Imagine this: you’re looking to scale your infrastructure to match your rapid business growth. Infrastructure-as-code is an excellent way of modernizing infrastructure. You know that the longer you wait to make the move to IaC, the deeper your business will sink into the quicksand of human error and, eventually, slower deployment. However, industrializing your manually-deployed infra is a daunting and resource-extensive task.
This is precisely the story our business development lead Rob Gillam hears in conversations with potential clients. We asked Rob to expand on what kind of pain points companies are dealing with and if there’s a solution.
Rob Gillam: There’s a term that’s getting more popular to describe slow cloud infrastructure deployment - ClickOps. It refers to the way you deploy cloud infrastructure through the cloud providers management interface. Historically, they are not very user-friendly and quite clunky, requiring you to search for and select multiple resources before you deploy them. Hence the term - ClickOps, since you spend all your time clicking interfaces, instead of doing your job. It's not a desirable way to deploy your cloud.
IaC, or Infrastructure as Code, is a way of managing and provisioning infrastructure through code rather than manual processes that can result in faster, more reliable, and more scalable infrastructure deployments.
RG: Organizations are starting to see the value of infrastructure-as-code and are looking for ways to migrate their existing infrastructure to IaC - fast. Lucky for them, Cycloid has just the solution.
RG: The first reaction we get when we demo Infra Import is disbelief. People are amazed at how fast and well it’s working.
Take a look and judge for yourself:
RG: Let’s take a typical use case. One of our customers is an early adopter of cloud infrastructure, with 5,000 manually deployed instances in Azure. Their team is primarily skilled in networking and isn't DevOps-oriented. They understand the value of IaC and have even tried migrating their environments but, because they have to deploy infrastructure manually every time they have a new customer, recreating it in IaC is a complex, lengthy, and error-prone process.
With Infra Import we created infra-as-code describing all the manually-deployed services including complex networking in just a few steps (and even fewer clicks).
Select your cloud provider and fill out the appropriate credentials to enable connection to the API. This will allow you to import your deployed infrastructure. Cycloid supports all major public cloud providers (AWS, GCP, and Azure) and most private cloud providers.
Select which resources you want to import from your deployed infra.
Name your blueprint and specify what catalogue repository Infra Import should use to store the created Stack. The power of Infra Import is in repeat automation supported by the Cycloid platform. Once you’ve imported your infrastructure, Infra Import will automatically create a service catalogue saving your configuration, which you can then deploy for new resources using a custom web form we call StackForms. Not only does this make things faster, but you’re also helping customers who are new to IaC to take advantage of this technology because it requires no additional skills.
Enter the name of the project you want to launch, the config repository where the project configuration will be stored, and the location of your Terraform state file.
Et voilà - 5,000 manually deployed instances are automatically recreated in IaC in a few hours!
RG: With Infra Import, the client estimates that they have saved 200 man-days migrating existing infrastructure to Terraform. All their infrastructure can now be centrally managed in Cycloid’s service catalogue and deployed by anyone with any skill level (no need to be a DevOps expert!) in our developer self-service.
In addition to automation, they never have to worry about security either. Cycloid’s governance and observability tools will allow ops to control access to the infra using our RBAC module and monitor any changes inside the platform.
RG: As more companies are considering platform engineering, they start realizing that infra-as-code is an integral piece of the puzzle and often the first step to platform success. After all, creating sophisticated automation requires your building blocks - infra - to be automated in the first place. Migrating existing infrastructure to IaC is a business imperative and I’m glad Cycloid’s Infra Import answers this very specific - but common - need because not many other solutions do.