Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Derek Weeks, LeanTaaS Blog

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo, @DXWorldExpo

@DevOpsSummit: Article

I’m Not Scared of #DevOps | @DevOpsSummit #APM #CD #Docker #Monitoring

The Foundation of DevOps

DevOps is speeding towards the IT world like a freight train and the hype around it is deafening. There is no reason to be afraid of this change as it is the natural reaction to the agile movement that revolutionized development just a few years ago. By definition, DevOps is the natural alignment of IT performance to business profitability. The relevance of this has yet to be quantified but it has been suggested that the route to the CEO's chair will come from the IT leaders that successfully make the transition to a DevOps model. If this still seems foreign to you, I recommend reading up on DevOps Blog from IT Revolution, the OpsCode Blog, and check out The Phoenix Project.

Despite all the talk around simple monitoring tools, breaking through the walls between Dev and Ops still poses a real challenge. This is because of a misunderstanding around Operations real purpose - extracting real value from its resources. According to Kevin Behr the definition of Operations is the act of harvesting value from IT resources. Anything that prevents this from happening is a detriment to the business. This means that firefighting and war room sessions are a hindrance to the DevOps model. The following screenshots are good examples of a war room scenario.

Unexpected crashes of websites upon new rollouts still lead to "War Room" situations - despite all the good efforts of DevOps and Agile Delivery/Deployment

Successfully riding the DevOps train: Many of our production customers that made it through the firefighting mode applied the principals of DevOps with a special focus on Application Performance. In this article we describe the steps and milestones companies need to go through in order to level-up their Operations and Engineering Teams to provide more value out of the existing resources.

The Foundation of DevOps
CAMS (Culture, Automation, Measurement, Sharing) are four key areas that are core to the DevOps movement. Culture is the hardest to change but is also the most important because it means a change in the way in which the different teams work together and share the responsibility for the end users of their application. It promotes the usage of development practices in operations to automate deployment. It also allows developers to learn from "the real world" Ops experience and with that mutual exchange it breaks down the walls.

The Lack of Performance Focus
An interesting fact
based on the feedback we get from operation teams worldwide: The root cause for about 80% of site crashes or performance problems is related to only about 20% of problem patterns. Want to learn more? Check out blogs such as Top Performance Landmines in Production and I am sure you'll find some issues you already ran into yourself.

Looking at these common problem patterns it is clear that despite all the DevOps efforts lots of performance and scalability-related problems still make it into a release deployment. Why is that? Because our organizations are still very much driven by business requirements that need numerous new features being pushed in ever shorter release cycles. Teams keep growing and are being spread around the world. In order to keep up with the pace, third-party components are included in the code in place of in-house innovation. This "natural" evolution however is also the root cause for firefights and limiting the benefits of DevOps because there is too much focus on pushing functionality through the Deployment Pipeline but not enough focus on Performance.

More developers across more locations including more untested 3rd party code with less time to focus on performance

Plugging Performance into DevOps
In order to focus developers on performance to avoid War Room scenarios you must plug performance into the four pillars of CAMS:

  • Culture: Performance as Key Requirement in Dev, Test and Ops
  • Automation: Automated Performance Tests already in Continuous Integration
  • Measurement: Measure Key Performance Metrics in CI, Test and Ops
  • Sharing: Share the same tools and same performance data across Dev, Test and Ops

There are several key milestones to consider:

Milestone 1: Level-Up Performance to Increase Feedback Between Ops and Development
The first step in any DevOps initiative is to get the Ops teams and the Dev teams talking in order to relieve constraints on the business. This might be easy for small teams to accomplish but the larger the organization, the more difficult it becomes as constraints are greater in larger organizations. Operations has to diminish these constraints on the business. This is where APM solutions can help. Beware as not all solutions are created equal. As mentioned in the previous DevOps blog the drive to diminish constraint needs to be applied across the delivery chain. Monitoring just does not cut it here. There needs to be something that not only starts the process but allows the teams to continue to mature and grow. Simple monitoring tools fall short because they only help extinguish fires in operations. How does this continue to drive down constraints? Remember, firefighting is not a part of operations, which means operations should not be looking at fire extinguishers for their DevOps strategies.

Milestone 2: Level-Up Performance Thinking of Engineering
Both Operations and Test Teams have a good understanding of Performance as they deal with it every day. These teams need to educate engineering on the importance of performance as it is a key requirement to software engineering and how it plays a role in large-scale environments under heavy load.

The Ops team shares data with engineering to highlight the performance behavior of their applications under real production load. This helps engineers to prevent these top performance problems from entering production and with that eliminating the need for firefights.

The test teams do their share by providing automated performance test frameworks and educating engineering on how to automate testing for these performance problem patterns.

Milestone 3: Level-Up Load and Capacity Testing
With development executing its own performance tests it's time to level up the test team as well. On one side there is more time to focus on large-scale load tests that need to be executed in a production- like environment. This helps to find any "data-driven", scalability, and "third-party impacted" performance problems. Close collaboration with Ops ensures that tests can be executed either in the prod environment or in a staged environment that mirrors production. Executing these tests in collaboration with Ops allows the teams to become more confident when releasing a new version and also helps with proper capacity planning steps.

Running tests against the production system gives better input for capacity planning and uncovers heavy load application issues

Milestone 4: Level-Up Performance Test Automation
The "traditional" testing teams are used to execute performance and scalability tests in their own environments at the end of a milestone. The goal is to provide these test frameworks and environments to engineering so that these basic performance tests can be executed automatically in the CI environment. In order for this to work you need to make sure that:

  1. These test frameworks are easy to use and accepted by developers
  2. Deliver performance metrics to detect the common problem patterns
  3. These are fully integrated into continuous integration

Automatic Integration Tests run in C/I to detect performance regressions on metrics such as # of SQL Calls, Page Load Time, # of JS files or Images ...

What's Next? Build a Performance Center of Excellence
Many of our customers who jumped on the DevOps train a while back are now promoting a performance culture in their organizations. In the next few blogs we will cover their best practices and tips on either building a separate "Performance Center of Excellence" Team or up-leveling the existing DevOps teams to deliver software with high confidence and fewer War Room weekends.

More Stories By Andreas Grabner

Andreas Grabner has been helping companies improve their application performance for 15+ years. He is a regular contributor within Web Performance and DevOps communities and a prolific speaker at user groups and conferences around the world. Reach him at @grabnerandi

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
As many know, the first generation of Cloud Management Platform (CMP) solutions were designed for managing virtual infrastructure (IaaS) and traditional applications. But that's no longer enough to satisfy evolving and complex business requirements. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, Embotics CTO, explored how next-generation CMPs ensure organizations can manage cloud-native and microservice-based application architectures, while also facilitating agile DevOps methodology. He expla...
DevOps promotes continuous improvement through a culture of collaboration. But in real terms, how do you: Integrate activities across diverse teams and services? Make objective decisions with system-wide visibility? Use feedback loops to enable learning and improvement? With technology insights and real-world examples, in his general session at @DevOpsSummit, at 21st Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, explored how leading organizations use data-driven DevOps to close th...
"WineSOFT is a software company making proxy server software, which is widely used in the telecommunication industry or the content delivery networks or e-commerce," explained Jonathan Ahn, COO of WineSOFT, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Some people are directors, managers, and administrators. Others are disrupters. Eddie Webb (@edwardawebb) is an IT Disrupter for Software Development Platforms at Liberty Mutual and was a presenter at the 2016 All Day DevOps conference. His talk, Organically DevOps: Building Quality and Security into the Software Supply Chain at Liberty Mutual, looked at Liberty Mutual's transformation to Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and DevOps. For a large, heavily regulated industry, this task ...
The notion of improving operational efficiency is conspicuously absent from the healthcare debate - neither Obamacare nor the newly proposed GOP plan discusses the impact that a step-function improvement in efficiency could have on access to healthcare (through more capacity), quality of healthcare services (through reduced wait times for patients) or cost (through better utilization of scarce, expensive assets).
The past few years have seen a huge increase in the amount of critical IT services that companies outsource to SaaS/IaaS/PaaS providers, be it security, storage, monitoring, or operations. Of course, along with any outsourcing to a service provider comes a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to ensure that the vendor is held financially responsible for any lapses in their service which affect the customer’s end users, and ultimately, their bottom line. SLAs can be very tricky to manage for a number ...
The dynamic nature of the cloud means that change is a constant when it comes to modern cloud-based infrastructure. Delivering modern applications to end users, therefore, is a constantly shifting challenge. Delivery automation helps IT Ops teams ensure that apps are providing an optimal end user experience over hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments, no matter what the current state of the infrastructure is. To employ a delivery automation strategy that reflects your business rules, making r...
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
The past few years have brought a sea change in the way applications are architected, developed, and consumed—increasing both the complexity of testing and the business impact of software failures. How can software testing professionals keep pace with modern application delivery, given the trends that impact both architectures (cloud, microservices, and APIs) and processes (DevOps, agile, and continuous delivery)? This is where continuous testing comes in. D
In a recent post, titled “10 Surprising Facts About Cloud Computing and What It Really Is”, Zac Johnson highlighted some interesting facts about cloud computing in the SMB marketplace: Cloud Computing is up to 40 times more cost-effective for an SMB, compared to running its own IT system. 94% of SMBs have experienced security benefits in the cloud that they didn’t have with their on-premises service
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
Admiral Calcote - also known as Lee Calcote (@lcalcote) or the Ginger Geek to his friends - gave a presentation entitled Characterizing and Contrasting Container Orchestrators at the 2016 All Day DevOps conference. Okay, he isn't really an admiral - nor does anyone call him that - but he used the title admiral to describe what container orchestrators do, relating it to an admiral directing a fleet of container ships. You could also say that they are like the conductor of an orchestra, directing...
Our work, both with clients and with tools, has lead us to wonder how it is that organizations are handling compliance issues in the cloud. The big cloud vendors offer compliance for their infrastructure, but the shared responsibility model requires that you take certain steps to meet compliance requirements. Which lead us to start poking around a little more. We wanted to get a picture of what was available, and how it was being used. There is a lot of fluidity in this space, as in all things c...
The goal of Microservices is to improve software delivery speed and increase system safety as scale increases. Microservices being modular these are faster to change and enables an evolutionary architecture where systems can change, as the business needs change. Microservices can scale elastically and by being service oriented can enable APIs natively. Microservices also reduce implementation and release cycle time and enables continuous delivery. This paper provides a logical overview of the Mi...
Gaining visibility in today’s sprawling cloud infrastructure is complex and laborious, involving drilling down into tools offered by various cloud services providers. Enterprise IT organizations need smarter and effective tools at their disposal in order to address this pertinent problem. Gaining a 360 - degree view of the cloud costs requires collection and analysis of the cost data across all cloud infrastructures used inside an enterprise.
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We started a Master of Science in business analytics - that's the hot topic. We serve the business community around San Francisco so we educate the working professionals and this is where they all want to be," explained Judy Lee, Associate Professor and Department Chair at Golden Gate University, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Gone are the days when application development was the daunting task of the highly skilled developers backed with strong IT skills, low code application development has democratized app development and empowered a new generation of citizen developers. There was a time when app development was in the domain of people with complex coding and technical skills. We called these people by various names like programmers, coders, techies, and they usually worked in a world oblivious of the everyday pri...
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...