Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Elizabeth White, Michael Bushong, Liz McMillan, Mark Cravotta, Stephen Boyer

Related Topics: SDN Journal, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Web 2.0, Cloud Expo, Big Data Journal

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.

Cloud Expo Breaking News
Over the last few years the healthcare ecosystem has revolved around innovations in Electronic Health Record (HER) based systems. This evolution has helped us achieve much desired interoperability. Now the focus is shifting to other equally important aspects – scalability and performance. While applying cloud computing environments to the EHR systems, a special consideration needs to be given to the cloud enablement of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), i.e., the largest single medical system in the United States.
It’s time to face reality: "Americans are from Mars, Europeans are from Venus," and in today’s increasingly connected world, understanding “inter-planetary” alignments and deviations is mission-critical for cloud. In her session at 15th Cloud Expo, Evelyn de Souza, Data Privacy and Compliance Strategy Leader at Cisco Systems, will discuss cultural expectations of privacy based on new research across these elements.
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, will discuss the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data and analysis are providing the pull to meet customer expectations of a widely connected, multi-dimensional universe of people, things, and information.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Esri has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Esri inspires and enables people to positively impact the future through a deeper, geographic understanding of the changing world around them. For more information, visit http://www.esri.com.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudian is a Foster City, Calif.-based software company specializing in cloud storage. Cloudian HyperStore® is an S3-compatible cloud object storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to build reliable, affordable and scalable hybrid cloud storage solutions. Cloudian actively partners with leading cloud computing environments including Amazon Web Services, Citrix Cloud Platform, Apache CloudStack, OpenStack and the vast ecosystem of S3 compatible tools and applications. Cloudian's customers include Vodafone, Nextel, NTT, Nifty, and LunaCloud. The company has additional offices in China and Japan.
There will be 50 billion Internet connected devices by 2020. Today, every manufacturer has a propriety protocol and an app. How do we securely integrate these "things" into our lives and businesses in a way that we can easily control and manage? Even better, how do we integrate these "things" so that they control and manage each other so our lives become more convenient or our businesses become more profitable and/or safe? We have heard that the best interface is no interface. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Co-Founder & CTO at Octoblu, Inc., will discuss how these devices generate enough data to learn our behaviors and simplify/improve our lives. What if we could connect everything to everything? I'm not only talking about connecting things to things but also systems, cloud services, and people. Add in a little machine learning and artificial intelligence and now we have something interesting...
After a couple of false starts, cloud-based desktop solutions are picking up steam, driven by trends such as BYOD and pervasive high-speed connectivity. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Seth Bostock, CEO of IndependenceIT, cuts through the hype and the acronyms, and discusses the emergence of full-featured cloud workspaces that do for the desktop what cloud infrastructure did for the server. He’ll discuss VDI vs DaaS, implementation strategies and evaluation criteria.
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, will explore the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research data, war stories, case studies, and recommendations.
Cloud Computing is evolving into a Big Three of Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. Cloud 360: Multi-Cloud Bootcamp, being held Nov 4–5, 2014, in conjunction with 15th Cloud Expo in Santa Clara, CA, delivers a real-world demonstration of how to deploy and configure a scalable and available web application on all three platforms. The Cloud 360 Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, an analyst with Gigaom Research, is the first bootcamp that introduces the core concepts of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) based on the workings of the Big Three platforms – Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine, and Azure VMs. Bootcamp attendees will get to see the big picture and also receive the knowledge needed to make the best cloud decisions for their business applications and entire enterprise IT organization.
“Distrix fits into the overall cloud and IoT model around software-defined networking. There’s a broad category around software-defined networking that’s focused on data center, and we focus on the WAN,” explained Jay Friedman, President of Distrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the Internet of @ThingsExpo, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Internet of @ThingsExpo 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading IoT industry players in the world.
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at 15th Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, Vice President, Product Strategy of LogMeIn's Xively IoT Platform, will show you how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
“The Internet of Things is a wave that has arrived and it’s growing really fast. The concern at Aria Systems is making sure that people understand the ramifications of their attempts to monetize whatever it is they build on the Internet of Things," explained C Brendan O’Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect at Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the Internet of @ThingsExpo, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Internet of @ThingsExpo 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading IoT industry players in the world.
The Internet of Things is a natural complement to the cloud and related technologies such as Big Data, analytics, and mobility. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Joe Weinman will lay out four generic strategies – digital disciplines – to exploit emerging digital technologies for strategic advantage. Joe Weinman has held executive leadership positions at Bell Labs, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, and Telx, in areas such as corporate strategy, business development, product management, operations, and R&D.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DevOps.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's “DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo,” which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. DevOps.com is where the world meets DevOps. It is the largest collection of original content relating to DevOps on the web today Featuring up-to-the-minute news, feature stories, blogs, bylined articles and more, DevOps.com is where the thought leaders of the DevOps movement make their ideas known.