Why Infrastructure as Code Alone Doesn't Work for Enterprise DevOps

Why Infrastructure as Code Alone Doesn't Work for Enterprise DevOps

Jeff Rezabek
January 27, 2021

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) has its place as a key tool for DevOps. We use it within our own development processes and embrace it with our customer deployments. But it has its limits, especially as organizations grow in headcount and expand globally.

As organizations scale to accelerate innovation and drive revenue, the limitations of Infrastructure as Code become apparent for developers and operations alike. These limitations are prompting the need for a scalable Infrastructure Automation solution.

This post reveals three reasons why the value of Infrastructure as Code diminishes as your DevOps team scales.

3 Reasons Why Infrastructure as Code Inhibits Mature DevOps Processes

It Requires Cloud Experts

With Infrastructure as Code, your developers are often pulled away from driving business innovation and forced to code infrastructure automation scripts. There's only one issue: they're not cloud experts.

The components required for building enterprise-level infrastructure and application environments need to be complex to support modern applications. Individuals tasked with developing the Infrastructure as Code scripts not only need to be experts in cloud computing and configuration, but they also need to understand how different tools interact to orchestrate a seamless automation sequence. And that's before factoring in the effort required to add automated security and governance controls.

This complexity results in a massive development effort to get automated development or testing environments for one job. Previously, Quali's Pascal Joly compared Terraform and CloudShell Colony by recreating a Terraform-based IaC template in CloudShell Colony, noting that what took about 200 lines of code with Terraform alone could be done in 30 lines using Colony’s Blueprints.

Now, scale that to multiple applications, jobs, and globally dispersed teams.

With CloudShell Colony, a SaaS-based platform for delivering application-based environments, your DevOps teams can use source-controlled YAMLs or a user-friendly UI to define complex environments as reusable blueprints in a catalog, so your development and testing teams can access and tear down the environments they need on demand. Blueprints within CloudShell Colony subsume Terraform and other IaC solutions, abstract the complexities, and empower a broader set of engineers to consume cloud resources without being cloud experts.

It Doesn't Support Day 2

Like all products, projects, and software, environments have a lifecycle. They each have a beginning and an end.

Infrastructure as Code tools handle day one operations like provisioning the environment, but what happens after that? While managing the lifecycle through IaC tools was manageable at a smaller scale, it's mostly manual. As teams grow, the ease of managing the environment lifecycle shrinks, and the consequences of an orphaned cloud could result in overspending or open security vulnerabilities.

As your teams grow in headcount and expand geographically, day two operations—like performance, governance, and retiring the environment—need to be factored into automating and completing the infrastructure lifecycle.

CloudShell Colony not only provides automation to allow your development and testing teams the self-service ability to set up the application environments, but as the time for the environment reservation expires or the end user no longer needs the environment, CloudShell Colony automatically tears down the environment, freeing up resources and maximizing efficiency. Additionally, Colony automatically tags environment utilization to help you tie cloud costs back to your business, so you get a true sense of the cost of an application.

It Lacks Enterprise Governance

Teams tasked with minimizing business risks, monitoring technology utilization and costs, and navigating the impact a vulnerability has on the bottom line carries the unfortunate label of being an "innovation killer."

Often, it's not that the teams responsible for this mammoth undertaking purposefully delay a developer or tester from getting the application environment that they need, but it's that the processes, tools, and knowledge required don't provide them with the necessary controls to monitor security, utilization, and costs effectively or efficiently.

These delays often result in the development and testing teams passing around cloud credentials or DIY IaC scripts to gain access to the environments they need to get their job done, leading to security vulnerabilities and cloud sprawl—creating the need for securing your environments through Infrastructure Automation.

With scalable infrastructure automation, your Dev and Test teams can benefit from access to self-service automation of application environments while your Ops teams gain visibility and control through role-based access, environment policies, audit trails, and more.

Request a demo to learn how you can scale to enterprise DevOps Using CloudShell Colony.

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Topics: DevOps, colony, "infrastructure as code", ci/cd pipeline, infrastructure automation


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