How to troubleshoot infrastructure as code issues in production environments

As infrastructure as code (IaC) gains popularity, more and more companies are using tools like Terraform, Pulumi, and Amazon CDK to automate their infrastructure. IaC allows developers and IT teams to describe and manage infrastructure as code, providing a more reliable, repeatable, and scalable way to manage infrastructure.

But, like any new technology, IaC also comes with its own set of challenges. One of the biggest challenges with IaC is troubleshooting issues in production environments. In this article, we'll dive into some common issues that can arise in production environments and provide some tips on how to troubleshoot them.

Common IaC issues in production environments

Infrastructure as code issues in production environments can manifest in a variety of ways. Some common issues include:

Incorrect resource creation or deletion

One of the most common mistakes when working with IaC is creating or deleting resources incorrectly. This can cause a cascading effect that can bring down an entire production environment. In some cases, resources may not be created at all, causing an outage or service disruption.


Another common issue is misconfiguration. If a resource is configured incorrectly, it can cause an application to fail or behave unpredictably. This can be especially problematic if the misconfiguration is not immediately apparent and requires extensive troubleshooting to identify.

Version incompatibilities

Infrastructure as code tools like Terraform, Pulumi, and Amazon CDK are constantly evolving. New versions can introduce new features and capabilities, but they can also introduce incompatibilities with existing infrastructure. This can cause issues when deploying updates to a production environment.

Security vulnerabilities

As with any IT system, security is a critical concern when working with infrastructure as code. If security vulnerabilities are present in a production environment, they can be exploited by attackers. Security vulnerabilities in infrastructure as code can stem from a variety of sources, such as misconfigured resources, outdated software, or insecure credentials.

Tips for troubleshooting IaC issues in production environments

Now that we've reviewed some of the common IaC issues that can arise in production environments, let's dive into some tips for troubleshooting these issues.

Use logging and monitoring tools

Logging and monitoring tools are essential for troubleshooting infrastructure as code issues in production environments. By monitoring logs and metrics, you can quickly identify issues and take action to resolve them. Some popular logging and monitoring tools used in IaC include Elasticsearch, Logstash, Kibana, Prometheus, and Grafana.

Test in a staging environment

Testing changes in a staging environment before deploying them to a production environment is a best practice that can help prevent issues from occurring in the first place. In a staging environment, you can test changes without risk to the production environment. This can help identify issues early in the development process and prevent them from cropping up in production.

Use infrastructure validation tools

Infrastructure validation tools can help prevent issues by validating IaC files for syntax errors and other issues. Tools like Terraform validate, Pulumi verify, and AWS CloudFormation validate-template can check for issues before code is deployed to production. This can help catch issues early in the development process and prevent them from being deployed to a production environment.

Check component dependencies

Infrastructure as code in production environments can be complex, with multiple components relying on each other to function properly. It's important to check the dependencies between components to ensure that they are configured correctly and functioning as expected. This can help prevent issues caused by misconfigured dependencies.

Verify credentials and access controls

Security is a critical concern in infrastructure as code, so it's important to ensure that credentials and access controls are configured correctly. Misconfigured credentials or access controls can be exploited by attackers, leading to security breaches and other issues. Verifying and validating credentials and access controls in a production environment can help prevent these issues from occurring.

Test backups and disaster recovery plans

Even with the best infrastructure as code practices, issues can still occur in a production environment. That's why it's important to have backups and disaster recovery plans in place. Testing backups and disaster recovery plans regularly can help ensure that they are working correctly and can be relied upon in the event of an issue.


Infrastructure as code provides a powerful way to manage infrastructure in a reliable, repeatable, and scalable way. However, like any IT technology, infrastructure as code can also come with its own set of challenges. In this article, we've reviewed some common infrastructure as code issues that can arise in production environments and provided tips on how to troubleshoot them. By following these best practices, you can help prevent issues and resolve them quickly when they do arise, ensuring that your infrastructure as code runs smoothly and reliably.

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