Infrastructure-as-Code in 2023: What enterprises need to know

In this guest post, Tom Chisholm, principal training solutions engineer at IT automation software provider Puppet by Perforce, sets out what enterprise IT leaders need to know about Infrastructure-as-Code.

In today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape, the task of configuring and maintaining infrastructure has become increasingly complex, demanding and costly. It is now clear that traditional manual approaches are no longer sufficient to handle the scale and complexity of modern systems. The scope of infrastructure configuration and maintenance has surpassed the capabilities of any single individual within most organisations, leading to risks such as compliance or security issues, and configuration drift.

Managing large-scale infrastructure requires a more streamlined and efficient approach, which has led to the rise of Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC), enabling organisations to automate the provisioning, configuration, and management of their systems at scale, while also reducing human errors. However, IaC brings with it the need for additional skills, training, mindset and workflow changes, plus a more collaborative approach.

Collaboration is key

The traditional reliance on a single sysadmin with a bundle of scripts is no longer feasible. Instead, teams need to adopt tools that facilitate collaboration and enable multiple individuals to work together seamlessly. These tools provide version control, code review, and collaboration features, ensuring that changes to infrastructure are managed in a structured and efficient manner.

To effectively work with IaC, systems administrators and site reliability engineers must develop a mindset that aligns with developers. The collaboration between these roles and developers becomes crucial as they work together to define infrastructure requirements and implement changes.

By adopting a developer mindset, administrators and engineers can effectively use the power of code to automate infrastructure management, increase efficiency, and enhance system reliability.

Workflow shift

The adoption of IaC also demands a fundamental shift in the workflow of systems administrators, site reliability engineers, and DevOps practitioners. Code, being the central element of IaC, needs to be communicative, well-documented, and accessible to facilitate collaboration and ease of maintenance. It requires the adoption of agile development practices such as version control, continuous integration, and automated testing to ensure the reliability and efficiency of infrastructure deployments.

Given the growing significance of IaC, investing in training becomes critical. This is why it is recommended that organisations provide comprehensive training programmes to their employees, equipping them with the skills and knowledge required to effectively implement IaC and make the most of its benefits.

Career opportunities

It is also worth noting that IaC presents exciting career development opportunities for systems administrators, site reliability engineers, and other professionals in the DevOps space.

By expanding their knowledge and proficiency in IaC tools and methodologies, these individuals can enhance their skill sets and position themselves for growth within their respective fields. Proficiency in IaC demonstrates adaptability, problem-solving abilities, and the capacity to work with a diverse range of tooling, making individuals more marketable and valuable in an industry where automation and scalability are key.

And, the more skilled IaC engineers out there in the market, the better for everyone. After all, when executed well, IaC has the potential to take configuring and maintaining IT infrastructure to a new level. Organisations can no longer risk these essential areas being left as manual, siloed activities. Instead, IaC has the power to reduce effort, minimise risk, create a better working environment, and even create new career opportunities.

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Data Management