Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Reinhard Brandstädter, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Thanh Tran

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo, SDN Journal

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Feed Post

Application-Driven vs Feature-Driven Orchestration

One of the challenges in scaling modern data centers rises directly from an increase in network complexity

One of the challenges in scaling modern data centers rises directly from an increase in network complexity over the past few years. We can argue why complexity has increased, but it's reasonable to say that scaling data centers means more boxes - more servers, more network gear, more middle boxes - and every device (or service) you add increases the complexity of the topology and thus the operational overhead to manage it. Organizations agree - things are somewhat or substantially getting more complex.

changes in ntework complexity

Software-defined architectures attempt to answer this challenge (among several others) by operationalizing the network. By using APIs to orchestrate provisioning processes and enable the integration necessary to make use of actionable monitoring data generated by various systems across the data center, software-defined architectures accelerate application deployments and reduce risk by eliminating a source of error - manual configuration.

Now, you might think that's where it all ends. But it doesn't. Because the way in which an API is presented and used to enable automation and orchestration can actually introduce the very same complexity that it attempts to address in the first place.

There are basically two ways to approach provisioning and orchestration: application-driven or feature-driven.

Feature-Driven Orchestration

Feature-driven orchestration is so named because the granularity of the API is, basically, at a feature (or capability) level. What that means is that the API exposes individual configuration options and automation systems must invoke each one (often in the right order) to achieve the desired result.

Something like a simple load balancing service is simple only from the perspective of execution, not configuration. A load balancing service requires a virtual IP address (the end point to which clients connect), a pool of resources (each with their own IP addresses and potentially VLAN membership), an algorithm and any associated thresholds and metrics that may be required and health monitors to ensure compliance with availability and performance expectations.

You can imagine that, if the number of applications being load balanced by this service is large enough, that the number of repetitive steps required to configure the service will become as unwieldy as a manual configuration.

feature-driven-integrationThe same is true of other application services typically provided by the network, such as those concerned with performance, security and access. Each has a unique set of "steps" that must be performed in the right order to provision a service.

Feature-driven orchestration requires the provisioning engine (or orchestration system) to drive each and every step. That adds complexity to an already complex process, because you really are just tossing a thin veneer of "automation" over an existing method of configuration. Feature-driven orchestration is pretty much manual configuration (line by line) driven by a script. Instead of worrying about fat-fingering a parameter, now you have to worry about catching fifteen or twenty different exceptions and status results and handling them properly from a script.

Application-Driven Orchestration

Application-driven orchestration, on the other hand, takes advantage of constructs like service templates and policies to enable a less complex method of integration with provisioning and orchestration systems.

Rather than focus on encapsulating commands into API calls as is the case with feature-driven orchestration, application-driven orchestration focuses on aggregating only the data necessary to execute a provisioning workflow. This data is encoded in a policy or template and handed over to the service to be acted upon. The service takes the policy or template and manages the provisioning process internally, ensuring that the expected order of operations is followed and eliminating the need for operators to handle exceptions and corner cases and special status codes themselves.

Application-driven orchestration offers a safer and more efficient approach to provisioning.

application-driven-provisioning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An application-driven orchestration approach not only accelerates application deployment and maintains a lower risk profile but it also enables application migration across disparate environments.

Configuring a service in one environment, driven by a specific provisioning or orchestration engine, is a very specific task. Moving the application and the service to, say,a cloud environment would mean duplicating that same effort again with another provisioning or orchestration engine.

An application-driven approach that leverages templates and policies, on the other hand, can make it possible to migrate an application without incurring the cost and time associated with the repetitive integration work required by feature-driven orchestration. The policy or template can migrate with the application and easily be used to provision the same services - with the same characteristics - in the cloud environment, without incurring a whole lot of time or effort.

APis are a good thing. They're a key enabler of software-defined architectures like SDDC, cloud and SDN. But API-enabling infrastructure doesn't necessarily mean only on a checkbox and radio-button basis. That can be valuable but it can also lead to integration efforts that are just as complex (or more so) than their manual counterparts. A template or policy-based (application-driven) approach  coupled with an API through which to deliver and execute such constructs results in a much cleaner, more consistent and stable means of integrating provisioning processes into the greater software-defined architecture.

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
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in Embedded and IoT solutions, 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. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and ...
18th Cloud Expo, taking place June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint Systems, Inc., a provider of innovative web and infrastructure monitoring solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's DevOps Summit at 18th Cloud Expo New York, which will take place June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into customer-critical services to help consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed...
While there has been much ado about interoperability, there are still no real solutions, same as last year and the year before that. The large EHR vendors who continue to dominate the market still maintain that interoperability is all but solved, still can't connect EHRs across the continuum causing frustration by providers and a disservice to patients. The ONC pays lip service to the problem, but that is about it. It is time for the healthcare industry to consider alternatives like middleware w...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies 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. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
The cloud era has reached the stage where it is no longer a question of whether a company should migrate, but when. Enterprises have embraced the outsourcing of where their various applications are stored and who manages them, saving significant investment along the way. Plus, the cloud has become a defining competitive edge. Companies that fail to successfully adapt risk failure. The media, of course, continues to extol the virtues of the cloud, including how easy it is to get there. Migrating...
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace. Traditional approaches for driving innovation are now woefully inadequate for keeping up with the breadth of disruption and change facin...
SYS-CON Events announced today that AppNeta, the leader in performance insight for business-critical web applications, will exhibit and present at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. AppNeta is the only application performance monitoring (APM) company to provide solutions for all applications – applications you develop internally, business-critical SaaS applications you use and the networks that deli...
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
Earlier this week, we hosted a Continuous Discussion (#c9d9) on Continuous Delivery (CD) automation and orchestration, featuring expert panelists Dondee Tan, Test Architect at Alaska Air, Taco Bakker, a LEAN Six Sigma black belt focusing on CD, and our own Sam Fell and Anders Wallgren. During this episode, we discussed the differences between CD automation and orchestration, their challenges with setting up CD pipelines and some of the common chokepoints, as well as some best practices and tips...
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
Automation is a critical component of DevOps and Continuous Delivery. This morning on #c9d9 we discussed CD Automation and how you can apply Automation to accelerate release cycles, improve quality, safety and governance? What is the difference between Automation and Orchestration? Where should you begin your journey to introduce both?
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
When I talk about driving innovation with self-organizing teams, I emphasize that such self-organization includes expecting the participants to organize their own teams, give themselves their own goals, and determine for themselves how to measure their success. In contrast, the definition of skunkworks points out that members of such teams are “usually specially selected.” Good thing he added the word usually – because specially selecting such teams throws a wrench in the entire works, limiting...
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of 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, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of 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, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Many banks and financial institutions are experimenting with containers in development environments, but when will they move into production? Containers are seen as the key to achieving the ultimate in information technology flexibility and agility. Containers work on both public and private clouds, and make it easy to build and deploy applications. The challenge for regulated industries is the cost and complexity of container security compliance. VM security compliance is already challenging, ...