Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Stackify Blog, Aruna Ravichandran, Dalibor Siroky, Kevin Jackson, PagerDuty Blog

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Feed Post

User Experience Drives DevOps | @DevOpsSummit @CloudTest #DevOps #Jenkins #Containers

Without version control, there is no reliable way to know what a given unit of work contains

It's Continuous with Jenkins: User Experience Drives DevOps Focus

I recently attended and presented at the east coast version of the Jenkins User Conference held this year in Washington, DC.  The weather certainly fit the theme of the conference:  The heat was continuous. The humidity was fully integrated with the heat. And, most importantly as you can see above, SWAG was out in full force.

State of the State
Right from the opening keynote by the founder of Jenkins, Kohsuke Kawaguchi, this conference was jam-packed with all the latest capabilities of Jenkins, including discussions around the new capabilities like workflow, and several sessions on Linux containers, micro-services, and, everyone’s favorite topic, DevOps.

I was fortunate enough to be able to speak on SOASTA’s behalf on one of my favorite topics — continuous integration — with my session appropriately named It’s Not Called Continuous Integration (CI) for Nothing!

In this session, I dug deep into continuous integration and the key factors that make up the overall CI process. I covered:

  • the relationships and process flows between change management, configuration management, and release/build management;
  • how the CI process, when coupled with a solid performance engineering discipline across the product lifecycle, can result in a better user experience for web and mobile applications; and
  • the entire lifecycle, the “conveyor belt” of the application lifecycle, with a concentration on these three processes — or as I call them, “The Big 3″ — that support the overall CI strategy.

As our ultimate example, since SOASTA “doesn’t have a dog in this hunt” as the saying goes (i.e., we do not offer products in this space, but we do use products in this space to build our solutions), I walked the session attendees through the SOASTA product lifecycle and how SOASTA uses Jenkins to bring world-class products to market with speed, quality, and efficiency.  You can view the session online, but let’s cover some highlights.

The four main takeaways from my session

1. Configuration management is more than version control
Without version control, there is no reliable way to know what a given unit of work contains. At any point in the development-testing-release process, the first debugging question should always be “What changed?” A version control system helps answer that question — but it’s not the whole story.

Version control typically covers just the code under development, whereas configuration management covers the entire process that includes not only  software, but hardware, tests, documentation, connection pool settings, other configuration files, and more. It identifies every end-user component and tracks every proposed and approved change to it from Day 1 of the project to the day the project ends.

Configuration management also ensures reproducible builds. It removes the waste of manually assembling code. Reproducibility is a key component of safety: you can’t safely deliver frequent changes if you don’t know what you’re releasing.

Few things are more frustrating to hear than this: “It worked on my machine.” Environmental inconsistency is the primary cause of this situation. Manual system configuration exacerbates consistency problems and it’s common for developers to be running different versions of an SDK. They also often test against system software that differs from the software running in the integration environment. That environment, in turn, doesn’t match production. The result is pure waste.

Fortunately, this problem can be solved using configuration automation and by treating infrastructure as code. A single set of configuration scripts can be used to provision development, testing and production environments. Consistent deployment of configuration changes across large numbers of environments and machines becomes as simple as checking in a configuration script change. This is one of SOASTA’s internal best practices. It should be yours, too.

A sound configuration management process can ensure that the functionality and performance and physical attributes are known, and managed, across the lifecycle. A good user experience (UX) starts here, whether you are developing with an agile, lean, waterfall or other process.  This is the foundation for the “Big 3″, and a key part of any solid DevOps environment.

2. Understand change management (aka “The only constant is change”)
This one seems simple, and it is… if done right. This process involves the identification of potential changes to an application, no matter where it is in its lifecycle — from day one to sunset.

In reality, potential changes should only originate from two places:

The business owner/customer who requests that the application be developed (e.g. submitting a requirement), and a bug which can originate from an end-user through a ticketing system (e.g. a problem report or a feature request), or internally from QA during any of the different testing phases for any and all functional and performance tests that should be executed continuously across the development lifecycle.

3. Know the difference between release management vs. build management
Even though I’ve seen these two terms used interchangeably by way too many vendors (including a few key two- and three-letter acronyms in my work history, these two processes are not the same.

The standard definition of a release is “a set of approved changes or features approved for the application”. This may consist of several change requests that have several new features being added, as well as several problem report resolutions that impact features being added/changed in this particular release.

A build, on the other hand, is typically an incremental set of requirements/changes/problem resolutions, that in the CI process world are released and TESTED incrementally throughout each testing process in the conveyor belt (e.g., functional testing and performance testing in Dev, Test/QA and in pre-production/staging).

Continuous integration build failures may be relatively quick and easy to fix. As much as possible, however, they should be avoided. Development teams should have the goal of checking in complete, correct code. The further “shift left” in the lifecycle you find a bug, the less costly it is to fix. Finding bugs prior to check-in is less costly still than finding them during a continuous integration build.

The best way to catch bugs prior to check-in is to have developers and testers work together, rather than to treat testing as a post-coding activity. Short-lived feature branches are ideal for this purpose. Developers and testers can share, review and run each other’s code. By running the test suite locally, they can minimize the likelihood of discovering bugs later in the lifecycle.

The value of running tests depends on the quality and completeness of the tests. In a continuous integration environment, tests are code just like any other code. Story planning needs to account for test development time. Development teams need to pay as much attention to specifying needed tests as they do to specifying needed functions. Test specification needs to account for both non-functional (e.g. performance testing) and functional validation.

Without a good test foundation for your CI process, your application will end up just like this slide presented during the Jenkins User Conference keynote:

performance testing: deployment problem

4. Final takeaway on continuous integration: Achieving high-speed cycle times requires automation of more than just the test itself
SOASTA’s internal approach is particularly conducive to compressing the SDLC of web and mobile applications through the use of CI tools and best practices involving the key processes above, all the while coupled with a solid performance engineering process.

When combined with Jenkins/Hudson, for example, it is possible to automate the entire process from build through test and into reporting and diagnostics. Results are displayed in a common interface and automated regression testing can be done completely hands off. This alone would not necessarily obviate the need for any manual testing, but it does make automation, maintenance, and reusability accessible to developers and testers to achieve speed with a quality focus.

The best thing about the way SOASTA implements these best practices in our own products. We make them available to our customers. You can install TouchTest and CloudTest for free to try them out for yourself:

  • Our mobile functional test automation solution, TouchTest, is tightly integrated with Jenkins. Test results can be seen in Jenkins and drilldowns provided for test results, regression testing, and current build status/completion.
  • Our CloudTest solution is also tightly integrated with Jenkins (or Hudson), and provides the same capability as the TouchTest solution.

If you have any questions about either of these testing solutions — or testing in general — I’m always here to answer.

performance testing

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By SOASTA Blog

The SOASTA platform enables digital business owners to gain unprecedented and continuous performance insights into their real user experience on mobile and web devices in real time and at scale.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
How is DevOps going within your organization? If you need some help measuring just how well it is going, we have prepared a list of some key DevOps metrics to track. These metrics can help you understand how your team is doing over time. The word DevOps means different things to different people. Some say it a culture and every vendor in the industry claims that their tools help with DevOps. Depending on how you define DevOps, some of these metrics may matter more or less to you and your team.
For many of us laboring in the fields of digital transformation, 2017 was a year of high-intensity work and high-reward achievement. So we’re looking forward to a little breather over the end-of-year holiday season. But we’re going to have to get right back on the Continuous Delivery bullet train in 2018. Markets move too fast and customer expectations elevate too precipitously for businesses to rest on their laurels. Here’s a DevOps “to-do list” for 2018 that should be priorities for anyone w...
If testing environments are constantly unavailable and affected by outages, release timelines will be affected. You can use three metrics to measure stability events for specific environments and plan around events that will affect your critical path to release.
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
DevOps failure is a touchy subject with some, because DevOps is typically perceived as a way to avoid failure. As a result, when you fail in a DevOps practice, the situation can seem almost hopeless. However, just as a fail-fast business approach, or the “fail and adjust sooner” methodology of Agile often proves, DevOps failures are actually a step in the right direction. They’re the first step toward learning from failures and turning your DevOps practice into one that will lead you toward even...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
While walking around the office I happened upon a relatively new employee dragging emails from his inbox into folders. I asked why and was told, “I’m just answering emails and getting stuff off my desk.” An empty inbox may be emotionally satisfying to look at, but in practice, you should never do it. Here’s why. I recently wrote a piece arguing that from a mathematical perspective, Messy Desks Are Perfectly Optimized. While it validated the genius of my friends with messy desks, it also gener...
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...
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
The enterprise data storage marketplace is poised to become a battlefield. No longer the quiet backwater of cloud computing services, the focus of this global transition is now going from compute to storage. An overview of recent storage market history is needed to understand why this transition is important. Before 2007 and the birth of the cloud computing market we are witnessing today, the on-premise model hosted in large local data centers dominated enterprise storage. Key marketplace play...
The cloud revolution in enterprises has very clearly crossed the phase of proof-of-concepts into a truly mainstream adoption. One of most popular enterprise-wide initiatives currently going on are “cloud migration” programs of some kind or another. Finding business value for these programs is not hard to fathom – they include hyperelasticity in infrastructure consumption, subscription based models, and agility derived from rapid speed of deployment of applications. These factors will continue to...
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 ...
Following a tradition dating back to 2002 at ZapThink and continuing at Intellyx since 2014, it’s time for Intellyx’s annual predictions for the coming year. If you’re a long-time fan, you know we have a twist to the typical annual prediction post: we actually critique our predictions from the previous year. To make things even more interesting, Charlie and I switch off, judging the other’s predictions. And now that he’s been with Intellyx for more than a year, this Cortex represents my first ...
"Grape Up leverages Cloud Native technologies and helps companies build software using microservices, and work the DevOps agile way. We've been doing digital innovation for the last 12 years," explained Daniel Heckman, of Grape Up 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.
The Toyota Production System, a world-renowned production system is based on the "complete elimination of all waste". The "Toyota Way", grounded on continuous improvement dates to the 1860s. The methodology is widely proven to be successful yet there are still industries within and tangential to manufacturing struggling to adopt its core principles: Jidoka: a process should stop when an issue is identified prevents releasing defective products
We seem to run this cycle with every new technology that comes along. A good idea with practical applications is born, then both marketers and over-excited users start to declare it is the solution for all or our problems. Compliments of Gartner, we know it generally as “The Hype Cycle”, but each iteration is a little different. 2018’s flavor will be serverless computing, and by 2018, I mean starting now, but going most of next year, you’ll be sick of it. We are already seeing people write such...
Defining the term ‘monitoring’ is a difficult task considering the performance space has evolved significantly over the years. Lately, there has been a shift in the monitoring world, sparking a healthy debate regarding the definition and purpose of monitoring, through which a new term has emerged: observability. Some of that debate can be found in blogs by Charity Majors and Cindy Sridharan.
It’s “time to move on from DevOps and continuous delivery.” This was the provocative title of a recent article in ZDNet, in which Kelsey Hightower, staff developer advocate at Google Cloud Platform, suggested that “software shops should have put these concepts into action years ago.” Reading articles like this or listening to talks at most DevOps conferences might make you think that we’re entering a post-DevOps world. But vast numbers of organizations still struggle to start and drive transfo...
Let's do a visualization exercise. Imagine it's December 31, 2018, and you're ringing in the New Year with your friends and family. You think back on everything that you accomplished in the last year: your company's revenue is through the roof thanks to the success of your product, and you were promoted to Lead Developer. 2019 is poised to be an even bigger year for your company because you have the tools and insight to scale as quickly as demand requires. You're a happy human, and it's not just...
"Opsani helps the enterprise adopt containers, help them move their infrastructure into this modern world of DevOps, accelerate the delivery of new features into production, and really get them going on the container path," explained Ross Schibler, CEO of Opsani, and Peter Nickolov, CTO of Opsani, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.