Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is increasingly becoming popular in recent years. Small and large companies are now managing and provisioning their IT infrastructure through code instead of using traditional manual processes. And this shift to IaC is occurring at a high-speed rate. But why is Infrastructure as Code important? Should a Product Manager even be interested in it? Find the answers to these questions and more below. What is Infrastructure as Code? Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is a configuration management method. This process involves describing infrastructure and its dependencies in code form, which allows for rapidly reproducing and deploying infrastructures across platforms and environments. By using IaC, engineers can review, collaborate, plan, and modify code with automation tools such as Terraform. Generally speaking, IaC helps to create an environment where consistency in deployment is achievable. With Infrastructure as Code, it is possible to deploy components once rather than multiple times across hundreds of individual servers or virtual machines. How Can Infrastructure as Code Help? Adopting Infrastructure as Code practices is a big investment. It takes a lot of time to get the hang of it based on the IaC tool being used. So, what are the benefits of investing this time? We all know the advantages of cloud computing. It allows you to increase or decrease compute resources automatically and save costs by preventing you from paying for hardware you don’t really use. Cloud computing also leaves huge security processes in the hand of the underlying cloud provider. But as beneficial as cloud computing is, it also has its not-so-good parts. One of them is its complexity. As every IT expert knows, running production-quality workloads in the cloud can be very difficult. You may not experience much difficulty if you are running only one web application on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), but it is an entirely different story when running one application, an entire database, a Kubernetes cluster, and serverless functions required to use your application. The need to run several environments makes that problem even worse. Consider your development, pre-production, and production environments. When using cloud computing, you need to provision and manage all that infrastructure. It will be hard and time-intensive to do so manually. It’s this complexity that makes IaC important. Based on the Infrastructure as Code tool you choose, you can easily describe all that infrastructure as one module in code. So, anytime you want to run another environment, you will add another instance of the particular module with the environment name. This eliminates the need to re-create the module. Another reason to have your Infrastructure as Code is because of the visibility. With IaC, the current file configuration is visible since it’s available as code and dedicated to a source code archive. Anybody who has the code will be able to see what the present configuration is. Also, pull request reviews are required before code changes are incorporated, so everyone can see the changes and why they are being made. Benefits of Infrastructure as Code that Product Managers should consider While the reasons provided above are true for cloud-native software engineers, a Product Manager may not consider those as benefits to what they’re offering – solutions to the end-users. The perks of putting in resources and time to manage Infrastructure as Code can be unclear to a person who is always considering the final users of the product, not the basic infrastructure. Now let’s discuss the advantages of Infrastructure as Code for Product Managers. 1. Reduced risk Configuring your IT infrastructure manually is risky. It is prone to errors and may need to be done by only one person. And when that person stops working for the organization, they go along with all the important knowledge. Having Infrastructure as Code reduces both of these risks because the code is always up-to-date and consistent. Additionally, managing IaC gives you better visibility into your system and makes it easier to track changes. As a result, you'll be able to resolve issues more quickly and prevent them from happening in the first place. Infrastructure as Code is saved in a code repository, where everyone on the team can check its history and changes made to it. 2. Faster product iterations Manual configuration of environments reduces how quickly a product is developed. This is very true if the product’s architecture needs to be changed to serve its end-users better. When infrastructure is available as code, environments are consistent and easily adjustable. They exist as code alongside the product, allowing us to change both simultaneously. This makes developing new features for the product simpler and quicker. 3. Cost optimization With Infrastructure as Code, you will be able to know what should be running and what shouldn’t. It makes it easier to identify and track underutilized resources. As your business grows and your needs change, you can simply adjust your IaC files accordingly. Reducing cost improves the profit margins of a product. And cost optimization is easier when you have Infrastructure as Code. 4. Self-documentation A common belief amongst software developers is that good code is easy to read and maintain. It does not usually require many instructions because what it does is clear. This means that if a new developer is onboarded, he should be able to read the code and understand the logic behind it. When infrastructure is available as code, it is self-documenting, eliminating the need for written documentation. This can be beneficial for the product, as it allows you to include more people in the team. With reproducible, self-documenting code, you can lower the time it takes to bring a new software developer into the team. The takeaway As businesses continue to move more of their operations online, the need for reliable and cost-effective infrastructure becomes increasingly important. Infrastructure as Code is one way to meet this demand. By automating the provisioning and management of infrastructure using code, businesses can reduce the time and expense associated with traditional methods. In addition, Infrastructure as Code can help to improve the reliability and scalability of infrastructure, making it more capable of supporting the ever-growing demands of modern business. As businesses strive to meet the challenges of the digital age, Infrastructure as Code is likely to play an increasingly important role in ensuring that their operations are both cost-effective and reliable. However, IaC is not a magical solution to all IT problems. It is a big investment. But when you make that investment, you begin to see the benefits almost immediately. The benefits are felt across the organization, including in the product team. Further Reading \t Employee Retention Tips for the Technology Sector \t How to Improve Employee Retention in Your Small Business (Without Spending a Lot of Money) \t How to make your Customers come back: Exploring the Customer Retention Tools?