Gartner Automation Factory

As technologists, we love to talk about Infrastructure as Code (IaC) as a technology [here’s my IaC talk]. However, focusing on the tech ignores the significant business value behind the concept.  Why should CIOs, CTOs and even CEOs demand their teams pursue IaC practices? And why IaC instead of CI/CD, Site Reliability Engineering, or DevOps?

What is the Business Value of IaC?

Infrastructure as Code was central to our designs at RackN even before we started calling it IaC.  To us IaC is a family of design principles, not just a technology.  IaC encapsulates a business perspective about the outcomes of your IT choices. And more than “cloud native” or “intent driven,” IaC provides an understanding of your company’s entire value pipeline.

Embracing IaC means being able to understand every step of the technology delivery chain and take responsibility for it in a controlled way.  That allows business to have the confidence that technology deliveries can be not just on time and budget, but consistently repeated.  It also means that security can be maintained by being able to patch and update quickly and confidently move forward.  IaC thinking puts your business on much firmer ground because your business can count on the technology teams for reliable delivery and reduced sustaining costs.

I believe that IaC will emerge as the technological equivalent of flow manufacturing.

What is IaC in a flow manufacturing context? 

IaC is a repeatable, integrated process that bridges infrastructure into an automation chain – like an assembly line for technology delivery.  It’s the equivalent of being able to understand and document your infrastructure and then repeat delivery effectively.  Good technology “manufacturing” processes are core to how a business needs to operate.  And the results of IaC adoption are significant because they create much more repeatable results. 

It’s not just about understanding and control, it’s also about being able to adapt.  IaC creates space in your systems where you can create abstraction boundaries that have choice and multi vendor freedom.  They provide the ability to change, fix and adapt your supply chains.  That creates new opportunities for your whole business to look at technology as commodities where appropriate value adds.  It also isolates companies from disruption when decoupling is possible by using automation layers like programming abstractions like encapsulation abstractions and modules.

These core IaC business values translate into tremendous advantages in the marketplace. And that’s why RackN sees IaC, not just as an important technology, but one that is transforming businesses.

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