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This is a comprehensive guide of how to design, configure, and implement a Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery pipeline for your infrastructure code. This guide will walk you through the steps to set up a secure CI/CD pipeline for your favorite infrastructure as code tools (e.g., Terraform) using your favorite CI/CD platform (e.g., Jenkins, Circle, GitLab, etc).
TLDR: If you follow this guide, you’ll be able to set up a pipeline that works like this:
For an extended version with audio commentary, see <https://youtu.be/iYXghJK7YdU>
What this guide will not cover
CI/CD for infrastructure code is a large topic and a single guide cannot cover everything. There are several items that this guide will not cover, including:
A pipeline for setting up new environments
This guide will focus on a CI/CD workflow for making changes to infrastructure in an environment that is already set up. In other words, the design and implementation of the pipeline covered in this guide intentionally does not solve the use case of infrastructure code for setting up an environment from scratch. Setting up new environments typically require complex deployment orders and permissions modeling that complicate the task. This makes it hard to automate in a reasonable fashion that still respects the threat model we cover here.
Automated testing and feature toggling strategies for infrastructure code
An important factor of CI/CD pipelines is the existence of automated testing and feature toggles. Automated tests give you confidence in the code before it is deployed to production. Similarly, feature toggles allow you to partially integrate and deploy code for a feature without enabling it. By doing so, you are able to continuously integrate new developments over time. This guide will briefly introduce automated testing and feature toggles for infrastructure code, but will not do a deep dive on the subject. You can learn more about best practices for automated testing in our talk Automated testing for Terraform, Docker, Packer, Kubernetes, and More and blog post Agility requires safety.
Feel free to read this guide from start to finish or skip around to whatever sections interest you.