Transient Infrastructure


Course Introduction
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This course provides you with the foundational knowledge required to design an infrastructure and configuration management strategy. It starts by looking at hosting infrastructure — IaaS, PaaS, FaaS, and some modern native app options — before moving on to look at Infrastructure-as-Code. You’ll learn what Infrastructure-as-Code means and the tools and technologies that are used to deploy and manage it.

Next, you'll learn about some of the more common Infrastructure-as-Code tools and technologies: Terraform, Azure Resource Manager, Chef, Puppet, and more. You'll also learn about technical debt and how to deal with it in templates. The course then covers transient infrastructure and its role in the delivery lifecycle, before finishing off by looking at the mitigation of infrastructure state drift.

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Learning Objectives

  • Understand the main compute options available to host your infrastructure
  • Have a solid grasp of Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) and its related tools and technologies 
  • Learn about technical debt and how to deal with it in templates
  • Learn about transient infrastructure and how it can speed up projects and reduce costs

Intended Audience

This course is intended for those preparing for Microsoft's AZ-400 exam, or anybody who wants to learn about designing an infrastructure and configuration management strategy in Azure.


To get the most from this course, you should have a basic understanding of Microsoft Azure and of DevOps concepts.


Hello. Welcome to Transient Infrastructure. In this lesson, we are going to talk a little bit about transient infrastructure and its role in DevOps.

In a typical hardware-based IT environment, the deployment of an infrastructure is highly manual and takes time to complete. Such an infrastructure typically remains in place for as long as the project that requires it remains active. Taking it a step further, in many cases, when a production infrastructure is deployed, a matching dev environment and maybe even a matching test environment are also deployed. This is obviously highly manual, time-consuming, and sometimes error prone. In such a scenario, every environment uses essentially the same resources.

By leveraging cloud computing resources, organizations can quickly deploy identically configured infrastructures and they can quickly tear them down when they are no longer needed. Such infrastructures are known as transient infrastructures. They are transient because they are built up and torn down in bursts, meaning they often have short lifecycles.

Now, while a production infrastructure isn’t really considered transient in most cases, the deployment of containers and the use of autoscaling, which spins up resources when they are needed and spins down resources when they are no longer needed, kind of makes the production infrastructure almost semi-transient.

So where does this fit in?

Well, when an organization is following the agile methodology, it should be leveraging automation that allows it to deploy the infrastructure that is needed at the time, to run any tests that are necessary, and then to automatically decommission the infrastructure when it’s no longer needed. This automation is where transient infrastructures really shine.

To achieve a truly transient environment, the environment build should be completely scripted. This can be achieved in Azure through ARM templates. By incorporating versioning and self-service, transient environments can be spun up by virtually any team member. These types of transient environments should have automatic termination procedures built into the provisioning sequence. This ensures that such environments do not linger after they are no longer needed.

Leveraging transient environments or transient infrastructures ensures that such environments or infrastructures adhere to enforced standards. This reduces the chances of creating a bunch of snowflake infrastructures due to configuration drift. Transient infrastructures also result in more efficient use of resources and capacity, since these infrastructures only exist when they are needed and only include the resources that are needed. This obviously also results in cost savings.

There are two parts to a deployment of a transient environment. The first part is the policy that defines the configuration and lifecycle of the environment to be spun up. Project requirements will often dictate these aspects, which are included in the script that will deploy the environment. 

The second part of the deployment of a transient environment is the technical implementation, which includes the creation of the script and the deployment of the environment from that script.

So, at the end of the day, the deployment of transient infrastructures is not only useful in speeding projects up, but it is also useful when trying to save on costs. In addition to speeding up projects and saving on costs, transient infrastructures also help ensure adherence to established standards.


About the Author
Learning Paths

Tom is a 25+ year veteran of the IT industry, having worked in environments as large as 40k seats and as small as 50 seats. Throughout the course of a long an interesting career, he has built an in-depth skillset that spans numerous IT disciplines. Tom has designed and architected small, large, and global IT solutions.

In addition to the Cloud Platform and Infrastructure MCSE certification, Tom also carries several other Microsoft certifications. His ability to see things from a strategic perspective allows Tom to architect solutions that closely align with business needs.

In his spare time, Tom enjoys camping, fishing, and playing poker.