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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...

About 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.

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Cloud Expo 2013 East Opening Keynote by IBM
In this Cloud Expo Keynote, Danny Sabbah, CTO & General Manager, Next Generation Platform, will detail the critical architectural considerations and success factors organizations must internalize to successfully implement, optimize and innovate using next generation architectures.
Lisa Larson, Vice President of Enterprise Cloud Solutions of Rackspace Hosting Live From New York City
In the old world of IT, if you didn't have hardware capacity or the budget to buy more, your project was dead in the water. Budget constraints can leave some of the best, most creative and most ingenious innovations on the cutting room floor. It's a true dilemma for developers and innovators – why spend the time creating, when a project could be abandoned in a blink? That was the old world. In the new world of IT, developers rule. They have access to resources they can spin up instantly. A hybrid cloud ignites innovation and empowers developers to focus on what they need. A hybrid cloud blends the best of all worlds, public cloud, private cloud and dedicated servers to fit the needs of developers and offer the ideal environment for each app and workload without the constraints of a one-size-fits-all cloud.

Keynote: Driving Cloud Innovation: SSDs Change Cloud Storage Paradigm
Cloud is a transformational shift in computing that can have a powerful effect on enterprise IT when designed correctly and used to its full potential. Join Citrix in a discussion that centers on building, connecting and empowering users with cloud services and hear examples of how enterprises are solving real-world business challenges with an architecture and solution purpose-built for the cloud.

Go Beyond IaaS to Deliver "Anything As a Service"
Many organizations want to expand upon the IaaS foundation to deliver cloud services in all forms—software, mobility, infrastructure and IT. Understanding the strategy, planning process and tools for this transformation will help catalyze changes in the way the business operates and deliver real value. Join us to learn about the new ITaaS model and how to begin the transformation.


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Top Stories for Cloud Expo 2012 East

In this "Cloud Trends" Power Panel at the 10th International Cloud Expo, moderated by Cloud Expo Conference Chair Jeremy Geelan, Karen Padir, EVP of Products & Engineering at EnterpriseDB, and Aaron Hollobaugh, VP of Marketing & Communications at Hostway Corporation, map the hottest areas of cloud computing right now, and share real-world examples of offerings that are generating value. ... (more)

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[June 11-14, 2012]

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There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Get a jump on that rapidly evolving trend at Big Data Expo, which we are introducing in June at
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AHMAR ABBAS
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With our launch at Cloud Expo, we successfully transformed the company from a relatively unknown European player into the dominant player in the market. Our competitors were taken by surprise and just blown away. We got a huge number of really high quality leads..."
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@CloudExpo Blogs

Modern organizations face great challenges as they embrace innovation and integrate new tools and services. They begin to mature and move away from the complacency of maintaining traditional technologies and systems that only solve individual, siloed problems and work “well enough.” In order to build...

The post Gearing up for Digital Transformation appeared first on PagerDuty.

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Privileged Identity Management (PIM) is the lowest common denominator in today’s most treacherous corporate and governmental security breaches. Or more accurately: Privilege Mismanagement. Sony, Target, Anthem, JP Morgan Chase, the city of San Francisco and many others succumbed to the reality that the identity of a single super-user account can be subverted for the purposes of manipulating sensitive organizational data, correspondence, commercial goods and intellectual property.
Thomas Bitman of Gartner wrote a blog post last year about why OpenStack projects fail. In that article, he outlined three particular metrics which together cause 60% of OpenStack projects to fall short of expectations: Wrong people (31% of failures): a successful cloud needs commitment both from the operations team as well as from "anchor" tenants. Wrong processes (19% of failures): a successful cloud automates across silos in the software development lifecycle, not just within silos.
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In a series of articles, I am going to share my thoughts on the state of IT infrastructure and how we've arrived with current architecture trends. The topic today is SAN. Storage Area Networking (SAN) is a technology that solved a real problem that existed a couple decades ago. SANs have been a foundational piece of IT infrastructure architecture for a long time and have helped drive major innovations in storage. But how relevant are SANs today in the age of software-defined datacenters? Let's talk about how we have arrived at modern storage architecture.
One of the many questions that companies face when introducing new enterprise systems either to provide new functionality or incorporate legacy systems from a merger or acquisition is "How do we identify and manage access rights?" Not only do new access approval processes need to be established, but a common platform to define and execute processes, reliably document approvals and provide users with an acceptable user experience is often not in place to handle the additional workload. Corporate IT is also faced with the challenge responding quickly to changes in access rules or approval chain...
A cybersecurity transformation discussion on how cloud security is rapidly advancing, and how enterprises can begin to prevail over digital disruption by increasingly using cloud-defined security. We'll examine how a secure content collaboration services provider removes the notion of organizational boundaries so that businesses can better extend processes. And we'll hear how less boundaries and cloud-based security together support transformative business benefits.
This complete kit provides a proven process and customizable documents that will help you evaluate rapid application delivery platforms and select the ideal partner for building mobile and web apps for your organization.
A recent CIO editorial by Bernard Golden regarding the future of private cloud spurred some interesting commentary in my network. The pushback seemed to focus around the viability of the term “private cloud”. These individuals are well-respected thought-leaders in cloud with significant experience guiding senior IT executives transition to modern architectures, so I decided I’d engage them in a discussion regarding the future of self-managed infrastructure as a whole.
A few years ago, those little iHome alarm clocks started to appear in hotel rooms. Cool gadgets that you could mount your mobile phone to battery charge or play the music on the device. We also had a few in our home. They worked perfectly for the iPhone4 since the connector was that 1 inch protruding plug. When I got the iPhone6, those clocks instantly became useless. Obsolete. At least the phone connector part lost its value.
The following fictional case study is a composite of actual horror stories I’ve heard over the years. Unfortunately, this scenario often occurs when in-house integration teams take on the complexities of DevOps and ALM integration with an enterprise service bus (ESB) or custom integration. It is written from the perspective of an enterprise architect tasked with leading an organization’s effort to adopt Agile to become more competitive. The company has turned to Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) as a way of scaling Agile, since initial attempts at Agile were not successful despite many scrum maste...
As cloud security is rapidly advancing, enterprises can begin to prevail over digital disruption by increasingly using cloud-defined security. The next BriefingsDirect cybersecurity innovation and transformation panel discussion explores how cloud security is rapidly advancing, and how enterprises can begin to innovate and prevail over digital disruption by increasingly using cloud-defined security. We'll examine how a secure content collaboration services provider removes the notion of organizational boundaries so that businesses can better extend processes. And we'll hear how less boundari...
Generally speaking, there are two kinds of companies in the world: data rich and data poor. The richest of the data rich are easy to name: Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple. But you don’t need to be at the top of this list to use data to create value. You need to have the tools in place to turn information (data) into action. That’s what the data rich do that the data poor and the data middle class do not.
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What The Enterprise IT World Says About Cloud Expo
 
"We had extremely positive feedback from both customers and prospects that attended the show and saw live demos of NaviSite's enterprise cloud based services."
  –William Toll
Sr. Director, Marketing & Strategic Alliances
Navisite
 


 
"More and better leads than ever expected! I have 4-6 follow ups personally."
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Univa UD
 


 
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CTO
Citrix Systems
 


 
"It's the largest cloud computing conference I've ever seen."
  –David Linthicum
CTO
Brick Group