Many organizations are struggling with collaboration internally and this can cause problems for running systems as well as time and resources spent creating bespoke custom forks of the automation code being used. Modularity and reusable code can be used to address these challenges, while driving collaboration.
In the sixth episode of our six-episode series on scaling Infrastructure as Code (IaC), Swapnil Bhartiya sits down with Rob Hirschfeld, CEO and Co-Founder of RackN, to discuss one of the most critical aspects of today’s IT world – collaboration. Hirschfeld goes into the fundamental challenges organizations are struggling with today and how IaC and the ability to take advantage of RackN’s library of modules can help build resilient, future-proof systems and foster collaboration.
Key highlights from this video interview are:
- Collaboration is critical in building systems but is often overlooked as people get too focused on the job they need to go. However, helping people in a sequence work together is key. Hirschfeld explains what collaboration means for IaC and how RackN is helping facilitate collaboration with their IaC libraries.
- Having that development-like experience for automation is important and one of the ways RackN approaches this is with decomposition and modularity in building automation. Although it can seem like there are a lot of moving parts, it enables people to reuse subcomponents of the system and breakdown workflows into stages. Hirschfeld explains why this is so powerful.
- Modularity is pivotal to improving collaboration in automation and has been RackN’s core mission from the start. Hirschfeld discusses why modularity drives collaboration and what the consequences are of not building systems in a modular way.
- Hirschfeld feels that many organizations are not collaborating well internally. He believes that one of the key ways organizations can foster internal collaboration is with automation and reusable code. He takes us through the need for being able to distinguish between community development and internal collaboration, and how they have enabled both to coexist.
- Open source practices are fundamental when it comes to collaboration, but one of the areas that is different with operational code is having to make sure any changes you make to an automation system can be used widely across the industry. Hirschfeld explains why open source does not work for this and how vendors like RackN can help.
- Hirschfeld goes into depth about how we can foster shared development for IaC by building collaborative automation and passing it to another developer or test system as part of a validation process. He explains how this transforms the ability to collaborate and work together. He likens this movement to how CI/CD systems have changed the way developers ship code.
- Sometimes organizations have a need to customize things based on their own needs. Hirschfeld discusses how RackN has addressed this by enabling individual code modules to move state. He feels that even though building collaborative IaC means you need to have a bigger perspective, you also need to recognise that the next person to use the code may have different needs.
- Hirschfeld explains the impact collaboration has on Day 2 from the perspective of IaC. He believes that it is not just about enabling teams to work across the organization or taking advantage of the library of modules RackN has built but rather building a future for the team. He discusses the ways IaC helps future-proof systems.
The summary of the show is written by Emily Nicholls.