In our second Meetup, we delved into the world of GitOps and the significance of embracing Infrastructure as Code.
We had the privilege of gaining valuable insights into the practical implementation of Infrastructure as Code through a presentation titled "How Joblift Masters Infrastructure as Code." Timo Zingel, an experienced Platform Engineer at Joblift since 2016, was our guest speaker for the evening. Joblift, a non-academic job platform based in Hamburg, provided us with real-world examples and best practices.

His domain of expertise is Google Cloud Platform with Kubernetes and microservices architecture. At Joblift, they go by the X as Code - paradigm, a term for converting something traditionally manual and time-consuming into code, to make it easier to create, maintain, and deploy.

Keys of X as Code

  • Define as Code instead of creating it manually
  • Can easily reproduced & scaled
  • It’s usable by everyone
  • It’s self-documenting
Timo Zingel talking about GitOps

Moreso Timo gave the audience a little introduction about what GitOps is. It's the combination of Infrastructure as Code, Merge Requests and Continuous-Integration/Continuous-Delivery.

What are the benefits of Infrastructure as Code?

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is a powerful approach that simplifies infrastructure management by using machine-readable configuration files or scripts. Treating infrastructure as software enables organizations to automate provisioning, ensure consistency, and improve collaboration.

  1. Speed and Agility: IaC automates infrastructure provisioning, enabling rapid deployment and reducing manual effort. This agility allows organizations to respond quickly to changing needs.
  2. Consistency and Reproducibility: IaC ensures consistent configurations across environments, making it easier to reproduce setups reliably. Version control and code-based deployments enhance reproducibility.
  3. Scalability and Flexibility: IaC facilitates easy scaling of resources, optimizing utilization and adapting to varying workloads without manual intervention.
  4. Collaboration and Documentation: Infrastructure code is human-readable and serves as documentation. It promotes teamwork and reduces dependencies on individuals.

Practical Applications of IaC

  1. Cloud Infrastructure Management: IaC tools like AWS CloudFormation, Azure Resource Manager, and Terraform automate provisioning and management of cloud resources, ensuring consistency and scalability.
  2. Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD): Incorporating infrastructure code into CI/CD pipelines enables automated deployment of infrastructure changes alongside application code.
  3. Disaster Recovery and Testing: IaC simplifies disaster recovery setups and allows for easy replication of production environments for testing, improving system resilience.

How do we do Infrastructure at Orbit?

The second speaker of the night was Christian Geisler – Senior Solution Architect at Orbit, who spoke about how we do Infrastructure at Orbit.

At Orbit a common case is to build a MVP (Minimal Viable Product), which has different requirements then already scaled products in an existing system. Therefore we aim for the sweet spot between standardized project setup and scalability. In order to increase the velocity of developing the initial infrastructure, we use Terraform modules as blueprints, which provide an abstraction on the Cloud Provider.

Some of the terraform modules, which are the building blocks of our application infrastructure (incompleted list of terraform modules)

One of the ongoing tasks is the support of multiple cloud providers and to create new modules due to new requirements.

Orbit’s business building requires that we can set up flexible and scalable infrastructure quickly.
Christian Geisler talking about the infrastructure at Orbit

Overall Takeaway

Infrastructure as Code revolutionizes infrastructure management by automating provisioning, ensuring consistency, and enhancing collaboration. Whether managing cloud infrastructure or implementing CI/CD pipelines, embracing Infrastructure as Code simplifies and streamlines infrastructure operations.

At Joblift it was possible to rebuild the infrastructure from the ground as IaC, which was possible due to the company size at the time. At a bigger-scale company it may not be possible to do so.

At Orbit we need to deploy our digital products into various private and public clouds. When we need to target a new cloud environment, we build reusable terraform modules for the needed cloud resources. This means a higher upfront cost but we become faster in the long run.

The Meetup

About 25 people attended our second meetup. The atmosphere was relaxed and easy to network in. After each talk, there was always time to chat and ask questions about the presented topic.

After the talks it was time for some chats, pizza and drinks.

Networking after the talks

Are you interested and want to join us on our 3rd Meetup? The next Meetup will take place on July 5th at the Orbit office (Rödingsmarkt 20, Hamburg). It's about Personalized chatbots with AI without the loss of data protection. Find it on Meetup and join the group to not miss any future events! We are thrilled to see you there!