Automation of Infrastructure

Automation of Infrastructure

Automation of Infrastructure, also known as Infrastructure as Code (IaC), is the process of managing and provisioning computer data centers through machine-readable definition files, rather than physical hardware configuration or interactive configuration tools. The IT infrastructure meant by this comprises both physical equipment such as bare-metal servers as well as virtual machines and associated configuration resources. The definitions may be in a version control system. It can use either scripts or declarative definitions, rather than manual processes, but the term is more often used to promote declarative approaches.

Automation of Infrastructure
Automation of Infrastructure

Infrastructure as code approaches are promoted for cloud computing, which is sometimes marketed as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). IaC supports IaaS, but should not be confused with it.

There are many tools that fulfill infrastructure automation capabilities and utilize Infrastructure as Code. Broadly speaking, any framework, or tool that performs changes or configures infrastructure declaratively or imperatively based on a programmatic approach can be considered IaC.

Notable tools include:


Terraform is an infrastructure as code software by HashiCorp. It allows users to define a datacenter infrastructure in a high-level configuration language, from which it can create an execution plan to build the infrastructure in a service provider such as AWS.

Terraform Logo
CloudFormation Logo


AWS CloudFormation gives developers and systems administrators an easy way to create and manage a collection of related AWS resources, provisioning and updating them in an orderly and predictable fashion.


Chef is both the name of a company and the name of a configuration management tool written in Ruby and Erlang. It uses a pure-Ruby, domain-specific language (DSL) for writing system configuration "recipes". Chef is used to streamline the task of configuring and maintaining a company's servers, and can integrate with cloud-based platforms such as AWS or GCP to automatically provision and configure new machines.

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Ansible Logo


Ansible is an open-source automation engine that automates software provisioning, configuration management, and application deployment.


Salt (sometimes referred to as the SaltStack Platform) is a Python-based open-source configuration management software and remote execution engine. Supporting the "Infrastructure as Code" approach to deployment and cloud management, it competes primarily with Puppet, Chef, and Ansible.

SaltStack Logo

Infrastructure as code can be a key attribute of enabling best practices in DevOps – Developers become more involved in defining configuration and operation teams get involved earlier in the development process. Tools that utilize IaC bring visibility to the state and configuration of servers and ultimately provide the visibility to users within the enterprise, aiming to bring teams together to maximize their efforts. Automation in general aims to take the confusion and error-prone aspect of manual processes and make it more efficient, and productive. Allowing for better software and applications to be created with flexibility, less downtime, and an overall cost effective way for the company. IaC is intended to reduce the complexity that kills efficiency out of manual configuration. Automation and collaboration are considered central points in DevOps; Infrastructure automation tools are often included as components of a DevOps toolchain.

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