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Infrastructure as Code / Platform Engineering / Software Development

Navigating the Evolution: Infrastructure as Catalog

The conceptual framework focuses on declaring infrastructure components with precision. Implementation details are separated and managed independently.
Oct 18th, 2023 7:35am by
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From inception to its current stage, the evolution of infrastructure management has been a transformative journey. Back in the day, infrastructure management was a bit like trying to set up a complicated domino pattern. You had to juggle through various scripts and methods, aiming to get everything to fall into place just right. This called for specialized professionals who know their stuff — cloud services, organizational architecture and all the latest development tools. And no matter how good you were, it often felt like a fleeting victory because tech advancements would come along and change the game.

When DevOps entered the scene, it aimed to be the savior. The tech community was elated and embraced it, especially for its focus on three core areas: a set process to handle the cloud-based infrastructure and databases, streamline the deployment and delivery pipelines and get some top-notch environment runtime monitoring. And it did help but, as with everything in tech, there’s always a “next thing.” In this case, it was Infrastructure as Code (IaC).

The Rise of Infrastructure as Code

IaC emerged as another revolutionary concept, providing a structured language to codify infrastructure requirements. It forever changed the way traditional infrastructure management was being done. And, despite its steep learning curve and the severe repercussions of minor mishaps or bugs, it sparked enthusiasm. It was like having a supercar, but you had to be wary of pushing it to the limit for fear of a crash. Democratizing IaC was challenging due to its inherent risks, demanding stringent guardrails for any form of developer self-service.

The initial excitement around IaC quickly fizzled out for many as it was met with stress and anxiety. This gave way to projects that were either delayed, unfinished or laden with interim solutions. This brought to light the need for an accurate level of abstraction, leading to the advent of Infrastructure as a Catalog (InCa). This marks another significant milestone in the evolution of infrastructure management.

Infrastructure as a Catalog 

Infrastructure as a Catalog (InCa) is a conceptual framework focusing on declaring infrastructure components with precision, while the implementation details are separated and managed independently. The components of an architecture, such as network, Kubernetes, services and databases, are modeled as intents, each characterized by a specific schema that defines its type and structure. InCa will take all the good stuff from IaC and streamline it, making things more transparent and a lot easier to manage.

The Power of InCa

InCa aims to enhance transparency and understanding of architecture. Everyone involved in infrastructure management can grasp the architecture through the catalog. It can enable operations to be executed effortlessly within the set guardrails. Platform engineers can modify implementations and choose between different cloud services and providers with ease. This approach will not only resolve the democratization issue inherent in IaC, but it can also eliminate the need for additional tooling, mitigating fears related to making changes in the catalog. InCa will ensure that all changes are auditable, reversible and thoroughly documented in git.

So, what can InCa bring to the table for our three core concerns of DevOps?

Infrastructure and Databases on Cloud Providers

With InCa, the components like infrastructure and databases are captured as “intents” with unique outlines. This way, we’re not just jotting down what we need but doing it with clarity. Plus, separating the “what” from the “how” gives platform engineers the flexibility to shift between different cloud services as they see fit. It’s about making our tech environment as adaptable as possible.

Creating Build and Deployment Pipelines for Code and Configurations

There’s no need to squint and guess. The catalog lays out everything for you. This transparency will ensure that when we’re setting up our pipelines, they’re not only efficient but easier to manage. And since everyone will be on the same page, developers can work together to tweak configurations, fostering a sense of teamwork in the deployment process.

Setting Up Monitoring and Tooling for Environment Runtime

Here’s where InCa will truly shine. Its design allows us to effortlessly integrate monitoring tools, ensuring our systems are always on their A-game. With monitoring built into the “intents,” there’s no more scrambling to set up tools last minute. It’s a smoother, more cohesive approach that guarantees our runtime environments are under constant watch, catching and fixing issues before they escalate.

Community and Innovation

Imagine a world where tech professionals from every corner of the globe come together to share and co-create implementations. With InCa, we could have a massive repository where these “intents” are translated to suit different cloud providers. It’s not just about problem-solving anymore; it’s about innovating and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.


The journey of infrastructure management has been marked by continuous evolution, from a phase of integrating diverse scripts to the advent of IaC and now, the conceptualization of Infrastructure as a Catalog (InCa). InCa aims to stand out by providing the right level of abstraction and by facilitating a clearer understanding of architecture through catalog representation. This innovative model will foster community cooperation, rapid innovation, and transparent, auditable operations, promising a future where infrastructure management is more efficient, reliable and inclusive.

Join us at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America this Nov. 6-9 in Chicago for more on Kubernetes and the cloud native ecosystem. 

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