How to Implement Infrastructure as Code (IaC) to Create a High Functioning IT Environment
In the recent analysis of Dell EMC and VMware IT Transformation Workshops, CIOs continue to prioritize initiatives to increase automation, and speed infrastructure provisioning and configuration management.
The top emerging priorities for CIO’s were the desire to achieve continuous deployment (89%) and DevOps (87%) based on anonymous customer data. To help support these priorities, many of our customers are employing what’s commonly referred to as infrastructure as code (IaC) – using software engineering and coding best-practices to define and manage the creation, configuration, and update of infrastructure resources and services.
Right about now, you are probably thinking, these workshops are another “IT transformation.” We hear all the hype, just like you do, about “this transformation and that transformation.”
Well, hopefully, through this blog, we can help make it REAL. My objective is to try to not only define what a high functioning IT organization looks like, but also how you get there.
For me, I believe that DevOps is the secret sauce that enables organizations to achieve the promise of cloud, namely speed, agility, and most importantly resiliency by providing an ecosystem that supports continuous delivery, from infrastructure, data and configuration management to business. Before we dive into why I believe DevOps is the secret sauce that makes it all happen, let’s observe that many organizations find AWS a panacea for two critical elements. First, there are no review boards, no delays, easy procurement and painless operations. Second, it is configurable by code, and its API-driven, integrated tooling and subscription model provide ease of use.
How Do You Get Your IT to Operate like a Public Cloud, in the Digital Era?
DevOps is all about the flow of work. DevOps addresses all the activities required to create valuable, working software in production. Activities like provisioning a Dev or Test environment, checking in code, patching a security vulnerability, allocating compute resources, testing a feature, or promoting changes to production are all targets for DevOps.
In many enterprises, this value-creating workflow, or value stream, is disrupted by manual processes, rework, hand-offs, etc., that impact how quickly and effectively change can be introduced into the portfolio. These impediments slow down how quickly value, that is money, market share, etc., can be actualized. DevOps is the practice and culture of continuously optimizing this flow of work. It is about driving IT performance and transforming the business of IT.
Infrastructure and Joint Development Teams
Most enterprises start with application developers. Developers are already familiar with automated build tools and agile, so it is a natural entry point. Many who start here quickly realize that the biggest impediment along the value stream, or pipeline, is the environment provisioning tasks, namely getting a VM or container and replicating that experience along the SDLC cycle. For this reason, it is my opinion that you must start with infrastructure teams and create joint development teams consisting of an infrastructure engineer, tools specialist, pipeline architect and process lead.
Together, using process, skills, tools and clearly defined metrics they can create an integrated experience for building champions and experts of tomorrow.
Infrastructure as code (IaC) provides far more than traditional automation practices. It automates full-stack deployment of infrastructure and apps; it offers source-controlled infrastructure and packages. It introduces software development practices that are applied to infrastructure build and operate procedures; infrastructure self-monitors system configurations and infrastructure self-heals to known-good state or version. But DevOps is more than just infrastructure automation. DevOps is a new way to work. The practice involves deploying the latest software engineering skills. A skills profile would include things such as agile methods and practices, development lifecycle, latest coding and dev skills, automation tooling, test-driven design and workflow engineering. This enables a new way to build platforms.
Using these DevOps best-practices you can design and implement a production-ready, continuous delivery pipeline for a target application or component that demonstrates DevOps tooling within your data center. This platform enables organizations to reduce operating costs while increasing innovation.
You will be able to apply your IT budget based on ROI and app requirements to optimize costs. It will be much easier to unify security from the data center to the cloud and device to minimize security vulnerabilities. You’ll be able to take advantage of the benefits of the different cloud models while managing cost, usage, capacity planning, performance and security across all the clouds.
The platform allows your organization to deliver new services that differentiate your business and accelerate time to market. Leveraging consistent infrastructure across clouds enables your organization to extend to any cloud. And add resources across private and public clouds to scale seamlessly and expand globally.
If you are struggling to create a high functioning IT environment in your organization, know that you can reach out and get help to make the move and ensure your success. Let us know in the comments below what has worked with you or what challenges you are struggling to resolve.