Cyber-Ranges, Cloud Automation and DevOps

Cyber-security testing typifies some of the challenges of converting from traditional to DevOps ways of doing IT.  While cyber security labs and cyber-ranges are often mission-critical investments for organizations that find themselves to be high-value targets for cyber-attacks, too many times cyber-security testing processes are siloed and highly manual.  It’s time for cyber-ranges to move towards DevOps. Cyber-ranges are essentially lab infrastructures that are used for a variety of security-related activities including point product testing, network topology-level testing, and training such as red team/blue team exercises.  While cyber-ranges have typically been used by government and military organizations, increasing numbers of business organizations such as financial institutions and utilities are building these infrastructures to ensure that they are as equipped as possible to anticipate, respond and thwart attacks.  Particularly when the running assumption is that increasingly mobile and porous IT boundaries will inevitably be compromised, the ability to respond rapidly effectively ...

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The 8 “why’s” of Cloud

Myself and the gang have been talking about Cloud a lot recently as we are embarking on a multi-year journey. Cloud is fashionable but is this another cool toy for the techies? As an architect I think the most powerful question in my toolbox is “why”. Why are we doing this? Does it add business value? What are we trying to achieve? As IT folk it’s instinctive to go straight into the “how” but its the “why” that is the really important question. Get that right and how to do it should be relatively easy.  A solution is much easier to put in place if you’ve really captured and understood what it is you are trying to accomplish. I think there are 8 reasons why companies commonly move the Cloud – I’m specifically thinking about IaaS and PaaS here but I guess this also could apply to SaaS in parts. Scale  ...

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Cloud or In-house with Chris Kinsman, Part 2

I sat down last week with Chris Kinsman, Chief Architect at PushSpring and a 20+ year veteran of software development, to talk about the factors that go into deciding when to migrate to the cloud. In Part 2 of our conversation we talked about the resistance and arguments against moving to the cloud. Once again I’ll let Chris do most of the talking: “What I struggle with is those companies who are trying to decide whether they go to the cloud or not even attempt it. For someone starting out, I don’t think there’s any choice – unless there is one specific requirement that pushes you out of the cloud. Or, and this is a little different, they may be evaluating a new project in an existing company. If you’re an existing company that has in-house already – whether it’s co-location or your own data center and you’re already invested ...

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Three tips for maximizing efficiency in the age of the hybrid cloud environment

Today’s organizations are achieving many benefits from using virtual computing resources, including increased flexibility, scalability, and accessibility. The adoption of the cloud as an addition to legacy systems has changed the way many companies use IT resources, allowing them to scale quickly and efficiently to meet fast-changing business needs. These hybrid solutions, where companies retain some on-premise functions while moving much of their data and processes to the cloud, are more common than ever. Along with the benefits of using the cloud, however, come significant challenges for the IT organization in terms of managing and monitoring systems. When pairing legacy infrastructures with cloud computing environments, data center operators and IT organizations run into difficulties when the hardware-based environment  (employing older technologies) takes a “bottom up” approach to policies and the cloud environment takes a “top down,” application-centric approach. In this scenario, delivery of services can be interrupted, quality of service ...

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Are VMs becoming El Caminos?

In 2010, it looked as if virtualization had won. We expected all servers to virtualize workloads and the primary question was which cloud infrastructure manager would dominate. Now in 2015, the picture is not as clear. I’m seeing a trend that threatens the “virtualize all things” battle cry. Really, it’s two intersecting trends: metal is getting cheaper and easier while container orchestration is advancing on rockets. If metal can truck around the heavy stable workloads while containers zip around like sports cars, that leaves VMs as a strange hybrid in the middle. What’s the middle? It’s the El Camino, that notorious discontinued half car, half pick-up truck. The explosion of interest in containerized workloads (I know, they’ve been around for a long time but Docker made them sexy somehow) has been creating secondary wave of container orchestration. Five years ago, I called that Platform as a Service (PaaS) but this ...

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Migrating to the Cloud? Some practical advice

Oh if the world was only Greenfields. If everything was new and we didn’t have to worry about legacy systems, what a wonderful world it would be. But that is not the way of it unfortunately. More times than not using the cloud for our applications and infrastructure means migrating some existing infrastructure from an on premises install up to the cloud. How do you do that successfully? You have to break some eggs to make an omelet, but migrating to the cloud isn’t like whipping up breakfast. We can’t afford down time, broken links or broken apps. As more and more apps are moved to the cloud, a solid process needs to be put in place. I asked a few people I know to help me put together a checklist of things to consider and do in moving from on prem to the cloud or more likely deploying a ...

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5 Ways to Connect with me at IBM InterConnect2015

Well, I am an IBMer and going to IBM InterConnect2015 is a part of my job. And the best part about this event is that I will get the opportunity to meet all my clients and colleagues at one location instead of going to three different conference events which we use to call PULSE, IMPACT and INNOVATE. And for our clients, this is an opportunity to really get the broadest and deepest immersion into what IBM has to offer for cloud, mobile, bigdata, security etc.. and of course DevOps. That being said, I am really looking forward to it. By every measure it is going to be the largest DevOps conference ever with 300+ sessions just focused on DevOps. Although, InterConnect as a whole is not a DevOps conference – it has several areas of foci, across IBM’s massive and diverse portfolio. DevOps just happens to be one of the ...

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Webinar: How to Achieve Continuous Delivery Without Downtime

Today’s businesses demand quick access to new technology, which means they need shorter release cycles and centralized control of both your on and off premise resources. Integrating cloud resources into your traditional datacenter management can prove challenging and time consuming at best. What if you could increase your organization’s ability to innovate utilizing business automation to bridge the gap to the cloud? This webinar will be looking at how you can: Automate your deployment of code updates with the correct configuration Reduce errors by automating manual steps and scripts Achieve quicker deployment times to meet business demands Integrate with Jenkins build management Join us on February 18th as Tom Flitter, Director of Applications and Integrations at TASC, discusses how TASC solved long release cycles, extended service downtimes per release, and highly manual processes for releasing their main application across all environments. RECORDING SLIDES   Date: Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 Time: 2pm ...

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Top Skills for Enterprise DevOps

There is one question I hear almost every time I talk with my large enterprise customers about DevOps: What skills do my people need to be successful with DevOps? Talk of DevOps almost immediately focuses on culture – like having empathy for fellow workers, being flexible and adaptable, seeking continuous improvement, building relationships, etc. However, while critically important in DevOps, culture is an outcome, not an input; and such attributes are mostly either innate or acquired slowly. Culture cannot easily be taught. At the other end of the spectrum, we often look at technologies – agile development, coding languages, virtualization/cloud platforms, management tools, etc. Again, these can be important, but while learning these skills might make you a better dev or op, they may not make you a DevOps practitioner. Like most transformations, DevOps will need new people, process and technology skills, so in this post I take a look ...

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Eliminating ShadowOps

If you were like me, you thought that cloud and compute virtualization technologies were transforming the data center, but they are nothing compared to what is coming our way. The IT landscape evolution is accelerating with the advent of application containers, network and storage virtualization, big data, and integrated and hyper-converged infrastructures, to name just a few. IT and business unit roles for infrastructure and application support and management are also changing; driving the need for solutions that are not found in the traditional IT playbook. The competitive online marketplace is placing increasing pressure on businesses to deliver services and application updates faster to market. While the increased focus today is on the applications themselves, the reality is that they are dependent on infrastructure in order to be delivered to the end user or customer. The inflexibility of traditional IT operations to deliver needed infrastructure impedes development teams from meeting ...

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