6 Benefits of Building on Terraform with Environment-as-Code
Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) teams and reliability functions within IT and cloud operations are becoming increasingly responsible for ensuring the reliability, scalability, and availability of their critical systems. Their responsibilities can include managing environments and infrastructure, deploying and configuring services, monitoring and responding to incidents and more.
Infrastructure as code (IaC) tools, for example Terraform, align well with these responsibilities and, taken to the next level, can benefit SRE functions in many ways. This elevation of IaC we call ‘environment-as-code’( EaC) - codifying not just infrastructure, but everything, to provide consistent, sharable and declarative management of entire environments.
Taking this Environment-as-Code approach, and building on Terraform, can deliver lots of benefits for SRE.
6 benefits of building on Terraform with environment-as-code:
1) Automation and Efficiency
Codification of ‘everything’ will enable advanced, structured, automation, eliminating manual and error-prone processes. This improves efficiency and reduces the time required for repetitive tasks, significantly reducing toil and allowing teams to focus on higher-value activities.
SRE teams can codify the ability to triangulate and integrate data from multiple tools/sources and attach advanced automation anywhere across the tech stack; this flexibility enables SRE teams to ensure that the environments can automatically recover from failures; regardless of complexity.
3) Consistency and Reproducibility
By defining environments, infrastructure, policies, runbooks, compliance and more ‘as code’, you ensure that everything is documented and can be reproduced reliably. This reduces human error and ensures consistent environments across development, testing, and production stages.
4) Scalability and Agility
Code-driven environments are highly scalable and flexible. For example, you can easily scale resources up or down by modifying the code, making it more agile and adaptable to changing business requirements. You can spin up ephemeral testing environments as required, and much more. Flexibility like this can enable rapid prototyping, testing, deployment and management of services.
Code can be modularised and reused across different projects and environments, promoting code sharing and reducing duplication of effort. It also allows for portability, as the code can be run on various platforms, cloud providers, or on-premises infrastructure.
6) Auditability and Compliance
Codification of environments provides a clear audit trail and helps ensure compliance with growing regulatory standards and best practices. It allows for easier tracking and auditing of changes, making it easier to identify potential issues or vulnerabilities.
Environment-as-code empowers SREs
Overall, by building on Terraform and taking an ‘environment-as-code’ approach empowers SRE teams to:
- manage environments efficiently
- automate repetitive tasks
- improve reliability
- increase the scalability of their systems.
This enables SRE teams can focus more on strategic initiatives and ensure the overall stability and performance of their applications.
Overcome the limitations of Terraform for SRE
Whilst Terraform excels at managing infrastructure provisioning and configuration, it is not particularly strong at automation or orchestration, particularly in complex or hybrid environments - and needs to be supplemented to deliver for SREs.