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Infrastructure as Code in Government

Anna Shipman (Government Digital Service)
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(4.29, 7 ratings)
Slides:   1-ODP 

As the UK Government, we need our infrastructure suppliers to be assured to a certain level, and for some time the only IaaS suppliers that met our requirements were all based on VMware vCloud Director. As fans of infrastructure as code, we wanted some re-usable, reliable tools to automate provisioning. But there weren’t any. So we built some.

Since December, I’ve been leading a team that started with various hacked-together scripts with hard-coded values, and ended with a suite of Open Source tools, which can be found here.

I will talk about how we achieved this, particularly covering what decisions/trade-offs we made, what issues we’ve had using the vCloud API, how we accommodated a number of internal customers with different requirements and time pressures, and how we moved the tools from an internal project to Open Source Software. I anticipate it being a technical talk that also covers the team aspects of this kind of project, as well as the constraints imposed by working in a traditional, security-conscious, high profile environment.

Attendees of this talk should come away with:

  • An appreciation of some of the signs that show you are ready to move from a hacked-together script to a more mature product
  • An understanding of what we did to make this move
  • Learning about some of the technical challenges that involved
  • Some tips on how to bend enterprise software to your will
  • A belief that you can do modern infrastructure engineering in a traditional environment!
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Anna Shipman

Government Digital Service

Anna Shipman is Lead Infrastructure Developer at the Government Digital Service. She does development and web operations engineering for the GOV.UK website. At the moment she uses Puppet, Ruby, Python, Perl and other web technologies, although in the not-too-distant past she worked mainly in Java and the JEE stack.

She has previously spoken on topics as diverse as data visualization in JavaScript, why agile might not be the best solution, and her leaky roof.

She blogs here and is always up for a game of pool.