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Tutorial – What is Infrastructure as Code?

Howdy!! There’s so much network automation content out there, I’ve been feeling like there’s not much value in blogging about it. This is the first post of a of a series with some theory and lab-like tutorials plus code examples of what I believe to be the meat and bones of Infrastructure as Code(IaC).

In the last decade, the industry has been seeing a strong push to adopt software practices towards network engineering. SOME COMPANIES have been successful at that, but I don’t think that’s for everyone. Software development is hard; cost-effective software development is an especially rare beast when you are paying 300K per engineer annually. Okay, so, what?

I claim it’s way more feasible to take a shorter step and aim to implement successful DevOps practices to your networking team than it is to FULLY run your network team like a software team. Infra-as-Code comes in as an enabler for that goal.

Why Infra-as-Code(IaC)?

Infrastructure as Code can simplify and accelerate your infrastructure provisioning process, help you avoid mistakes and comply with policies, keep your environments consistent, and save your company a lot of time and money. Your engineers can be more productive on focus on higher-value tasks. And you can better serve your customers.

https://www.thorntech.com/2018/01/infrastructureascodebenefits/

If IaC isn’t something you’re doing now, maybe it’s time to start!

I’m SOLD! HOW can I get started?

I’m glad I asked! This article defines 6 best-practices to take the most out of IaC:

  1. Codify everything
  2. Document as little as possible
  3. Maintain version control
  4. Continuously test, integrate, and deploy
  5. Make your infrastructure code modular
  6. Make your infrastructure immutable (when possible)

So, this is our lab curriculum, so far:
1. Codify everything: How to use Ansible to automate network provisioning.
3. Maintain version control: Git Tutorial with Ansible
4. Continuously test, integrate and deploy: CI/CD with GitLab
4.1 Continuous test with Batfish and Robot framework

Let me know how this sounds, and if you find this post in the future but I haven’t followed up with it, please make a comment, and I’ll do my best to get it done.

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