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September 2016, Vol. 5, No. 8

Immutable infrastructure takes build automation to the systems level

The technology industry is continuously obsessed with the shiny new thing. Often, after scratching the surface of such conceptual innovation, one finds a core of old ideas newly applied and wrapped in ambiguous jargon. The result is an appealing idea, open to multiple interpretations, that leaves everyone free to project meaning and relevance to their particular situation. Such is the case with immutable infrastructure. The term describes a modern application of a well-worn build automation concept that, in practice, is more about automatable change and software platforms than immutable systems and hardware infrastructure. We aren't talking about a hardware appliance molded in ceramic that does one thing, one way, for all time, i.e., actual immutable infrastructure. The term immutable infrastructure, in the current context of programmable automation and cloud deployment of system and application images, was arguably coined in a 2013 blog post by Chad Fowler, the developer of Wunderlist (since sold to Microsoft). The blog post ...

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