Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Sematext Blog

Blog Feed Post

In the Cloud, It’s the Little Things That Get You. Here are nine of them.

#F5 Eight things you need to consider very carefully when moving apps to the cloud.

imageMoving to a model that utilizes the cloud is a huge proposition. You can throw some applications out there without looking back – if they have no ties to the corporate datacenter and light security requirements, for example – but most applications require quite a bit of work to make them both mobile and stable. Just connections to the database raise all sorts of questions, and most enterprise level applications require connections to DC databases.

But these are all problems people are talking about. There are ways to resolve them, ugly though some may be. The problems that will get you are the ones no one is talking about. So of course, I’m happy to dive into the conversation with some things that would be keeping me awake were I still running a datacenter with a lot of interconnections and getting beat up with demands for cloudy applications.

  1. The last year has proven that cloud services WILL go down, you can’t plan like it won’t, regardless of the hype.
  2. When they do, your databases must be 100% in synch, or business will be lost. 100%.
  3. Your DNS  infrastructure will need attention, possibly for the first time since you installed it. Serving up addresses from both local and cloud providers isn’t so simple. Particularly during downtimes.
  4. Security – both network and app - will have to be centralized. You can implement separate security procedures for each deployment environment, but you are only as strong as your weakest link, and your staff will have to remember which policies apply where if you go that route.
  5. Failure plans will have to be flexible. What if part of your app goes down? What if the database is down, but the web pages are fine – except for that “failed to connect to database” error? No matter what the hype says, the more places you deploy, the more likelihood that you’ll have an outage. The IT Managers’ role is to minimize that increase.
  6. After a failure, recovery plans will also need to be flexible. What if part of your app comes up before the rest? What if the database spins up, but is now out of synch with your backup or alternate database?
  7. When (not if) a security breech occurs on a cloud hosted server, how much responsibility does the cloud provider have to help you clean up? Sometimes it takes more than spinning down your server to clean up a mess, after all.
  8. If you move mission-critical data to the cloud, how are you protecting it? Contrary to the wild claims of the clouderati, your data is in a location you do not have 100% visibility into, you’re going to have to take extra steps to protect it.
  9. If you’re opening connections back to the datacenter from the cloud, how are you protecting those connections? They’re trusted server to trusted server, but “trusted” is now relative.

Of course there are solutions brewing for most of these problems. Here are the ones I am aware of, I guarantee that, since I do not “read all of the Internets” each day (Lori does), I’m missing some, but it can get you started.

  1. Just include cloud in your DR plans, what will you do if service X disappears? Is the information on X available somewhere else? Can you move the app elsewhere and update DNS quickly enough? Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB) will help with this problem and others on the list – it will eliminate the DNS propagation lag at least. But beware, for many cloud vendors it is harder to do DR. Check what capabilities your provider supports.
  2. There are tools available that just don’t get their fair share of thunder, IMO – like Oracle GoldenGate – that replicate each SQL command to a remote database. These systems create a backup that exactly mirrors the original. As long as you don’t get a database modifying attack that looks valid to your security systems, these architectures and products are amazing.
  3. People generally don’t care where you host apps, as long as when they type in the URL or click on the URL, it takes them to the correct location. Global DNS and GSLB will take care of this problem for you.
  4. Get policy-based security that can be deployed anywhere, including the cloud, or less attractively (and sometimes impractically), code security into the app so the security moves with it.
  5. Application availability will have to go through another round like it did when we went distributed and then SOA. Apps will have to be developed with an eye to “is critical service X up?” where service X might well be in a completely different location from the app. If not, remedial steps will have to occur before the App can claim to be up. Or local Load Balancing can buffer you by making service X several different servers/virtuals.
  6. What goes down (hopefully) must come back up. But the same safety steps implemented in #5 will cover #6 nicely, for the most part. Database consistency checks are the big exception, do those on recovery.
  7. Negotiate this point if you can. Lots of cloud providers don’t feel the need to negotiate anything, but asking the questions will give you more information. Perhaps take your business to someone who will guarantee full cooperation in fixing your problems.
  8. If you actually move critical databases to the cloud, encrypt them. Yeah, I do know it’s expensive in processing power, but they’re outside the area you can 100% protect. So take the necessary step.
  9. Secure tunnels are your friend. Really. Don’t just open a hole in your firewall and let “trusted” servers in, because it is possible to masquerade as a trusted server. Create secure tunnels, and protect the keys.

That’s it for now. The cloud has a lot of promise, but like everything else in mid hype cycle, you need to approach the soaring commentary with realistic expectations. Protect your data as if it is your personal charge, because it is. The cloud provider is not the one (or not the only one) who will be held accountable when things go awry.

So use it to keep doing what you do – making your organization hum with daily business – and avoid the pitfalls where ever possible.

In my next installment I’ll be trying out the new footer Lori is using, looking forward to your feedback.

And yes, I did put nine in the title to test the “put an odd number list in, people love that” theory. I think y’all read my stuff because I’m hitting relatively close to the mark, but we’ll see now, won’t we?

 

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Don MacVittie

Don MacVittie is currently a Senior Solutions Architect at StackIQ, Inc. He is also working with Mesamundi on D20PRO, and is a member of the Stacki Open Source project. He has experience in application development, architecture, infrastructure, technical writing, and IT management. MacVittie holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Northern Michigan University, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor – all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Rapid innovation, changing business landscapes, and new IT demands force businesses to make changes quickly. In the eyes of many, containers are at the brink of becoming a pervasive technology in enterprise IT to accelerate application delivery. In this presentation, attendees learned about the: The transformation of IT to a DevOps, microservices, and container-based architecture What are containers and how DevOps practices can operate in a container-based environment A demonstration of how ...
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes how...
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his general session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Phil Hombledal, Solution Architect at CollabNet, discussed how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that e...
Between 2005 and 2020, data volumes will grow by a factor of 300 – enough data to stack CDs from the earth to the moon 162 times. This has come to be known as the ‘big data’ phenomenon. Unfortunately, traditional approaches to handling, storing and analyzing data aren’t adequate at this scale: they’re too costly, slow and physically cumbersome to keep up. Fortunately, in response a new breed of technology has emerged that is cheaper, faster and more scalable. Yet, in meeting these new needs they...
@DevOpsSummit taking place June 6-8, 2017 at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York Call for Papers is now open.
In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Claude Remillard, Principal Program Manager in Developer Division at Microsoft, contrasted how his team used config as code and immutable patterns for continuous delivery of microservices and apps to the cloud. He showed how the immutable patterns helps developers do away with most of the complexity of config as code-enabling scenarios such as rollback, zero downtime upgrades with far greater simplicity. He also demoed building immutable pipelines in the cloud ...
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
In IT, we sometimes coin terms for things before we know exactly what they are and how they’ll be used. The resulting terms may capture a common set of aspirations and goals – as “cloud” did broadly for on-demand, self-service, and flexible computing. But such a term can also lump together diverse and even competing practices, technologies, and priorities to the point where important distinctions are glossed over and lost.
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
Monitoring of Docker environments is challenging. Why? Because each container typically runs a single process, has its own environment, utilizes virtual networks, or has various methods of managing storage. Traditional monitoring solutions take metrics from each server and applications they run. These servers and applications running on them are typically very static, with very long uptimes. Docker deployments are different: a set of containers may run many applications, all sharing the resource...
Join Impiger for their featured webinar: ‘Cloud Computing: A Roadmap to Modern Software Delivery’ on November 10, 2016, at 12:00 pm CST. Very few companies have not experienced some impact to their IT delivery due to the evolution of cloud computing. This webinar is not about deciding whether you should entertain moving some or all of your IT to the cloud, but rather, a detailed look under the hood to help IT professionals understand how cloud adoption has evolved and what trends will impact th...
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his session at @DevOpsSummit 19th Cloud Expo, Eric Robertson, General Manager at CollabNet, showed how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that enables everyone fro...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Application transformation and DevOps practices are two sides of the same coin. Enterprises that want to capture value faster, need to deliver value faster – time value of money principle. To do that enterprises need to build cloud-native apps as microservices by empowering teams to build, ship, and run in production. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Neil Gehani, senior product manager at HPE, discussed what every business should plan for how to structure their teams to delive...
As we enter the final week before the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo in Santa Clara, CA, it's time for me to reflect on six big topics that will be important during the show. Hybrid Cloud This general-purpose term seems to provide a comfort zone for many enterprise IT managers. It sounds reassuring to be able to work with one of the major public-cloud providers like AWS or Microsoft Azure while still maintaining an on-site presence.
Much of the value of DevOps comes from a (renewed) focus on measurement, sharing, and continuous feedback loops. In increasingly complex DevOps workflows and environments, and especially in larger, regulated, or more crystallized organizations, these core concepts become even more critical. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, showed how, by focusing on 'metrics that matter,' you can provide objective, transparent, and meaningful f...