The IT infrastructure is on the run to scale data centers trying to achieve elastic dependencies on the data servers. Scaling not only in the terms of size magnitude but also on upgradation of the existing servers has never been a easy job. Paving a way to nextgen technology, the servers are now being set up as Immutable Infrastructures. Yes! You read that right.
Times have gone where you need to provision a whole bunch of implications of server patching and upgrade on a running system. Rather you simply replace the server as it’s now time for the disposable Servers. These Immutable infrastructures uses a programming concept of immutability which marks the change or can be precisely stated as a shift in normal approach that has been in practice for a long time.
Whenever there is a need to modify a server, we just need to have the existing servers image which has to be cloned to the new server which will replace the older one. This process can be performed by number of tools available in the market like the Ansible, Puppet, Terraform etc. They operate on the abstraction where the deployment of infrastructure resources take place.
Having understood about the basics, the next question that might have already popped up in your mind is:
In what machines can this immutable infrastructure be deployed?
Containers are believed to be the best choice as it enables isolated replacement.
Best choice but of course not being an mandatory requirement, the infrastructure of immutability can be deployed on the Virtual Machines also.
To know the difference between the Containers and the Virtual Machines, you can have a look at my previous blog Analogy of the Containers and the Virtual machines.
Reasons to choose Immutable Infrastructure
Here are a few highlight as to why choose Immutable Infrastructure over the Mutable Infrastructure more popularly known as the Traditional Infrastructure.
Managing the Configuration Rove: The ability of the immutable infrastructure to eliminate the drift in the provisioning of the infrastructure configuration is a huge advantage. You know when the update is needed and you replace it, rather can patching up the upgrades which results in completely modifying the actual state of the server while it was set up.
Blunt the Threat: The servers are going to be replaced every time a upgrade is required. Thus the newly installed machine is always prone to lesser attacks than the already in use running systems.
Recreating the deep-rooted Shades of the existing Environment: The existing server upgrade will work by implementing the update on a test server, checking if everything works seamlessly, continuous check on the maintenance window, make services offline, apply the patch to production environment and then bring the server back to online.
By eliminating all these steps, the immutable infrastructure simply recreates the shades of the older server from its ashes ie; The image of the Containers or VMs and makes it possible to handle complex orchestration.
Reliable reversing: In immutable infrastructure deployment, the older system still exists even if it is not running. If at all some issues occur during the new server installation, you can still get your system up and running as the rollbacks of services are way more simpler.
The immutable infrastructure is a complete package for efficient and reliable Infrastructure scaling. Though it is not suitable for all types of servers, like the servers having session login and the system environment without the prerequisites for the immutable infrastructure, still holds multiple advantages over the traditional infrastructure. As more and more organizations are moving towards containerization, the immutable infrastructure can be expected to mark its benchmarks anytime soon.