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From Scratch to Scalable: Seamless CI for C++ Windows Build Infrastructure with Ansible and Terraform

· 10 min read
Christopher McArthur
C++ DevOps Expert

One of the biggest challenges in C++ is setting up CI from scratch and of that, the biggest pain point is the system administration which can be very disconnected from the development tools. In order to bridge this gap we can leverage Infrastructure as Code (IaC) targeting existing machines, locally in our network or in the cloud, is an excellent enhancement to ensure consistent reproducible builds. Having version controlled configuration management tied to the codebase is key, this will allow us to deterministically install all the tools required with confidence even in the far far future.

Let's walk through adding Ansible to handle configuring a Windows virtual machine. These ideas apply to Unix environments as well but we can tackle those in a future post. Once we've gained control over our build environments, we can tackle availability and scalability by introducing Terraform to help provision and initialize new Windows instances in Azure. This two prong solution enables both a path for migrating to the cloud and establishing a hybrid setup.