Review Category : Blogs

Think the Developer Tool Market Is Annoying? Just Wait…

I recently attended the Velocity Conference and DevOps Days in the Bay Area. While I usually pride myself in being “in the know” of what is available and possible. It never fails that every time I do a search on some aspect of the development process, or attend events like these, I’m shocked to discover at least three new tools I have not heard of. “What’s this… yet another functional testing tool? Let me guess, you do performance monitoring? System alerts by carrier pigeon? Cool, configuration management that also repairs your TV.”  There are so many tools and their competitive advantages are usually so specific you really have to work for the company to understand them. So how do you possibly make sense of this space? And what is next? ...

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DevOps’ weakness and what it does best

Every great movement has its weaknesses, be the movement social, technical, or political, there are always ways in which it falls short and steps must be taken. DevOps is not some special case that is pure, and if you’ve worked in it, you know how very true that statement is. From meetings that are a tug-of-war to failures that aren’t readily traceable or automation that spawns problems across a datacenter, there are definitely weaknesses in the process. But like any good movement, the benefits are perceived to be worth the work to minimize the weaknesses. If stability, agility, and security can be served by the standardization and improved communication of DevOps, the perception is accurate. While it takes a commitment of man-hours, the meetings can be gotten through with disparate interests being satisfied, failures can be traced and changes made to make certain it doesn’t happen again, and cascading errors ...

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Bringing Collaboration, Orchestration and Lifecycle Management to Docker Containers

As you most likely know, Docker is a Linux container technology that stands to revolutionize or standardize the delivery mechanism of applications and services in the cloud. Docker, which just turned 1.0, has created an enormous amount of buzz, a vibrant community, and an extremely interesting ecosystem upon which developers and operations teams can draw to ultimately build better applications and better utilize cloud resources. We, at ElasticBox, wanted to see what we could do by combining these two great technologies. With developer and IT operations in mind, we’ve created the ability for you to consume Docker as a service with  collaboration, orchestration, and lifecycle management capabilities. You can now create Boxes and use Docker as a service, giving you and your team the ability to distribute Docker files as Boxes across your organization, collaborate on the continued development and maintenance of these assets, provide an orchestration tool for the ...

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IT Operations, Production Support and DevOps: 5 Tips for Remote Systems Tech Support

Cloud computing is a paradigm shift in how applications are delivered, developed, and managed. Because of this, Information that was available in the IT operations infrastructure may no longer accessible or available, putting the onus on architects, operation developer and DevOps teams to build capabilities into the application itself. Following these best practices can help establish a more efficient support process. 1) Application data must be accessible Many of today’s cloud platforms, commercial frameworks, remote data centers and multi-services component based architecture are app-centric, and will not provide rich information or ongoing profiling access to the application infrastructure. Sometimes, there isn’t even any access to the file system or other server-side resources that are required for effective troubleshooting, and the limited access that the user does receive isn’t sufficient for forensics. That holds true whether you’re using a third party IaaS, PaaS, or install your application in a remote datacenter. Therefore, ...

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The Continuous Delivery Pipeline — What it is and Why it’s so Important in Developing Software

Continuous Delivery (CD) is a software strategy that enables organizations to deliver new features to users as fast and efficiently as possible. The core idea of CD is to create a repeatable, reliable and incrementally improving process for taking software from concept to customer. The goal of Continuous Delivery is to enable a constant flow of changes into production via an automated software production line. The Continuous Delivery pipeline is what makes it all happen. The pipeline breaks down the software delivery process into stages. Each stage is aimed at verifying the quality of new features from a different angle to validate the new functionality and prevent errors from affecting your users. The pipeline should provide feedback to the team and visibility into the flow of changes to everyone involved in delivering the new feature/s. There is no such thing as The Standard Pipeline, but a typical CD pipeline will ...

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The WhiteBox PaaS

One of my favourite blog posts about PaaS is James Urquhart’s ‘Is your PaaS composable or contextual? (Hint: the answer matters)’. In the post, James distinguishes two different types of PaaS: Contextual and Composable. He additionally implied a third type of PaaS (though he categorized it as “Composable”): “Perhaps most importantly, however, there are open source “build” tool chains being deployed directly to infrastructure services that exhibit a purely composable approach toward delivering and operating applications. Combining GitHub with Jenkins with Gradle with AWS CloudFormation and Autoscaling and so on gives a fully automated, flexible “platform” for application development and operations — everything you want from a PaaS. The catch, of course, is that you’ll need to assemble and maintain that tool chain over time (rather than letting the PaaS vendor do it for you).” The Whitebox PaaS: When we started VisualOps, at first we didn’t realize that we were building a new ...

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Five Top Tips for DevOps At Scale

Since I published my blog explaining the topic of ‘Big DevOps’ late last year, the concept of Enterprise DevOps has exploded, with commentary, experience, and advice (some good, some awful) popping up from many different quarters. Fortunately, many pundits have now come to agree that application delivery in a traditional enterprise is very different from in a typical web-scale/startup environment. As a result, a growing body of work is filling a significant and important gap with unique insight into Enterprise DevOps, from many excellent commentators and practitioners who understand how large enterprises are different, and how to address those different challenges. As Enterprise DevOps takes off, I seem to field questions about it on an almost daily basis, so I decided to contribute to the body of work with a webinar explaining my answers to five of the most frequent challenges I hear about DevOps at scale. It was titled ...

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Docker acquires Orchard, makers of Fig

First acquisition by Docker bring tools, talent and geography to hot container start up. Docker today announced that they are making their first acquisition. Docker is acquiring Orchard. In terms of scope of the acquired company they didn’t have to look to far. Orchard was an early member of the Docker community. They operated a hosted Docker service and developed an orchestration tool called Fig. In terms of geography though Docker reached across the pond for this one, as Orchard is London-based and will remain so. The acquisition brings both IP and talent, as well as reach to San Francisco based Docker. I spoke to Scott Johnston, SVP of products at Docker about the acquisition.  Scott told me that the hosted service from Orchard is not really strategic to Docker’s future plans. In fact they have already told Orchard’s hosting clients that the service will be phased out and other ...

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Reconciling DevOps Messages: Notes From DevOps Days Minneapolis

Last week Minneapolis was host to Major League Baseball’s All-Star game, but when they were done cleaning up after the game a group of IT professionals got together to exchange ideas and share experiences about DevOps. It was DevOps Days Minneapolis. The crowd was a highly diverse group of individuals including management and engineers, uncharacteristically roughly equal numbers of men and women, and theorists and practitioners. The mix led to some really great exchanges and discussions with a repeating pattern of emphasizing the cultural significance of DevOps. This is a passionate community. People that are participating really want to improve delivery and operations of solutions for their companies. However, the lack of the definitive in DevOps means there’s a fair amount of “you’re doing it wrong!” being leveled at others in the community. I myself may be a guilty of doing this a time or two. Here’s just some of ...

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