Welcome!

@DevOpsSummit Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Mehdi Daoudi

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Feed Post

Provisioning the Entire Stack | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps #Microservices

We’re currently in the process of stringing together applications at the various layers to do server provisioning

As we move into the world of complete data center automation, there is a whole new selection of issues that we are learning to resolve – from custom hardware to a variety of provisioning tools at each level of automation. These are not unexpected issues, but they certainly provide us with plenty to do while we’re trying to reduce the amount of busy work we have to do.

We’re currently in the process of stringing together applications at the various layers to do server provisioning, application provisioning, and (for internal apps at least) application deployment. The options out there are a pretty broad swath that runs from all-in-one solutions like Puppet with Razor to specialized solutions hooked together to run the entire automation process. The end result is the same, the differences are in implementation, vendor lock-in, and whether a full solution that can be implemented all at once is more important to an organization than a solution that has the most suited parts that can be implemented in parallel but have to be tied together.

Image complements of University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

For those not familiar with myself or my employer StackIQ, the solutions available from my company run the gamut from specialized open source best-of-breed server provisioning (Stacki) to end-to-end Hadoop deployment. Which a given organization uses just depends upon which solution and what the organization’s relationship with StackIQ is.

As such, I am comfortable discussing the strengths and weaknesses of both styles of automation. After all, I’ve worked with both extensively, and can see the use cases that drive either one. There is no shortage of vendors in this space, and I will even mention a couple other than StackIQ, but my examples and use-cases will come from the various editions of Stacki, because I have worked on them more with that platform than others.

At the bottom level, pure-play server provisioning tools aim for best-of-breed usefulness. Open Source Stacki, for example, is focused on installing RHEL and CentoOS on target servers and configuring them to begin use. Of course few of the solutions on the market stop there, though a couple do. Stacki, for example, can be extended to install and configure agents from most of the application provisioning tools on the market. This means that server provisioning can hand off to application provisioning to achieve the full automation solution. It can also be extended to install specific applications as part of the OS install process. So a give server or set of servers can be configured to run Tomcat via installation, so that when Stacki finishes, the application server is installed and configured.

The drawback to this entry level is, of course, that such extensions must be developed by the user. While it is certainly possible to share extensions between users (for most tools anyway), and solicit feedback on the extensions being developed, there will still be work setting it up to work correctly. Some organizations – particularly those seeking a significant amount of control in their installations – find this to be an acceptable trade-off. Others would rather some of this foot work be done for them, or at least that they had ready access to people who specialize in this sort of thing.

That’s where the middle level comes in. This solution offers the functionality of the entry level, but adds either pre-built packages to install specific applications (like puppet agents or Tomcat) that can be easily marked as part of the install for a server or group of servers, or alternatively they offer the help of experts in setting these installations up – because once they’ve been configured, they (1) Don’t generally need to change much except to upgrade when new releases of the app come out and (2) Serve as examples that can be used to make other application customizations.

The issues with this solution are that it still takes time to get everything configured the first time, and it still requires a relatively intimate knowledge of the applications being deployed. For some shops these are not issues at all, for others they are show-stoppers that require significantly more investment than the organization is willing or able to make. That’s why there is the third level of integration for automation tools.

For some solutions in some organizations, the best answer is “push a button, get fully functional deployed servers running the software chosen.” A good example of this is big data. Deploying Hadoop by hand can be a daunting experience, yet timelines for Hadoop deployment far too often are tight. The third tier of integration is the system that knows what to do, and can juggle all the disparate pieces – hardware config, OS install, application install, configuration – at once. Push a button, reboot the machines intended for the Hadoop cluster, and a short time later there is a running Hadoop instance. I’m using Hadoop as an example here because of the glaring difference between when I’ve deployed it by hand and by automated provisioning (weeks to hours), but complex n-tier architectures stand to gain as much.

With these tools, an organization gets support built-in for a given set of applications, or gets the plug-ins to support a given application and adds them to one of the lower tiers. Then it is a simple case of defining (through command line, APIs, or spreadsheets) how the complex system should be deployed across target servers, and hitting a button. In a short time, the system is up and running with the target servers fully installed and doing their part. The issues with this solution are that there is a limit to the number of complex applications that have pre-packaged solutions, and of course, no internally developed application does. Professional services can help with this problem, but that adds expense and timeline to the project in a manner similar to the second tier of integration.

The best solution to these issues should be able to support all of the above integration tiers, but it should also be even more adaptable. There are several very good application provisioning tools on the market – Puppet, Chef, Saltstack, Ansible to name a few. A server provisioning tool, as the first step that runs in server-up datacenter automation, should be able to work reliably with all of these. Whether it enables users to hook up to them, or actually deploys the agents itself, the end result should be that a deployed server should be able to use the application provisioning that is currently in use at a given organization, and be able to change if that provisioning tool is replaced. Deeply integrated tools will work well with a single application provisioning tool, but tend toward vendor lock-in, because that tool is then harder to replace without replacing how servers are provisioned (which is no small chore in and of itself).

So when speccing out a datacenter automation or DevOps automation project, look for a server provisioning tool that can hand off to the application provisioning tool of choice, has some subset of application provisioning for complex systems (unless your application provisioning tool is already taking care of that of course), and can be fully automated. Partial automation is difficult at best, but it is the state of this growing market that some functionality is still not completely implemented in some products. It is easy enough to poke at products and determine if they suit the needs of your level of automation. A good example is that only about half of the products on the market make any attempt at RAID configuration as part of server provisioning. But if operators have to sit and configure RAID before an automated installation, then it’s not really fully automated, is it?

And of course I recommend that you consider automation. Partially because my employer plays in the space, but moreso because there are far more impactful things operations could be doing than sitting and watching an OS install, or typing in IP addresses, masks, and gateways.

More Stories By Don MacVittie

Don MacVittie is founder of Ingrained Technology, A technical advocacy and software development consultancy. He has experience in application development, architecture, infrastructure, technical writing,DevOps, and IT management. MacVittie holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Northern Michigan University, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@DevOpsSummit Stories
DX World EXPO, LLC., a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"I think DevOps is now a rambunctious teenager – it’s starting to get a mind of its own, wanting to get its own things but it still needs some adult supervision," explained Thomas Hooker, VP of marketing at CollabNet, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I will be talking about ChatOps and ChatOps as a way to solve some problems in the DevOps space," explained Himanshu Chhetri, CTO of Addteq, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, provided a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services with Tintri's web services architecture and APIs. Impress your DevOps team with smart and autonomous infrastructure.
"At the keynote this morning we spoke about the value proposition of Nutanix, of having a DevOps culture and a mindset, and the business outcomes of achieving agility and scale, which everybody here is trying to accomplish," noted Mark Lavi, DevOps Solution Architect at Nutanix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We are an IT services solution provider and we sell software to support those solutions. Our focus and key areas are around security, enterprise monitoring, and continuous delivery optimization," noted John Balsavage, President of A&I Solutions, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calligo, an innovative cloud service provider offering mid-sized companies the highest levels of data privacy and security, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calligo offers unparalleled application performance guarantees, commercial flexibility and a personalised support service from its globally located cloud platforms. Through its four pillars of focus, Calligo delivers a platform that businesses can trust to deliver the high level of service and protection they expect and is lacking in many cloud offerings.
"With Digital Experience Monitoring what used to be a simple visit to a web page has exploded into app on phones, data from social media feeds, competitive benchmarking - these are all components that are only available because of some type of digital asset," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big Data are challenging the existing design patterns of the Data Center. The increase in complexity of managing legacy systems alongside new systems is beyond the ability of most IT departments. This leads to multiple tiers of storage and high economic costs, during a time in which IT is expected to do more with less.
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex to learn. This is because Kubernetes is more of a toolset than a ready solution. Hence it’s essential to know when and how to apply the appropriate Kubernetes constructs.
As enterprise cloud becomes the norm, businesses and government programs must address compounded regulatory compliance related to data privacy and information protection. The most recent, Controlled Unclassified Information and the EU’s GDPR have board level implications and companies still struggle with demonstrating due diligence. Developers and DevOps leaders, as part of the pre-planning process and the associated supply chain, could benefit from updating their code libraries and design by incorporating changes.
"I'm here to leverage my secret sauce, which is using outsourced development and the company that I utilize is delaPlex Software and they've basically allowed me to win Fortune 500 companies," noted Justin Witz, CTO of FRA and PlanTools, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, discussed the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insights from the vast trove of private and public data available to enterprises.
SYS-CON Events announced today that EnterpriseTech has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. EnterpriseTech is a professional resource for news and intelligence covering the migration of high-end technologies into the enterprise and business-IT industry, with a special focus on high-tech solutions in new product development, workload management, increased efficiency, and maximizing competitive edge.
"We began as LinuxAcademy.com about five years ago as a very small outfit. Since then we've transitioned into more of a DevOps training company - the technologies and the tooling around DevOps," explained Doug Vanderweide, an instructor at Linux Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In their Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, and Mark Lavi, a Nutanix DevOps Solution Architect, explored the ways that Nutanix technologies empower teams to react faster than ever before and connect teams in ways that were either too complex or simply impossible with traditional infrastructures.
"NetApp's vision is how we help organizations manage data - delivering the right data in the right place, in the right time, to the people who need it, and doing it agnostic to what the platform is," explained Josh Atwell, Developer Advocate for NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of engineers can navigate the Carrier Ecosystem for your IT team acting as an extension of your business, producing a hassle-free experience.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud computing technologies. Get certified, manage the full lifecycle of your cloud-based resources, and build your knowledge based using Cloud Academy’s expert-created content, comprehensive Learning Paths, and innovative Hands-on Labs.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a single platform to drive unprecedented simplicity in the data center. Customers can start with a base infrastructure and scale to multi-site and multi-geo infrastructures with predictable economics and performance.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CHEETAH Training & Innovation will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CHEETAH Training & Innovation is a cloud consulting and IT training firm specializing in improving clients cloud strategies and infrastructures for medium to large companies.