Introduction to Configuration as Code

Keeping track of an app's configuration settings is becoming more and more crucial in the world of code. In the past, it was necessary to deploy a whole new version of the application's code whenever one of these settings needed to be modified, even if the code itself was unchanged. However, the demand for improved configuration management emerged as teams began working on larger, more complicated projects.

Moreover, software development teams adopting the "Configuration as Code" approach have a better chance of delivering high-quality solutions quickly. You're at the right place if you want to learn about Configuration as Code. This article will delve into the details of Configuration as Code and its benefits. Let's get going!

What Do You Mean by Configuration as Code?

Configuration as Code (CaC) is a software engineering approach that enables the management of IT infrastructure and application configurations through code. Instead of manual setup and configuration through a graphical user interface or command-line interface, CAC allows the entire infrastructure to be described and versioned in code.

In CAC, configurations are written in a specific programming language or domain-specific language and stored in version control systems like Git. This enables versioning, collaboration, and review of configuration changes before they are applied. The configurations can be executed automatically, eliminating the possibility of human error and speeding up the provisioning process. The ability to version and track changes allows for better auditing, tracking, and rollback.

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) vs. Configuration as Code (CaC)

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and Configuration as Code (CaC) are similar but distinct approaches to managing the configuration and deployment of IT systems. IaC is managing and provisioning infrastructure through code rather than manual processes. This requires using templates or scripts to define and deploy infrastructure resources, such as virtual machines, networks, and storage. The goal of IaC is to automate the deployment and management of IT infrastructure, making it faster, more consistent, and less prone to errors.

CaC, on the other hand, is the practice of managing configuration files and settings as code. The goal of CaC is to version control and automate the configuration and deployment of applications, middleware, and systems. This includes using scripts and templates to define and deploy configuration files and settings. By managing configuration as code, organizations can ensure that their systems are consistently configured and deployed, reducing the risk of configuration drift and increasing the speed of deployments.

In summary, IaC and CaC are both methods for automating and managing the deployment and configuration of IT systems. IaC focuses on infrastructure resources, while CaC focuses on configuration files and settings. Both approaches aim to increase the speed and consistency of deployments, reduce errors, and improve the overall management of IT systems.

Use Cases of Configuration as Code

Configuration as Code (CaC) is a technique for managing configuration files and settings in a code-based manner, with several use cases in IT systems management. Some common use cases of CaC include:

  • Cloud Infrastructure Management: Configuration as Code can be used to manage cloud infrastructure, such as virtual machines, storage, and networking. Configuration scripts and templates can deploy and configure cloud resources, making managing and maintaining cloud infrastructure easier.
  • Continuous Integration and Deployment (CI/CD): It is used in CI/CD pipelines to automate the deployment and configuration of applications and systems. Configuration files and settings can be managed in a version control system, making it easier to track changes and deploy updates.
  • Infrastructure Automation: It allows you to automate the deployment and configuration of IT infrastructure, such as servers, storage, and networks. You can use configuration scripts and templates to deploy infrastructure resources, reducing the need for manual configuration and the risk of human error.
  • Application Configuration: With CaC, you can manage the configuration of applications and middleware, such as databases, web servers, and load balancers. Configuration files and settings can be managed code-based, making deploying and managing applications and middleware easier.
  • Network Configuration: Configuration of network devices, such as routers, switches, and firewalls, can be managed with the help of CaC. Configuration files and settings can be managed in a version control system, making it easier to track changes and deploy updates.
  • DevOps: CaC can be used as part of a DevOps workflow to automate the deployment and configuration of systems. You can manage configuration files and settings in a version control system, making collaborating and deploying changes easier.

Strategies to Implement Configuration as Code for Teams

If you set up a refactor, you must implement Configuration as Code to work seamlessly. To do that, follow the strategies below:

Development Based on Components

Teams often separate their code into many repositories for a variety of reasons. This architecture keeps configuration files in sync with the relevant microservice or component and version accordingly.

There's a chance you'll encounter a similar problem while triggering builds, although it could be less challenging. Consult with your DevOps teams if you want to version configuration files together with their respective microservice or component. Moreover, you must have a strategy for propagating configuration changes to implement this approach.

Monorepo Strategy

Having all your files in a single repository helps streamline your production process. On the other hand, if you are treating configuration files as source code, you may require a new build each time a configuration is modified, and this may not be necessary and could even slow down your team.

Some modifications to the configuration do not need a new build. Your system administrators must enable the merging of configuration file modifications. Then you can put them into one of your test settings. Since everything is code, it might be hard to discern configuration files apart from source code during an audit. It's crucial to settle on a naming scheme.

Separate Repositories for Configuration Files

Some companies keep their configuration code in their repository, regardless of how they keep the rest of their code. While conceptually appealing, this approach is impractical in most situations.

In reality, even the most involved projects may only contain a few thousand configuration files; thus, they constitute a negligible fraction of a repository. To get your build pipeline up and running, your admins need to do some work. This is another option to think about if you need a model that can be used for audits, rollbacks, and reviews.

Benefits of Using Configuration as Code

Configuration as Code (CaC) refers to managing the infrastructure and configuration of an application through the use of code rather than manual processes. This approach has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its benefits over traditional configuration management methods. Here are some of the key benefits of using Configuration as Code:

  • Reproducibility: Configuration as Code makes it possible to recreate the same environment and configuration on different systems or in various stages of the development process. This eliminates inconsistencies and reduces the risk of errors.
  • Version control: By storing configuration information in code, it can be versioned and managed the same way as application code. It allows teams to easily track changes and collaborate on configuration changes, reducing the risk of human error.
  • Automation: CaC automates setting up and configuring systems and applications, reducing the time and effort required for manual configuration. This can significantly increase efficiency and consistency in environments with many systems or frequent changes.
  • Scalability: It makes it easier to scale systems and applications by enabling teams to automate adding new systems or adjusting configuration parameters. Moreover, it reduces the time required for manual setup and ensures consistency across systems.
  • Improved security: Configuration as Code can help enhance security by allowing teams to automate the process of applying security configurations and updates. It helps ensure that all systems are updated consistently and timely, reducing the risk of vulnerabilities.
  • Increased transparency: CaC provides increased visibility into the configuration of systems and applications, making it easier to track changes and understand how systems are set up. It improves collaboration and ensures that everyone on the team is working with accurate information.
  • Better disaster recovery: By storing configuration in code, teams can quickly recreate systems and applications in the event of a disaster. It can help in reducing downtime and minimize the impact of unexpected outages.


Since managing the configuration files manually is a hectic process, the Introduction of Configuration as Code has paved the way for teams by providing a modern approach to managing their infrastructure through code. CaC is a valuable tool for organizations looking to improve efficiency, consistency, and security in their operations, and it is becoming increasingly popular in today's fast-paced technology landscape. By adopting the Configuration as Code approach, organizations can streamline their operations, reduce risk, and better align with modern best practices for IT operations and development.

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