Welcome!

@DevOpsSummit Authors: Automic Blog, Liz McMillan, Sujoy Sen, Flint Brenton, Pat Romanski

Blog Feed Post

Automation: More than saving keystrokes

It wasn’t that long ago that networking talk was all about the cost of equipment. With CapEx as the primary pain point, everyone was talking about merchant vs. custom silicon, with the primary argument being that a move to common components would provide margin relief in what has to be the most margin-sensitive industry in tech.

Now, with the whole world seemingly converged on a narrow set of silicon (congratulations, Broadcom), the conversation has been shifting. It started with a subtle expansion of the cost argument to include more than just CapEx. OpEx has always been around, but it is getting more play of late in marketing circles. And the OpEx argument itself is becoming more fully fleshed out. Where companies used to tout the easily measured stuff like rack space, power, and cooling, increasingly the discussion floats over into the more operational aspects of managing a network.

We are at the point now that automation is the new god to which we all must pay homage. But are we tossing around the automation word a little loosely?

First off, we should all be clear about something: automation is not about saving keystrokes. Sure, as a result of a highly-automated, well-orchestrated infrastructure, you might in fact put fingers to keyboard a little less frequently. But automation ought not be done with the sole objective of typing less.

The problem here is that the things that people best understand how to automate are relatively simple tasks that are annoying to execute. Typing in the same command 27 thousand times appears to be the ideal candidate for automation. And in response, some hacker in the organization figures out how to replace the command with a small shell script or equivalent. What used to take 13 minutes to execute now takes somewhere on the order of 7 seconds. Multiplied by the 27 thousand instances in a typical year, the time savings is both quantifiable and quite attractive. “We should do more of that!” proclaims the CIO.

And off the team goes to identify more of these commands.

But there aren’t that many commands that are repeated ubiquitously, uniformly, and in enough volume to really make a difference to the bottom line. Once you retire a couple of heavy hitters, eking out continual OpEx savings by “automating all the things” becomes harder and harder. Why?

This form of automation preys on the repeatably identical task. When something is done the exact same way every single time, regardless of context (either situation or environment), it is well-suited for being replaced with an easier-to-execute task. But as soon as the task requires some cognitive input from the operator (knowing when, where, or how to do something), this type of automation is far less powerful.

It is tempting to attribute this only to things that are shell scriptable, but the world of automation includes way more. We all know companies that are still managing infrastructure with expect scripts. When we bring up this type automation, whoever is speaking almost always oozes a little bit of derision, because we all know that this type of thing is primitive.

But is combing output for fields really that different from applying templates to configuration?

When you provision devices based on some template, you are really just pattern matching (isn’t that what expect does?) and then applying some formulaic logic. But somehow if you can sprinkle in the phrase DevOps or toss around one of the sexy provisioning tools (Chef, Puppet, Salt, or if you are particularly in the know, maybe Ansible), it seems a whole lot more substantial, doesn’t it?

My point here is not to put down the DevOps tools. Instead, I want to point out that how these tools are used is important. If you view tools like Chef or Ansible as a means of cutting out keystrokes (read: pushing config), then you are likely missing the point of automation.

What these types of tools are really trying to do is much more profound. The power goes well beyond putting an agent on a device and then pumping that device full of config. What these tools are doing is allowing you to create logic (some of it more sophisticated than others) to make intelligent decisions about how to provision a device.

For example, a switch might behave differently depending on what is attached to it. We all know about the role of edge policy (VLANs, ACLs, QOS, and so on) as it relates to managing traffic on the network. So if a top-of-rack switch is attached to one type of device (or VM or application), you might want one behavior, and if it is something else, maybe you want a different type of behavior. It is not just the configuration; it is the right configuration based on the particular context.

This combination of context and intelligence is what makes automation powerful. And the more context that is available and actionable, the more fancy you can get with the automation.

This means that whatever automation framework you are using (anything from shell script to full DevOps environment) must be capable of both performing an action, and pulling in information to establish context for that action. We are quite focused on the first part, but the context is what will make automation more or less powerful. The act of executing a sequence of activities is interesting, but having logic to determine what to do is paradigm-changing.

Put differently, if your automation infrastructure is only capable of making left turns regardless of what is happening on the roads, no matter how elegant or fast the turns, you will still end up going in circles.

[Today’s fun fact: Babies are born without knee caps. They don’t appear until the child reaches 2 to 6 years of age. Creepy.]

The post Automation: More than saving keystrokes appeared first on Plexxi.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Michael Bushong

The best marketing efforts leverage deep technology understanding with a highly-approachable means of communicating. Plexxi's Vice President of Marketing Michael Bushong has acquired these skills having spent 12 years at Juniper Networks where he led product management, product strategy and product marketing organizations for Juniper's flagship operating system, Junos. Michael spent the last several years at Juniper leading their SDN efforts across both service provider and enterprise markets. Prior to Juniper, Michael spent time at database supplier Sybase, and ASIC design tool companies Synopsis and Magma Design Automation. Michael's undergraduate work at the University of California Berkeley in advanced fluid mechanics and heat transfer lend new meaning to the marketing phrase "This isn't rocket science."

@DevOpsSummit Stories
In the world of DevOps there are ‘known good practices’ – aka ‘patterns’ – and ‘known bad practices’ – aka ‘anti-patterns.' Many of these patterns and anti-patterns have been developed from real world experience, especially by the early adopters of DevOps theory; but many are more feasible in theory than in practice, especially for more recent entrants to the DevOps scene. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Chair Andi Mann, panelists will discuss the patterns and anti-patterns of DevOps, and what it means to ‘do the right thing’ in a DevOps...
Many private cloud projects were built to deliver self-service access to development and test resources. While those clouds delivered faster access to resources, they lacked visibility, control and security needed for production deployments. In their session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steve Anderson, Product Manager at BMC Software, and Rick Lefort, Principal Technical Marketing Consultant at BMC Software, will discuss how a cloud designed for production operations not only helps accelerate developer innovation, it also delivers the control that IT Operations needs to run a production cloud without...
Much of the value of DevOps comes from a (renewed) focus on measurement, sharing, and continuous feedback loops. In increasingly complex DevOps workflows and environments, and especially in larger, regulated, or more crystallized organizations, these core concepts become even more critical. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, will show how, by focusing on 'metrics that matter,' you can provide objective, transparent, and meaningful feedback on DevOps processes to all stakeholders. Learn from real-life examples how to use the dat...
Peak 10, Inc., has announced the implementation of IT service management, a business process alignment initiative based on the widely adopted Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework. The implementation of IT service management enhances Peak 10’s current service-minded approach to IT delivery by propelling the company to deliver higher levels of personalized and prompt service. The majority of Peak 10’s operations employees have been trained and certified in the ITIL framework, allowing the immediate improvement of the customer experience while shaping one cohesive ecosy...
SYS-CON Events announced today the Docker Meets Kubernetes – Intro into the Kubernetes World, being held June 9, 2016, in conjunction with 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Register for 'Docker Meets Kubernetes Workshop' Here! This workshop led by Sebastian Scheele, co-founder of Loodse, introduces participants to Kubernetes (container orchestration). Through a combination of instructor-led presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on labs, participants learn the key concepts and practices for setting up and maintaining container-based applications using Goo...
As the rapid adoption of containers continues, companies are finding that they lack the operational tools to understand the behavior of applications deployed in these containers, and how to identify issues in their application infrastructure. For example, how are multiple containers within an application impacting each other’s performance? If an application’s service is degraded, which container is to blame? In the case of an application outage, what was the root cause of the outage?
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, 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. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus internal resources on core competencies.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Internap Corporation has expanded its OpenStack-based bare-metal Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering, AgileSERVER 2.0, to its data centers in Amsterdam, Dallas and Santa Clara, Calif. Launched in 2015 out of Internap’s New York Metro data center in Secaucus, N.J., AgileSERVER 2.0 is now available in four locations globally, enabling enterprises and devops teams running mission-critical applications and big data workloads to build scale-out infrastructure environments that are higher performing and more cost-effective than commodity public cloud platforms.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, 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. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud communications, cloud connectivity, and cloud computing. Fusion's innovative, yet proven cloud solu...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics 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. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
Between the mockups and specs produced by analysts, and resulting applications built by developers, there exists a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral, and applications disappoint. Methodologies like Agile attempt to address this with intensified communication, with partial success but many limitations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Charles Kendrick, CTO & Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, will present a revolutionary model enabled by new technologies. Learn how business and development users can collaborate - each using tools appropriate to their expertise - to build mockups an...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Stratoscale, the software company developing the next generation data center operating system, 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. Stratoscale is revolutionizing the data center with a zero-to-cloud-in-minutes solution. With Stratoscale’s hardware-agnostic, Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) solution to store everything, run anything and scale everywhere, IT is empowered to take control of their data centers. Stratoscale is offering a Hyperconverged cl...
Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified – now it's a component-based well-performing framework. This immersive one-day workshop at 18th Cloud Expo, led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay, will provide you with everything you wanted to know about Angular 2.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay 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. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support, the Men & Mice Suite is taking overlay dexterity one step further into the cloud through full suppo...
This is not a small hotel event. It is also not a big vendor party where politicians and entertainers are more important than real content. This is Cloud Expo, the world's longest-running conference and exhibition focused on Cloud Computing and all that it entails. If you want serious presentations and valuable insight about Cloud Computing for three straight days, then register now for Cloud Expo.
New Relic, Inc. has announced a set of new features across the New Relic Software Analytics Cloud that offer IT operations teams increased visibility, and the ability to diagnose and resolve performance problems quickly. The new features further IT operations teams’ ability to leverage data and analytics, as well as drive collaboration and a common, shared understanding between teams. Software teams are under pressure to resolve performance issues quickly and improve availability, as the complexity of software architectures they manage ranges from more traditional on-premises IT systems to th...
The proper isolation of resources is essential for multi-tenant environments. The traditional approach to isolate resources is, however, rather heavyweight. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Igor Drobiazko, co-founder of elastic.io, will draw upon their own experience with operating a Docker container-based infrastructure on a large scale and present a lightweight solution for resource isolation using microservices. He will also discuss the implementation of microservices in data and application integration in general, share the challenges they ran into using open source technologies like A...
Join IBM June 8 at 18th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn how to innovate like a startup and scale for the enterprise. You need to deliver quality applications faster and cheaper, attract and retain customers with an engaging experience across devices, and seamlessly integrate your enterprise systems. And you can't take 12 months to do it.
SYS-CON Events announced today TMCnet 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. Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC) is the world's leading business-to-business and integrated marketing media company, servicing niche markets within the communications and technology industries.
SYS-CON Events announced today that (ISC)²® (“ISC-squared”) 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. Two leading non-profits focused on cloud and information security, (ISC)² and Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), developed the Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) certification to address the increased demand for cloud security expertise due to rapid growth in cloud. Recently named “The Next Big Thing”, the CCSP is the #1 certification survey respondents plan to earn in 2016, according to ...
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 for digital business, Catchpoint is the only end-user experience monitoring (EUM) platform that can...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Column Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Established in 1998, Column Technologies is a global technology solutions provider with over 400 employees, headquartered in the United States with offices in Canada, India, and the United Kingdom. Column Technologies provides “Best of Breed” technology solutions that automate the key DevOps principals and help our customers meet today’s DevOps and Digital Transformation challenges.
SYS-CON Events announced today that FalconStor Software® Inc., a 15-year innovator of software-defined storage 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. FalconStor Software®, Inc. (NASDAQ: FALC) is a leading software-defined storage company offering a converged, hardware-agnostic, software-defined storage and data services platform. Its flagship solution FreeStor®, utilizes a horizontal architecture that unlocks a new world of storage opportunities, allowing IT managers, MSPs, and CS...