Click here to close now.


@DevOpsSummit Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, AppDynamics Blog, XebiaLabs Blog, Wayne Ariola

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

@DevOpsSummit: Article

I’m Not Scared of #DevOps | @DevOpsSummit #BigData #Docker #Containers

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.

@DevOpsSummit Stories
DevOps has often been described in terms of CAMS: Culture, Automation, Measuring, Sharing. While we’ve seen a lot of focus on the “A” and even on the “M”, there are very few examples of why the “C" is equally important in the DevOps equation. In her session at @DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, of F5 Networks, will explore HTTP/1 and HTTP/2 along with Microservices to illustrate why a collaborative culture between Dev, Ops, and the Network is critical to ensuring success.
Today, we are in the middle of a paradigm shift as we move from managing applications on VMs and containers to embracing everything that the cloud and XaaS (Everything as a Service) has to offer. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Kevin Hoffman, Advisory Solutions Architect at Pivotal Cloud Foundry, will provide an overview of 12-factor apps and migrating enterprise apps to the cloud. Kevin Hoffman is an Advisory Solutions Architect for Pivotal Cloud Foundry, and has spent the past 20 years building enterprise and mobile software for small businesses, massive enterprises, and everything in ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that has been named a "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit Silicon Valley, which will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. provides open-source software ELK turned into a log analytics platform that is simple, infinitely- scalable, highly available, and secure.
DevOps delivers remarkable results. But does it help all of IT? Can traditional ‘mode 1’ IT benefit as much as innovative ‘mode 2’? How about the rest of your business? Or have you just shifted your bottleneck? And if so, what can you do about it? Improving dev and ops is necessary, but not sufficient. It often just shifts the burden sideways (e.g., to PMs, SQA, InfoSec, DBAs, NOC, etc.), upstream (to the PMO, Controller, Business Liaison, etc.), or downstream (to TechPubs, Service Desk, Training, etc.).
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo® and DevOps Summit 2015 Silicon Valley, which will take place November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Alert Logic provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid IT infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions.
Clearly the way forward is to move to cloud be it bare metal, VMs or containers. One aspect of the current public clouds that is slowing this cloud migration is cloud lock-in. Every cloud vendor is trying to make it very difficult to move out once a customer has chosen their cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Naveen Nimmu, CEO of Clouber, Inc., will advocate that making the inter-cloud migration as simple as changing airlines would help the entire industry to quickly adopt the cloud without worrying about any lock-in fears. In fact by having standard APIs for IaaS would help PaaS expl...
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ability. Many are unable to effectively engage and inspire, creating forward momentum in the direction...
Mobile, social, Big Data, and cloud have fundamentally changed the way we live. “Anytime, anywhere” access to data and information is no longer a luxury; it’s a requirement, in both our personal and professional lives. For IT organizations, this means pressure has never been greater to deliver meaningful services to the business and customers.
Clutch is now a Docker Authorized Consulting Partner, having completed Docker's certification course on the "Docker Accelerator for CI Engagements." More info about Clutch's success implementing Docker can be found here. Docker is an open platform for developers and system administrators to build, ship and run distributed applications. With Docker, IT organizations shrink application delivery from months to minutes, frictionlessly move workloads between data centers and the cloud and achieve 20x greater efficiency in their use of computing resources. Inspired by an active community and trans...
For almost two decades, businesses have discovered great opportunities to engage with customers and even expand revenue through digital systems, including web and mobile applications. Yet, even now, the conversation between the business and the technologists that deliver these systems is strained, in large part due to misaligned objectives. In his session at DevOps Summit, James Urquhart, Senior Vice President of Performance Analytics at SOASTA, Inc., will discuss how measuring user outcomes – including how the performance, flow and content of your digital systems affects those outcomes – ca...
DevOps is gaining traction in the federal government – and for good reasons. Heightened user expectations are pushing IT organizations to accelerate application development and support more innovation. At the same time, budgetary constraints require that agencies find ways to decrease the cost of developing, maintaining, and running applications. IT now faces a daunting task: do more and react faster than ever before – all with fewer resources.
The cloud has reached mainstream IT. Those 18.7 million data centers out there (server closets to corporate data centers to colocation deployments) are moving to the cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Achim Weiss, CEO & co-founder of ProfitBricks, will share how two companies – one in the U.S. and one in Germany – are achieving their goals with cloud infrastructure. More than a case study, he will share the details of how they prioritized their cloud computing infrastructure deployments and the details they’ve learned. From performance to network configurations, they've got interesting...
Decisions about budgets and resources are often made without IT even having a seat at the table. As technologist we understand the value of DevOps - but do your business counterparts? If they don't, your DevOps initiatives could lose funding before they start. In her session at DevOps Summit, Jeanne Morain, Strategist / Author at iSpeak Cloud, LLC, will provide insights on how to bridge the gap between business and technology leaders. Attendees will learn prescriptive guidance on balancing workloads, critical communication processes and considerations for building out a solid return-on-inves...
The modern software development landscape consists of best practices and tools that allow teams to deliver software in a near-continuous manner. By adopting a culture of automation, measurement and sharing, the time to ship code has been greatly reduced, allowing for shorter release cycles and quicker feedback from customers and users. Still, with all of these tools and methods, how can teams stay on top of what is taking place across their infrastructure and codebase? Hopping between services and command line interfaces creates context-switching that slows productivity, efficiency, and may le...
While testing is often ignored when it comes to DevOps - it could be the most important aspect of achieving true DevOps success. Without rethinking automated testing from the ground-up, the entire DevOps productivity gain cannot be realized. Large tech companies build their own rapid test automation that runs in minutes across functional, performance, security and other tests. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kevin Surace, CEO of Appvance, will discuss how we learn from these real-world successes and achieve a 95% time reduction in creating and running automated unified tests. Otherwise ent...
SYS-CON Events announced today that JFrog, maker of Artifactory, the popular Binary Repository Manager, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Based in California, Israel and France, founded by longtime field-experts, JFrog, creator of Artifactory and Bintray, has provided the market with the first Binary Repository solution and a software distribution social platform.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. 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.
Docker is hot. However, as Docker container use spreads into more mature production pipelines, there can be issues about control of Docker images to ensure they are production-ready. Is a promotion-based model appropriate to control and track the flow of Docker images from development to production? In his session at DevOps Summit, Fred Simon, Co-founder and Chief Architect of JFrog, will demonstrate how to implement a promotion model for Docker images using a binary repository, and then show how to distribute them to any kind of consumer, being it a customer or a data center.
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 D...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Raxak has been named “Media & Session Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Raxak Protect automates security compliance across private and public clouds. Using the SaaS tool or managed service, developers can deploy cloud apps quickly, cost-effectively, and without error.
The principles behind DevOps are not new - for decades people have been automating system administration and decreasing the time to deploy apps and perform other management tasks. However, only recently did we see the tools and the will necessary to share the benefits and power of automation with a wider circle of people. In his session at DevOps Summit, Bernard Sanders, Chief Technology Officer at CloudBolt Software, will explore the latest tools including Puppet, Chef, Docker, and CMPs needed to move from an insulated culture where automation is absent or hoarded to one where the power of ...
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by mining large volumes of unstructured data, and how data tracking delivers uptime when it matters most.
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
At first adopted by enterprises to consolidate physical servers, virtualization is now widely used in cloud computing to offer elasticity and scalability. On the other hand, Docker has developed a new way to handle Linux containers, inspired by version control software such as Git, which allows you to keep all development versions. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Dominique Rodrigues, the co-founder and CTO of Nanocloud Software, will discuss how in order to also handle QEMU / KVM virtual machines versions, they have developed a new tool, called Vm_commit, which can create commits, backup ...
Even though you are running an agile development process, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your performance testing is being conducted in a truly agile way. Saving performance testing for a “final sprint” before release still treats it like a waterfall development step, with all the cost and risk that comes with that. In this post, we will show you how to make load testing happen early and often by putting SLAs on the agile task board.