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Immutable Infrastructure

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The term Immutable Infrastructure refers to (compute) infrastructure, that is never changed after it is setup. No updates, no fixes, no nothing. Instead of changes, new versions / iterations of the infrastructure replace the existing one.

This paradigm requires an underlying Programmable Infrastructure, which is then instrumented via Infrastructure as Code, OS Configuration Management - or other alike automation - that are stored in a Version Control System.

The benefits of this approach are multifold:

The antithesis of Immutable Infrastructure are Snowflake Systems.

Martin Fowler coined the term Phoenix Server for a computer system in an Immutable Infrastructure, as they can “rise again from their ashes after being burned” - can be re-created from scratch when shutdown & deleted.