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What is Infrastructure as Code?

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Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is an approach to managing and provisioning computing infrastructure through machine-readable definition files, rather than through physical hardware configuration or interactive configuration tools. Managing IT infrastructure can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive job for system administrators and IT professionals responsible for manually managing and configuring all of the necessary hardware and software. Cloud computing has transformed the technology world and made infrastructure as code more necessary than ever.

By utilizing configuration files or code, IaC enables to automate the provisioning, configuration, deployment, and management of IT infrastructure. Administrators can handle most changes remotely. This approach saves system administrators time and companies money by streamlining processes, reducing manual errors, improving consistency, and enabling rapid scaling of infrastructure resources as needed.

Benefits of Infrastructure as Code

IaC offers numerous benefits for organizations:

  1. Consistency: By defining infrastructure through code, IaC ensures consistent deployment across environments, reducing configuration drift and enhancing reliability.
  2. Scalability: IaC enables automated provisioning and scaling of resources, making it easier to handle fluctuating workloads and scale infrastructure as needed.
  3. Version Control: Infrastructure code can be managed using version control systems like Git, enabling teams to track changes, collaborate effectively, and rollback changes if necessary.
  4. Reusability: Infrastructure code can be modularized and reused across projects, improving efficiency and reducing duplication of effort.
  5. Automation: IaC automates infrastructure provisioning and management tasks, reducing manual intervention and human error. This streamlines operations and accelerates deployment.
  6. Enhanced Collaboration: With infrastructure defined as code, collaboration among teams becomes seamless, fostering shared practices and accelerating development cycles.
  7. Improved Agility: IaC enables organizations to respond rapidly to changing requirements and market conditions, facilitating innovation and agility.

Popular Infrastructure as Code Tools

Several tools facilitate the implementation of IaC principles:

  1. Terraform: An open-source tool by HashiCorp, Terraform enables infrastructure provisioning using a high-level configuration language. It supports multiple cloud providers and data center environments.
  2. AWS CloudFormation: AWS CloudFormation automates resource provisioning on AWS using JSON or YAML templates. It simplifies infrastructure management and ensures consistency.
  3. Azure Resource Manager (ARM) Templates: ARM Templates allow declarative provisioning of Azure resources using JSON. They streamline Azure infrastructure management and deployment.
  4. Google Cloud Deployment Manager: Google Cloud Deployment Manager automates resource provisioning on Google Cloud using YAML or Jinja2 templates. It simplifies infrastructure management tasks.
  5. Puppet: Puppet automates infrastructure configuration and management using a declarative language. It ensures consistency and scalability across diverse environments.
  6. Ansible: Ansible automates software provisioning, configuration management, and application deployment using human-readable YAML files. It simplifies infrastructure automation tasks.
  7. Chef: Chef automates infrastructure configuration using Chef DSL. It simplifies configuration management and ensures infrastructure consistency.

Key Concepts

Imperative Approach vs. Declarative Approaches

  • Imperative Approach: Involves specifying exact steps to provision and manage infrastructure. It’s commonly used in scripts and command-line tools.
  • Declarative Approaches: Focus on specifying the desired state of infrastructure without defining exact steps. Tools like Terraform and CloudFormation use declarative languages to achieve this.

Data Centers and Physical Hardware

  • Data Centers: Physical facilities housing computing infrastructure, including servers, networking equipment, and storage systems.
  • Physical Hardware: Refers to tangible computing resources like servers, switches, and storage devices.

Configuration Files and Source Code

  • Configuration Files: Instructions for provisioning and configuring infrastructure resources, typically written in JSON or YAML.
  • Source Code: Infrastructure configurations treated as code, managed using version control systems like Git.

Automation Tools and Command Line

Provisioning and Management

  • Provisioning of Infrastructure: Allocating and configuring resources to support applications and services.
  • Management Systems: Tools and frameworks for overseeing and controlling infrastructure configurations and deployments.

Cloud Computing and Manual Processes

  • Cloud Computing: Delivery of computing services over the internet, enabling on-demand access to resources.
  • Manual Processes: Labor-intensive, error-prone tasks of manually configuring and managing infrastructure.

Applications, Services, and Software Developers

  • Applications and Services: Depend on underlying infrastructure for operation, with IaC streamlining their deployment and management.
  • Software Developers: Utilize IaC to automate infrastructure tasks, focusing on building and delivering applications.


Infrastructure as Code (IaC) transforms the way organizations manage and provision computing infrastructure. By treating infrastructure configurations as code and leveraging automation tools, IT teams can achieve greater consistency, scalability, and efficiency in their operations.