Chapter 15. Core Practice: Small, Simple Pieces

A successful system tends to grow over time. More people use it, more people work on it, more things are added to it. As the system grows, changes become riskier and more complex. This often leads to more complicated and time-consuming processes for managing changes. Overhead for making changes makes it harder to fix and improve the system, allowing technical debt to grow, eroding the quality of the system.

This is the negative version of the cycle of speed of change driving better quality, and better quality enabling faster speed of change described in Chapter 1.

Applying the three core practices of Infrastructure as Code—defining everything as code, continuously testing and delivering, and building small pieces (“Three Core Practices for Infrastructure as Code”)—enables the positive version of the cycle.

This chapter focuses on the third practice, composing your system from smaller pieces so that you can maintain a faster rate of change while improving quality even as your system grows. Most infrastructure coding tools and languages have features that support modules, libraries, and other types of components. But infrastructure design thinking and practice hasn’t yet reached the level of maturity of software design.

So this chapter draws on design principles for modularity learned from decades of software design, considering them from the point of view of code-driven infrastructure. It then looks at different types of components ...

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