You have a vision: you want the development of your infrastructure to be as scalable and agile as the development of your applications. Infrastructure as code will help you achieve that goal. So you’ve found the right tool – Terraform – but is your organization ready for the transformation? We’ll show you the four cultural and organizational elements you need to successfully adopt infrastructure as code.
It goes without saying that to build the foundation for a successful infrastructure as code practice you need the right tool. But do you know how to use that tool properly? And have you thought about how that tool will sit in your IT ecosystem? Which clouds do you want to support with that tool? The answers to these questions will bring you up to speed. However, they won’t make a long-lasting difference until you look at the impact of infrastructure as code on your team and culture.
A shared vision – supported by leadership
Just implementing a potentially successful tool won’t help if you don’t have a vision. You need to know what you’re actually looking to achieve in order to know what tool suits your organization best. Of course, sometimes you just want to jump on the bandwagon. You’ve thought about DevOps and you’ve heard that infrastructure as code is a great first step to embracing this philosophy. But what do you want to achieve?
Or perhaps you’ve got a clear vision of what you want, but have you shared that vision with the rest of the organization? You need a vision that is supported by leadership, so you can have a top-down approach, inspire teams, including the necessary operation engineers, to dive into all things ‘code’ and have all the resources in place to make the transition. Once you’ve got everyone working towards the same goal, it’s time to look at how you can create the right culture.
A testing culture
The right culture is the translation of the infrastructure as code philosophy for your organization. The right culture is built up from different elements. Such as having a testing culture. Testing is a fundamental step for application developers: in order to know what to build and to check whether the feature actually does what it’s supposed to do, they’ll write tests and execute them before the application goes live.
Infrastructure as code is no different from application development: it should do something and once you’ve coded a certain automation, it should do what it was designed for. Makes sense, right? Well, that means you need to think about testing before you code your infrastructure, so you can checkmark your way through your day. It’s oddly satisfying of course, but it’s also a matter of hygiene.
A versioning culture
Since the development of your infrastructure occurs a lot faster today than before, when you were manually building your machines, it’s vital that you know when you did what. We recommend using any type of GIT program to keep track of your versions. GIT doesn’t only help you keep track of who did what, but it also helps you revert to specific versions, just in case something major goes wrong.
A culture of collaboration
What GIT version management also supports is collaboration: code is shared and can be worked on simultaneously. And since all parts of the infrastructure are built and managed with the same code, work can actually be shared or transferred. Which is also great if your engineer decides to leave the company or becomes ill. With GIT, new staff can easily see how the structure is built, what changes were made, and make any corrections.
Of course, change is always difficult. If you’ve been working a certain way for a long time, it’s often hard to see the value in anything else. However, you also need a more agile way of managing your infrastructure and easily scaling up or sizing down any cloud in order to support your business. See it like this: when you’re building the playground, make sure it’s safe and big enough for all the kids to play in. That’s a big deal, because your role saves lives. Bearing this piece of wisdom in mind might make stepping into the unknown a little easier.
And don’t forget – we can help you with just this challenge: how to prepare your organization for the infrastructure as code revolution with Terraform. We offer a Terraform training, tailor-made for your organization. In other words: it doesn’t matter how far you are on your infrastructure as code journey, we’re here to help.