Welcome!

DevOps Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Trevor Parsons, Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: DevOps Journal, Java, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Cloud Expo, SDN Journal

DevOps Journal: Blog Feed Post

Application-Driven vs Feature-Driven Orchestration

One of the challenges in scaling modern data centers rises directly from an increase in network complexity

One of the challenges in scaling modern data centers rises directly from an increase in network complexity over the past few years. We can argue why complexity has increased, but it's reasonable to say that scaling data centers means more boxes - more servers, more network gear, more middle boxes - and every device (or service) you add increases the complexity of the topology and thus the operational overhead to manage it. Organizations agree - things are somewhat or substantially getting more complex.

changes in ntework complexity

Software-defined architectures attempt to answer this challenge (among several others) by operationalizing the network. By using APIs to orchestrate provisioning processes and enable the integration necessary to make use of actionable monitoring data generated by various systems across the data center, software-defined architectures accelerate application deployments and reduce risk by eliminating a source of error - manual configuration.

Now, you might think that's where it all ends. But it doesn't. Because the way in which an API is presented and used to enable automation and orchestration can actually introduce the very same complexity that it attempts to address in the first place.

There are basically two ways to approach provisioning and orchestration: application-driven or feature-driven.

Feature-Driven Orchestration

Feature-driven orchestration is so named because the granularity of the API is, basically, at a feature (or capability) level. What that means is that the API exposes individual configuration options and automation systems must invoke each one (often in the right order) to achieve the desired result.

Something like a simple load balancing service is simple only from the perspective of execution, not configuration. A load balancing service requires a virtual IP address (the end point to which clients connect), a pool of resources (each with their own IP addresses and potentially VLAN membership), an algorithm and any associated thresholds and metrics that may be required and health monitors to ensure compliance with availability and performance expectations.

You can imagine that, if the number of applications being load balanced by this service is large enough, that the number of repetitive steps required to configure the service will become as unwieldy as a manual configuration.

feature-driven-integrationThe same is true of other application services typically provided by the network, such as those concerned with performance, security and access. Each has a unique set of "steps" that must be performed in the right order to provision a service.

Feature-driven orchestration requires the provisioning engine (or orchestration system) to drive each and every step. That adds complexity to an already complex process, because you really are just tossing a thin veneer of "automation" over an existing method of configuration. Feature-driven orchestration is pretty much manual configuration (line by line) driven by a script. Instead of worrying about fat-fingering a parameter, now you have to worry about catching fifteen or twenty different exceptions and status results and handling them properly from a script.

Application-Driven Orchestration

Application-driven orchestration, on the other hand, takes advantage of constructs like service templates and policies to enable a less complex method of integration with provisioning and orchestration systems.

Rather than focus on encapsulating commands into API calls as is the case with feature-driven orchestration, application-driven orchestration focuses on aggregating only the data necessary to execute a provisioning workflow. This data is encoded in a policy or template and handed over to the service to be acted upon. The service takes the policy or template and manages the provisioning process internally, ensuring that the expected order of operations is followed and eliminating the need for operators to handle exceptions and corner cases and special status codes themselves.

Application-driven orchestration offers a safer and more efficient approach to provisioning.

application-driven-provisioning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An application-driven orchestration approach not only accelerates application deployment and maintains a lower risk profile but it also enables application migration across disparate environments.

Configuring a service in one environment, driven by a specific provisioning or orchestration engine, is a very specific task. Moving the application and the service to, say,a cloud environment would mean duplicating that same effort again with another provisioning or orchestration engine.

An application-driven approach that leverages templates and policies, on the other hand, can make it possible to migrate an application without incurring the cost and time associated with the repetitive integration work required by feature-driven orchestration. The policy or template can migrate with the application and easily be used to provision the same services - with the same characteristics - in the cloud environment, without incurring a whole lot of time or effort.

APis are a good thing. They're a key enabler of software-defined architectures like SDDC, cloud and SDN. But API-enabling infrastructure doesn't necessarily mean only on a checkbox and radio-button basis. That can be valuable but it can also lead to integration efforts that are just as complex (or more so) than their manual counterparts. A template or policy-based (application-driven) approach  coupled with an API through which to deliver and execute such constructs results in a much cleaner, more consistent and stable means of integrating provisioning processes into the greater software-defined architecture.

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.

@DevOpsSummit Stories
“DevOps is really about the business. The business is under pressure today, competitively in the marketplace to respond to the expectations of the customer. The business is driving IT and the problem is that IT isn't responding fast enough," explained Mark Levy, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Serena Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
We are all here because we are sold on the transformative promise of The Cloud. But what good is all of this ephemeral, on-demand infrastructure if your usage doesn't actually improve the agility and speed of your business? How must Operations adapt in order to avoid stifling your Cloud initiative? In his session at DevOps Summit, Damon Edwards, co-founder and managing partner of the DTO Solutions, will highlight the successful organizational, process, and tooling patterns of high-performing companies that have reshaped their Operations to enable the business to get full value from their Clo...
“We help people build clusters, in the classical sense of the cluster. We help people put a full stack on top of every single one of those machines. We do the full bare metal install," explained Greg Bruno, Vice President of Engineering and co-founder of StackIQ, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
AppDynamics, the application intelligence leader for software-defined businesses, announced the general availability of the AppDynamics Fall '14 Release. Serving the combined needs of IT and business teams across the enterprise, the latest release provides a comprehensive view across all aspects of digital performance in ultra large scale deployments. AppDynamics delivers Application Intelligence by building out advanced capabilities across the key areas of analytics, unified monitoring and DevOps. The Fall '14 Release of the AppDynamics Application Intelligence platform introduces: powe...
CloudBees, Inc., has announced a $23.5 million financing round, led by longtime CloudBees investor Lightspeed Venture Partners. Existing investors Matrix Partners, Verizon Ventures and Blue Cloud Ventures also participated in the round. The latest funding announcement follows earlier rounds of $4 million, $10.5 million and $10.8 million, bringing the total investment in CloudBees to just under $50 million since the company’s inception in 2010. Previous venture investment rounds were led by Matrix Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Verizon Ventures with participation from Blue Cloud Vent...
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, explored the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research data, war stories, case studies, and recommendations on how to: Embrace, source, consume, and expose shared...
DevOps means different things to different people. Qubell defines DevOps as the ability for the developer teams to do what they need to do to have this level of self-service. At DevOps Summit, Stan Klimoff, CTO of Qubell, demos the enterprise DevOps platform.
The term culture has had a polarizing effect among DevOps supporters. Some propose that culture change is critical for success with DevOps, but are remiss to define culture. Some talk about a DevOps culture but then reference activities that could lead to culture change and there are those that talk about culture change as a set of behaviors that need to be adopted by those in IT. There is no question that businesses successful in adopting a DevOps mindset have seen departmental culture change, the question remains, is culture the leading edge of this change? I posit that in large enterprises,...
CA Technologies released a new study – “DevOps: The Worst-Kept Secret to Winning in the Application Economy” – that reveals that 82% of enterprises in Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) already have or plan to adopt a DevOps strategy, a 12 point increase from last year’s figure of 70%. DevOps is a methodology which helps foster collaboration between the teams that create and test applications (Dev) with those that maintain them in production environments (Ops). Vanson Bourne conducted the survey with 1,425 senior IT and business leaders worldwide, including 650 respondents from six APJ countries: A...
"Our premise is Docker is not enough. That's not a bad thing - we actually love Docker. At ActiveState all our products are based on open source technology and Docker is an up-and-coming piece of open source technology," explained Bart Copeland, President & CEO of ActiveState Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps becomes essential for any ambitious enterprise today.
“The year of the cloud – we have no idea when it's really happening but we think it's happening now. For those technology providers like Zentera that are helping enterprises move to the cloud - it's been fun to watch," noted Mike Loftus, VP Product Management and Marketing at Zentera Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
"Application monitoring and intelligence can smooth the path in a DevOps environment. In a DevOps environment you see constant change. If you are trying to monitor things in a constantly changing environment, you're going to spend a lot of your job fixing your monitoring," explained Todd Rader, Solutions Architect at AppDynamics, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
“We are strong believers in the DevOps movement and our staff has been doing DevOps for large enterprise environments for a number of years. The solution that we build is intended to allow DevOps teams to do security at the speed of DevOps," explained Justin Lundy, Founder & CTO of Evident.io, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
High-performing enterprise Software Quality Assurance (SQA) teams validate systems that are ready for use - getting most actively involved as components integrate and form complete systems. These teams catch and report on defects, making sure the customer gets the best software possible. SQA teams have leveraged automation and virtualization to execute more thorough testing in less time - bringing Dev and Ops together, ensuring production readiness. Does the emergence of DevOps mean the end of Enterprise SQA? Does the SQA function become redundant? In her session at DevOps Summit, Anne Hungat...
Docker offers a new, lightweight approach to application portability. Applications are shipped using a common container format and managed with a high-level API. Their processes run within isolated namespaces that abstract the operating environment independently of the distribution, versions, network setup, and other details of this environment. This "containerization" has often been nicknamed "the new virtualization." But containers are more than lightweight virtual machines. Beyond their smaller footprint, shorter boot times, and higher consolidation factors, they also bring a lot of new fea...
Between the compelling mockups and specs produced by your analysts and designers, and the resulting application built by your developers, there is a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral out of control, and applications fall short of requirements. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, will present a new approach where business and development users collaborate – each using tools appropriate to their goals and expertise – to build mockups and enhance them all the way through functional prototypes, to final working applications. Lea...
15th Cloud Expo, which took place Nov. 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, expanded the conference content of @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit to include two developer events. IBM held a Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held a Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of Bluemix, its services and functionality and provide short-term introductory projects that developers can complete between sessions.
"ElasticBox is an enterprise company that makes it very easy for developers and IT ops to collaborate to develop, build and deploy applications on any cloud - private, public or hybrid," stated Monish Sharma, VP of Customer Success at ElasticBox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Want to enable self-service provisioning of application environments in minutes that mirror production? Can you automatically provide rich data with code-level detail back to the developers when issues occur in production? In his session at DevOps Summit, David Tesar, Microsoft Technical Evangelist on Microsoft Azure and DevOps, will discuss how to accomplish this and more utilizing technologies such as Microsoft Azure, Visual Studio online, and Application Insights in this demo-heavy session.
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Among the proven benefits, DevOps is correlated with 2...
"Blue Box has been around for 10-11 years, and last year we launched Blue Box Cloud. We like the term 'Private Cloud as a Service' because we think that embodies what we are launching as a product - it's a managed hosted private cloud," explained Giles Frith, Vice President of Customer Operations at Blue Box, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
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.