To stay competitive in the fast-paced, modern, digital market, enterprises are transforming their infrastructure to meet the demand for agility and automation. Everything-as-Code (EaC) is one such concept that is changing the way organizations approach their digital strategies. Essentially, EaC is a practice of describing and treating all parts of the system as code. It applies the best practices of the software development lifecycle often used for application code to security, compliance, infrastructure, and operations.
Implementing EaC means that configuration needs to be stored alongside source code in a git or svn repository, allowing teams to recreate virtual infrastructure almost instantly. With cloud-native technology taking over, complete reliance on physical configurations and installations has become obsolete as enterprises can now just migrate their architecture and infrastructure needs to virtualizations in the cloud. There are several ways to complete this transition and leverage the benefits of adopting EaC, some of which have been covered here.
Operate Your Infrastructure as Code (IaC)
Infrastructure as Code (Iac) involves defining your cloud-native infrastructure resources in readable, text-based files. Infrastructure code specifies the cloud infrastructure elements you require as well as their desired configuration. This means virtualizing your operating systems, servers, installed software packages, firewalls, routers, network paths, validation rules, down to the configurations for bare metal servers.
This infrastructure code is often written in a declarative specification such as YAML or JSON. When defined infrastructure code is deployed, automated infrastructure tools provision the architecture required to run applications or trigger modifications in existing infrastructure to match the desired state.
IaC is commonly implemented in cloud-native tools and platforms such as AWS Cloud Formation, vRealize Automation, Chef, Terraform, Docker Compose and Dockerfiles, and Azure Resource Manager, which generate templates that can be used to recreate infrastructure elements on supported cloud platforms.
Helm enables IaC in cloud-native environments by allowing you to templatize Kubernetes-native infrastructure and application resources. Helm Charts simplifies the process of defining, versioning, installing, sharing, and upgrading even complex Kubernetes applications, serving as a single point of authority from which you can repeatedly install applications and infrastructure components.
Store Everything in a Version Control System (VCS)
Version control is the process of tracking and managing changes to source code, done through Version Control Systems (VCS). Git is one such VCS that is widely used to store and manage IaC templates as a single source of truth, allowing you to quickly recreate infrastructure when needed. This enables GitOps, an approach to Kubernetes cluster management and app delivery that involves using Git as a single source of truth for declarative infrastructure.
Cloud infrastructure code stored in Git goes through the same processes of versioning, peer verification, tracking, and testing that application code goes through. This gives you critical observability into the code running in your systems and allows you to quickly debug issues, roll back faulty implementations of updates, and spot issues in code as and when it is committed to Git through a peer review process.
Adopt DevOps Best Practices
When treating everything as code, a popular template teams often follow is the CI/CD pipeline often implemented in DevOps that automates the process of testing, versioning, securing, tracing changes to, rolling out, and rolling back code. DevOps principles can offer crucial stability, quality, and agility to the EaC process while promoting collaboration among teams and adding a layer of peer reviews to spot issues before code is deployed in production.
DevOps teams often use modular, cloud-native, container-based systems that support immutable infrastructure paradigms. Immutability ensures consistent infrastructure across development, test, and production environments, facilitates automation and remediation, and enables auto-scaling.
Automate Security and Compliance
Converting security and compliance processes to code involves defining policies. Policies are rules that trigger certain actions either on schedule or when a certain metric threshold is met. There are several tools that let you define security and compliance policies and automate their implementation.
Service Mesh Network Security
Istio is a popular service mesh networking tool that implements powerful network security features to defend your microservices running in Kubernetes against attack. Istio provides encryption, authentication, and role-based access between services. It allows you to define custom policies for authorization, rate limiting, header rewrites and redirects, and restricted access based on whitelists, blacklists, and denials.
Supply Chain Security
Piecing together cloud-native tools and platforms from several different vendors can result in inconsistent security measures across resources. Tools like Microsoft Defender for Cloud can help you tailor security policies to implement a unified security posture across workloads, tools, and platforms. Defender for Cloud scans for new resources being deployed and flags resources that are not configured according to security best practices. It then offers recommendations for you to reduce the attack vectors in your cloud environments.
Flagger and Spinnaker are tools that you can leverage to define and automate secure deployments. Flagger automates canary deployments to apps running in Kubernetes by gradually shifting traffic to new software versions and assessing performance and risk at each stage. Spinnaker is a multi-cloud continuous delivery platform that automates deployments. It implements integrations and systems tests while monitoring rollouts to ensure that they meet quality standards.
An EaC approach offers several benefits, including, but not limited to, your infrastructure and applications becoming secure, version controlled, modular, auto-scalable, consistent, resilient, maintainable, and immutable. It offers greater transparency and visibility into all the resources and processes running in your cloud-native systems while also promoting automation and autonomy across development, operations, security, compliance, and infrastructure teams.
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