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The End of P1 as we Know it - Immutable Infrastructure and Automation


P1's (Priority 1) mean different to different people, sleepless nights for some, lost revenues/opportunities for others, and for some triggers P1 in their personal life J.

Software systems have gradually evolved from being business support to business enabler.  During its earlier days Software systems helped enterprise to be more productive and efficient but today they have become synonym with business operation and its existence, recent Delta Airlines outage that grounded it's entire fleet is the reflection of this fact. Software uptime today functions as oxygen to the business.

With ever connecting systems, devices and global customers business always demands to be "Lights ON". The cost of downtime just increases as technology keeps on adding value to business.

According to Gartner study, the cost of downtime ranges anywhere from $140K to $540K per hour depending on the nature of the business and then there is impact on reputation and brand image that comes with it.

Hardware/software failure and human error tends to be top causes of most of the downtimes.   

With the advancement of technology and quest for ever expanding 9's things are changing. In my previous blog I wrote about the whole paradigm of Infrastructure as Code and its potentials, this blog is natural extension of one of its possibilities.

Immutable Infrastructure is the outcome of infrastructure automation and evolved application architecture where a component is always deployed rather than being updated from its previous state effectively rendering it immutable. This whole model eliminates component from any pre-existing dependency and gives you a capability to deploy the service from a clean pre-tested image; a process that could be repeated and automated to be triggered on demand in response to monitoring tools.

Immutable Infrastructure usually have these common attribute:

  • A stateless application Architecture or to be specific an Architecture whose state is isolated and redundant.

  • Automated deployment and configuration that's testable.  

In addition, Cloud and Virtualization amplifies the whole effect by providing unmatched resiliency.   

Though not a silver bullet, Immutable infrastructure along with self-healing techniques can provide stable infrastructure for critical IT operations, hence the usual P1 that one is used to sinks down to least common denominator.

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