Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: AppDynamics Blog, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, VictorOps Blog, Derek Weeks

Related Topics: SDN Journal, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo

SDN Journal: Blog Feed Post

Devops: Model First, Automate Later

Modeling should be the first step for devops when automating a deployment process

Modeling should be the first step for #devops when automating a deployment process

When I was a young software developer I had an interview at a large transportation company. This was when object-oriented principles were still the "thing" and Java hadn't quite yet become the language du jour - but it soon would. Sitting in a rather large conference room with a fairly nice white board I was asked to perform a fairly simple (or so it sounds) task: model a zoo.

Like the much discussed interview puzzle questions of many technology giants today, the exercise was not so much about getting it right (you really can't model an entire zoo in software during an interview) as about providing the interviewee with insight into whether or you not you understand the basic principles of modeling an environment. Are you able to identify the major "objects" and, more importantly, their relationship to other objects in the system? Are you cognizant of the minor objects that interact with the major objects, and what role they play in daily operations? Can you correctly point to not only the attributes of but the role performed by each object?

These are the kinds of questions you answer when you're actually modeling a system, and it's not unique to software development. In fact, it's probably one of the more important aspects of devops that may often be overlooked in favor of focusing on individual tasks.

I had a chance to talk with Dan Gordon at Electric Cloud about "Fail-safe Application Deployments" before the holidays and in reviewing Electric Cloud's white paper on the topic I was reminded how important modeling is - or should be - to devops.

You might recall Electric Cloud conducted a survey in June 2012 of app developers, 50% of whom said they have missed an application release date because of issues arising in the deployment process. When asked why that was, a majority (69%) pointed to the complexity of the deployment flows combined with the continued practice of manual configuration (62%) in the process as the culprit.

We know automation can help reduce deployment time and ultimately address errors by enabling more testing more often, but automating a poor or incomplete process can be as disastrous as not automating at all. It's as dangerous to automate a poor or incomplete process as it is to encrypt application data with SSL or TLS and ignore that encrypted malicious code or data is still malicious. What devops needs to do beyond adopting the agile methodologies of development to improve the deployment process is to adopt more of its principles around design and modeling.

Modeling as a Pre-Requisite

One of the five steps to fail-safe application deployments in Electric Cloud's paper on the topic is automation, of course, but its not just about automation - it's also about modeling. It suggests that the automation technology chosen to assist devops should offer a number of modeling capabilities:

It should offer extensive process modeling capabilities. There are three essential models to
consider:
• Application – the ‘what’
• Environment – the ‘where’
• Workflow execution – the ‘how’
The environment(s) should be modeled as well, with details such as:
• Server configuration
• Associated parameters
• Environment configurations

Of course Electric Cloud's solutions offer such modeling capabilities. While being able to translate a model into a concrete implementation is always a bonus, it's more important to go through the modeling exercise than anything else. Whether you're using a tool capable of modeling the model, as it were, or you're using scripts or custom developed systems is not nearly as important as actually modeling the deployment process and systems.

Being able to recognize the minutia in a deployment that can often be forgotten is the first step to eliminating missing steps in the deployment process that can cause it to fail. Applications are not islands, they rely on other applications, services, and networking to be deployed successfully, and it is often the case that configurations rely upon IP addresses or other configuration options that must be addressed late in the process - well after the actual application is "deployed" on its platform. Modeling the "objects" in a deployment - as well as their relationships - will help ensure that as the process is automated those relationships and dependent tasks are not overlooked.

Modeling doesn't have to be a formal exercise. Though many developers use UML tools or other formalized processes to conduct modeling exercises, devops should feel free to discover tools or processes for modeling that best fit their needs.

A rather large conference room and a whiteboard can be a revealing tool, after all.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
In a crowded world of popular computer languages, platforms and ecosystems, Node.js is one of the hottest. According to w3techs.com, Node.js usage has gone up 241 percent in the last year alone. Retailers have taken notice and are implementing it on many levels. I am going to share the basics of Node.js, and discuss why retailers are using it to reduce page load times and improve server efficiency. I’ll talk about similar developments such as Docker and microservices, and look at several compani...
As enterprises around the world struggle with their digital transformation efforts, many are finding that innovative digital teams are moving much faster than their hidebound IT organizations. Rather than struggling to convince traditional IT to get with the digital program, executives are taking advice from IT research firm Gartner, and encouraging existing IT to continue in their desultory ways. However, many CIOs are realizing the dangers of following Gartner’s advice. The central challenge ...
In the world of DevOps there are ‘known good practices’ – aka ‘patterns’ – and ‘known bad practices’ – aka ‘anti-patterns.' Many of these patterns and anti-patterns have been developed from real world experience, especially by the early adopters of DevOps theory; but many are more feasible in theory than in practice, especially for more recent entrants to the DevOps scene. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Chair Andi Mann, panelists will dis...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
Many private cloud projects were built to deliver self-service access to development and test resources. While those clouds delivered faster access to resources, they lacked visibility, control and security needed for production deployments. In their session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steve Anderson, Product Manager at BMC Software, and Rick Lefort, Principal Technical Marketing Consultant at BMC Software, will discuss how a cloud designed for production operations not only helps accelerate developer...
Last week I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel at Sapphire Ventures Next-Gen Tech Stack Forum in San Francisco. Obviously, I was excited to join the discussion, but as a participant the event crystallized not only where the larger software development market is relative to microservices, container technologies (like Docker), continuous integration and deployment; but also provided insight into where DevOps is heading in the coming years.
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, will show how, by focusing on 'metrics that matter,' you can provide objective, transparent, and meaningfu...
Wow, if you ever wanted to learn about Rugged DevOps (some call it DevSecOps), sit down for a spell with Shannon Lietz, Ian Allison and Scott Kennedy from Intuit. We discussed a number of important topics including internal war games, culture hacking, gamification of Rugged DevOps and starting as a small team. There are 100 gold nuggets in this conversation for novices and experts alike.
The notion of customer journeys, of course, are central to the digital marketer’s playbook. Clearly, enterprises should focus their digital efforts on such journeys, as they represent customer interactions over time. But making customer journeys the centerpiece of the enterprise architecture, however, leaves more questions than answers. The challenge arises when EAs consider the context of the customer journey in the overall architecture as well as the architectural elements that make up each...
Admittedly, two years ago I was a bulk contributor to the DevOps noise with conversations rooted in the movement around culture, principles, and goals. And while all of these elements of DevOps environments are important, I’ve found that the biggest challenge now is a lack of understanding as to why DevOps is beneficial. It’s getting the wheels going, or just taking the next step. The best way to start on the road to change is to take a look at the companies that have already made great headway ...
In 2006, Martin Fowler posted his now famous essay on Continuous Integration. Looking back, what seemed revolutionary, radical or just plain crazy is now common, pedestrian and "just what you do." I love it. Back then, building and releasing software was a real pain. Integration was something you did at the end, after code complete, and we didn't know how long it would take. Some people may recall how we, as an industry, spent a massive amount of time integrating code from one team with another...
From the conception of Docker containers to the unfolding microservices revolution we see today, here is a brief history of what I like to call 'containerology'. In 2013, we were solidly in the monolithic application era. I had noticed that a growing amount of effort was going into deploying and configuring applications. As applications had grown in complexity and interdependency over the years, the effort to install and configure them was becoming significant. But the road did not end with a ...
I have an article in the recently released “DZone Guide to Building and Deploying Applications on the Cloud” entitled “Fullstack Engineering in the Age of Hybrid Cloud”. In this article I discuss the need and skills of a Fullstack Engineer with relation to troubleshooting and repairing complex, distributed hybrid cloud applications. My recent experiences with troubleshooting issues with my Docker WordPress container only reinforce the details I wrote about in this piece. Without my comprehensive...
As the software delivery industry continues to evolve and mature, the challenge of managing the growing list of the tools and processes becomes more daunting every day. Today, Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) platforms are proving most valuable by providing the governance, management and coordination for every stage of development, deployment and release. Recently, I spoke with Madison Moore at SD Times about the changing market and where ALM is headed.
The goal of any tech business worth its salt is to provide the best product or service to its clients in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. This is just as true in the development of software products as it is in other product design services. Microservices, an app architecture style that leans mostly on independent, self-contained programs, are quickly becoming the new norm, so to speak. With this change comes a declining reliance on older SOAs like COBRA, a push toward more s...
Small teams are more effective. The general agreement is that anything from 5 to 12 is the 'right' small. But of course small teams will also have 'small' throughput - relatively speaking. So if your demand is X and the throughput of a small team is X/10, you probably need 10 teams to meet that demand. But more teams also mean more effort to coordinate and align their efforts in the same direction. So, the challenge is how to harness the power of small teams and yet orchestrate multiples of them...
Much of the discussion around cloud DevOps focuses on the speed with which companies need to get new code into production. This focus is important – because in an increasingly digital marketplace, new code enables new value propositions. New code is also often essential for maintaining competitive parity with market innovators. But new code doesn’t just have to deliver the functionality the business requires. It also has to behave well because the behavior of code in the cloud affects performan...
Struggling to keep up with increasing application demand? Learn how Platform as a Service (PaaS) can streamline application development processes and make resource management easy.
If there is anything we have learned by now, is that every business paves their own unique path for releasing software- every pipeline, implementation and practices are a bit different, and DevOps comes in all shapes and sizes. Software delivery practices are often comprised of set of several complementing (or even competing) methodologies – such as leveraging Agile, DevOps and even a mix of ITIL, to create the combination that’s most suitable for your organization and that maximize your busines...
Digital means customer preferences and behavior are driving enterprise technology decisions to be sure, but let’s not forget our employees. After all, when we say customer, we mean customer writ large, including partners, supply chain participants, and yes, those salaried denizens whose daily labor forms the cornerstone of the enterprise. While your customers bask in the warm rays of your digital efforts, are your employees toiling away in the dark recesses of your enterprise, pecking data into...