cloud patterns: baking VMs with Packer

When managing a cloud infrastructure there are foundational components that pretty much all your VMs will need. For those foundational components instead of installing them at run time as the VM is starting you should use Packer to just put them into a VM image once. This is a good practice in general because if done right it will reduce startup time and lead to a more efficient and consistent fleet for your cloud infrastructure. Continue reading

continuous integration for infrastructure

If you are using the cloud for you infrastructure then you need to version it the same way you version your code and deployment artifacts. Lately, I’ve been using packer to generate AMIs and I couldn’t be happier with how things are working out. I now have a consistent environment whenever I want to experiment with something and when I discover something worthwhile that I think should be a basic functionality of all environments I need then I check that into the repository that contains the packer templates and regenerate all the AMIs. This means I can go back to any point in time and spin up an environment exactly as it existed at that time. Infrastructure is no longer something special. It is now just another artifact in a software development pipeline and you should treat it that way.