “Ultimately, IaC can empower an organisation to scale and adapt its infrastructure easily, keep up with evolving technologies, rapidly respond to internal and market demands and maintain a competitive edge. As Azure adoption increases and, with it, the integration of DevOps methodologies, IaC will be a major factor in shaping IT infrastructure management,” he concludes.

BUI Cloud Solutions Architect Satish Sunker has more than two decades of experience in the IT industry and an extensive technical background in enterprise architecture and IaaS, PaaS and network design.

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BUI

BUI is an award-winning technology consultancy delivering cloud, security, networking and managed services to mid-market and enterprise-level customers worldwide.

Founded in 2000, BUI is a Microsoft Azure Expert MSP, a member of the Microsoft Intelligent Security Association, and a Microsoft Solutions Partner for Business Applications, Data & AI (Azure), Digital & App Innovation (Azure), Infrastructure (Azure), Modern Work, and Security.

BUI has offices in South Africa (Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, and Welkom), East Africa (Nairobi, Kenya), the United Kingdom (London, England), Ireland (Dublin), and the United States (Irvine, California).

BUI’s recent accolades include:

  • 2024 Microsoft Country Partner of the Year (South Africa)
  • 2023 Microsoft Country Partner of the Year (South Africa)
  • 2022 Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Partner of the Year
  • 2022 Microsoft Modern Work Partner of the Year
  • 2022 Microsoft Security Partner of the Year

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Editorial contacts

Alison Ekland
Global Marketing Manager, BUI
(087) 740 2400
alisone@bui.co