Henrik Ahlberg

Henrik Ahlberg

Director Consulting Expert

Increased need for security, efficiency and cloud management drives programmable infrastructure

The use of and investment in Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tools and technologies has increased significantly in recent years. This use is mainly driven by a desire to streamline IT operations and the increasing use of hybrid and cloud infrastructure. Although the area and the technology have been around for a long time, I notice that there is an interest in understanding the benefits and navigating the possible downsides of the method. Therefore, I thought I would share my views on IaC. 

In short, Infrastructure as Code or programmable infrastructure is about managing and configuring servers, databases, and other components with code instead of physically configuring the infrastructure or using some portal or configuration tool. This approach can be used to manage both physical infrastructure and virtual or cloud-based infrastructure. 

Many benefits

The benefits of IaC are many. The most important one for most organizations is that it allows for a high degree of automation. The process can be fully repeatable since the configuration code can be saved and reused. The method also allows for the quick spinning up of new infrastructure and security parameters, saving time and manual resources. For many businesses with a high rate of digitalization, speed is often a crucial argument for IaC.

As cybersecurity threats increase in number and sophistication, infrastructure security becomes increasingly important. There is much to be gained from an IaC strategy here. Suppose you have carefully developed your configuration code and tested and evaluated it properly. In that case, you should feel confident that it holds up and that your infrastructure is set up in the most secure way possible. It will also be easier to evaluate and ensure that the code complies with the organization's security policy. Should the policy be updated, you can easily update the code and push it out to your entire infrastructure. 

It is not a strong driving force, but an insignificant advantage of IaC is that it creates uniformity. It increases control and reduces the risk of misconfiguration. The code is also a configuration documentation, making it easy to trace and follow changes made. Traceability is an increasingly important area where regulatory requirements are also expanding. 

A word of caution

After all the IaC benefits, it is appropriate also to highlight an important aspect that can create problems. Since IaC provides a high degree of automation by reusing code, it is essential to keep in mind that errors in the configuration then also quickly propagate through the entire infrastructure. Here, it is important to have test and verification processes in place. If we compare it with traditional programming or software development, there is a clear feedback loop where new code is quickly verified and evaluated. It is sometimes more apparent that this process is included in IaC.

IaC and the cloud

IaC and the increasing use of cloud-based infrastructure go hand in hand. IaC works well to create an efficient cloud or hybrid environment, and it is possible to include both private and public clouds. However, your IaC processes must be anchored in an overall cloud strategy from a process, management, and security perspective. 

I recommend conducting a comprehensive assessment of your business needs, requirements, and digitalization strategy going forward. This can provide valuable advice on the most appropriate architecture to achieve the organization's security requirements and accommodate future innovation and digital ambitions. 

At CGI, we have much expertise in this area. We can assist in assessing your current infrastructure, helping you integrate IaC into your cloud strategy, and assisting in implementing IaC so that you get the most out of the technology.

Do you want to know more? Contact us!

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Henrik Ahlberg

Henrik Ahlberg

Director Consulting Expert

Henrik Ahlberg has more than 25 years of experience in information technology and Managed Services. He has significant expertise in Account Management, Leadership, Business and Service Development as well as Solution advisor for Infrastructure, Public Cloud and Hybrid Cloud Solutions. Henrik likes to “challenge the ...