Infrastructure as Code: The Foundation for ‘Environment as a Service’
Infrastructure as Code (IAC) is seen by some as the ultimate expression of the IT work environment. After all, once the entire stack can be created in software, the enterprise has an unlimited ability to create, expand, and tear down dev, test, production, and any other environment it chooses.
This may be true, but it is not the final step in the process of transforming IT from a rigid collection of integrated hardware/software platforms to a fully digitized entity. For that, we need one more thing: the utilization of IAC to create an ‘Environment as a Service’ (EaaS).
Even as a software entity, infrastructure is complex and difficult to manage, and does not guarantee that the enterprise will achieve the optimum environment for its business model. Accomplishing this level of functionality requires careful orchestration between virtualized server, storage, networking, and other elements, which will most likely be distributed across multi-cloud architectures. At the same time, it helps to have reusable environment blueprints that can be used across multiple applications and development pipelines to avoid reinventing the wheel every time a new project is launched.
Cloudify’s EaaS provides both the orchestration and repeatability to take the pain out of IAC, making the creation, manipulation, and disposal of complex data environments practically effortless.
While there are many efforts underway to establish EaaS in mainstream enterprise markets, Cloudify is the only service that decouples the core elements of a working EaaS model and recombines them under a simplified management ecosystem. The key to this approach is the ability to eliminate the environment duplication that exists in many development and operations pipelines in favor of reusable environments that can be applied across multiple application environments.
Environment duplication is one of the biggest bottlenecks the enterprise encounters when trying to establish the continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) workflows necessary for a DevOps-style operating model – and it becomes even more serious once this model is pushed onto a multi-cloud architecture. Today’s discrete automation tools focus on different parts of the IT stack, an approach which results in inconsistent performance, siloed operations, and duplication of effort. As each DevOps pipeline becomes dependent on a specific data environment that must be recreated over and over again with each new project, workflows become hampered by slow and frustrating manual processes when updating or scaling environments across multiple clouds.
Cloudify removes these pain points to produce a fully automated, fully orchestrated data ecosystem that can be repeated across multiple pipelines while also maintaining full customization for any unique requirements that should arise in the evolution of the application or service. To date, Cloudify’s multi-cloud orchestration environment has delivered:
- A 12x increase in the time it takes to create, update, and scale application environments
- A vastly simplified migration process for moving workloads across hybrid clouds
- End-to-end automation of the entire IT stack including infrastructure, networking, public and private clouds, virtual machines, and the Kubernetes container management environment
- Complete integration of existing management tools including Ansible, Terraform, Cloud Formation, Azure ARM, and others
- Acute site and environment matching based on user intent and policies
- Elimination of human error when securing environments for compliance
- Full lifecycle management, from complex configurations and deployments to day-2 automation
Under an EaaS architecture, the enterprise has the ability to push any workload to any cloud, easily creating the optimal data environment for any desired outcome. Not only does this allow digital organizations to tap new revenue streams and new markets at record speeds, it also streamlines workflows and reduces overall resource consumption, allowing businesses to literally do more with less, and at far less cost than is possible with today’s rigid infrastructure.
Better Visibility and Security
With this increased agility, organizations can simplify their current, overly complex, management processes and environments while gaining complete visibility and control over workloads, tenants, and users. At the same time, network security can be significantly enhanced and customized to enable a consistent protection across all sites and clouds while also building resilience against attacks by increasing the speed at which workloads can be shifted away from compromised systems and architectures.
And because the full IT stack is now provided as a service rather than a collection of fixed hardware and software resources, the enterprise sees a dramatic reduction in capital expenses by building internal private clouds on low-cost commodity hardware, rather than the high-priced integrated solutions of traditional IT vendors. Meanwhile, the vast majority of infrastructure costs can be shifted to the much-more-manageable operating budget where resource consumption can be adjusted to workload demands on the fly. This means the days of overprovisioning are over, and IT will no longer have to maintain idle resources in case workloads spike. With the proper visibility and automation, resources are added or dropped in precise correlation to data requirements, meaning the enterprise spends only what it has to in order to provide the optimal user experience.
With Infrastructure as Code acting as the foundation for EaaS, today’s enterprise will be able to transform itself into the digital entity needed to compete in the next-generation services economy. Replicating infrastructure in software is an important first step, but what you do with that technology will make all the difference for your future success.