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Deploying Infrastructure as Code (IaC) on Google Cloud

Sridhar Bhaskarla,

Vice President,
Technology (Delivery Leadership)

Published: March 25, 2024

Using Infrastructure as Code (IaC) as the de facto approach on Google Cloud can unleash a consistent wave of productivity across an enterprise. Cloud transformation is poised to gain unprecedented momentum in 2024 and beyond. This momentum may cause uncertainty, especially during the initial phase of implementation.

Along with finalizing the roadmap and strategy, teams face several decisions regarding the selection of the right cloud and the right tools. Important factors include total cost of ownership (TCO) calculations; optimization of the target state architecture with best practices; application mapping and grouping; migration wave planning; the creation of landing zones; and alignment with security and compliance standards. Businesses will also help teams and departments become comfortable with the new operating model.

At the same time, speed matters: The timeline for strategy execution determines the time to market and the realization of faster outcomes from cloud adoption.

In this landscape, Infrastructure as Code (IaC) emerges as a critical methodology, and Virtusa has honed IaC best practices for more than a decade. Offering agility and flexibility, IaC empowers organizations to swiftly provision and adapt infrastructure to changing business needs, fostering a competitive edge in rapidly evolving markets. IaC also drives cost efficiency by optimizing resource usage and automating cost-saving measures: essential steps in navigating budget constraints. By leveraging a suite of IaC tools offered by Google Cloud, including Deployment Manager and Config Controller, and using third-party tools like Terraform, Chef, Puppet, and Ansible, enterprises can seamlessly implement IaC in the robust environment of Google Cloud.

Challenges in adopting IaC

Learning curve: Transitioning to IaC can be a challenge, especially for teams accustomed to manual infrastructure management. Embracing the process may require teams to cultivate new skills and a new mindset. Comprehensive training programs and mentorship programs can facilitate this transition.

Code complexity: Because infrastructure components are expressed as code, it is important to maintain a clean and modular codebase with version control or source code management. Teams are enabled to take the standards they use for application coding and apply them to the release management process. 

Adoption resistance: Some team members may resist shifting from traditional infrastructure management to IaC. Fostering a culture that promotes collaboration, continuous learning, and experimentation is key to helping teams leave their comfort zones. When teams feel a sense of ownership and involvement, they will be quicker to adopt new strategies.

Benefits of using IaC as a standard approach

By understanding and skirting potential pitfalls, enterprises can drastically improve the speed and effectiveness of the IaC journey. With IaC on Google Cloud, businesses can quickly realize significant benefits, including the following.

  • Automation and consistency: IaC enables the automation of infrastructure provisioning, thus reducing manual errors and ensuring consistent deployments. This consistency is important for the creation of reproducible development, testing, and production environments.
  • Scalability: Google Cloud's elasticity allows infrastructure to scale dynamically based on demand. IaC can be leveraged to programmatically scale resources, automatically ensuring optimal performance without manual intervention.
  • Version control of Google Cloud configuration: Infrastructure configurations stored as code in version-controlled repositories facilitate collaboration. Changes are tracked, and rollbacks can be executed if issues arise, providing a reliable version history.
  • Cost optimization: IaC allows for precise control over resources. When this control is combined with IaC automation, teams can optimize costs by provisioning and de-provisioning resources programmatically as needed. Google Cloud's cost management tools complement this aspect, providing insights for further optimization.

The importance of an Engineering First approach

Collaborating with an engineering-led partner like Virtusa brings additional advantages to adopting IaC on Google Cloud. With our team of experts, Virtusa can help bootstrap your IaC journey, maturation, and transition, and our knowledge is intertwined with our experience in navigating potential pitfalls and challenges. Virtusa's de facto approach is to build an IaC platform integrated with DevSecOps pipelines for seamless infrastructure and application deployment, thus accelerating the time to value for IaC initiatives and the overall cloud transformation.

Virtusa has developed several accelerators on IaC with reusable assets to reduce coding and implementation time, freeing up resources to enhance cost savings. Clients using Virtusa Pattern as Code (vPaaC), powered by Terraform Studio, can increase productivity by 30 percent. Using Virtusa’s Terraform Studio to deploy an application architecture on Google Cloud enables a scalable deployment process and can reduce configuration struggles. Virtusa offers Blueprint-as-a-Code (BPaaC) to automate infrastructure provisioning on Google Cloud, further increasing agility and productivity.

Case in point

In a recent project, Virtusa's client faced challenges migrating the data center application infrastructure, struggling with scalability, stability, and manageability. In addition, the client was in a hurry to vacate the data center and was looking for a consistent and reusable migration strategy. Application performance, infrastructure provisioning complexity, manual deployments, and longer disaster recovery (DR) provisioning timelines were also identified as roadblocks.

Virtusa helped the client deploy infrastructure provisioning for the development, stage, and production environments by building an IaC platform. Integrating the IaC platform with the application DevOps pipelines, the application stack was installed, integrated, configured, and managed seamlessly. Database migrations from the data center for Microsoft SQL Server (MSSQL), PostgreSQL, and Elasticsearch were executed with data, and application functionality was validated with underlying infrastructure managed by the IaC platform.

As a result, the client realized the following benefits:

  • Automated Google Cloud infrastructure provisioning and deployment, leading to reduced time required for new infrastructure
  • 50% reduction in disaster recovery environment setup 
  • Improved application performance and user experience 
  • Reduced infrastructure and maintenance cost
  • Enhanced and streamlined blue-green deployment solution
  • Improved availability metrics for the application

Why Virtusa?

This project was just one of many successful IaC projects. Virtusa is a Google Cloud Premier Partner with infrastructure and cloud migration specializations, offering services across the cloud journey. Employing its digital technology expertise, Virtusa helps customers drive innovation, scale, and agility by accelerating their adoption of Google Cloud through the use of industry best practices and built-in solution accelerators. With decades of experience and deep IaC expertise, Virtusa is well-equipped to help businesses accelerate cloud transformation. With IaC and Virtusa, you can get on the fast track to cloud success.

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