The web-scale avalanche

Old-school businesses may not like it, but they’re competing with Google, Facebook, Amazon and other Internet powerhouses because those players have grown from day one with an eye on rapid, scalable, cloud-based and continuous IT operations.   Companies have been running application delivery aligned to an aging model based on low frequency release cycles. For decades, the major IT suppliers like Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, SAP and others have released software at the predictable, plodding cadence of annual or bi-annual releases. IT departments have adapted to the vendor release cycles with mirror-like processes: highly structured in the ITIL fashion with processes in place for working around lots of bugs that don’t get readily fixed by the vendors. Yet this delivery management model is now out of pace in today’s always-connected, Internet-based world in which apps and sites morph on a weekly or even daily basis. Suddenly, companies and vendors alike must ...

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Five Top Tips for Cloud and DevOps Automation

A while back, I overheard someone asking why many of the ‘cloudy people’ have moved on to DevOps. One reason is certainly that cloud is at the heart of DevOps. Many of the grounding principles of DevOps – rapid iteration, agile development, automated testing, continuous delivery and continuous integration – are barely even possible without cloud. However, I think it runs even deeper than that. DevOps and Cloud are both fundamentally enabled by the same technology I have been working with my entire career – automation. When IT leaders get excited about cloud, it is mainly because of automation. Sure, cloud providers get excited about essential characteristics like broad network access and resource pooling, because that is how they maximize reach and minimize costs. Similarly, CFOs get excited about the measured service, because that means they only pay for what they use. However, according to a recent Luth Research study, ...

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DevOps developers; don’t be a DevGoof

There was a lot of brush back last week over Jeff Knupp’s post about how DevOps is killing the developer. Frankly I wasn’t shocked by Knupp’s opinion that developers “are the dentists in the dental office”. In my 30+ years of involvement in the IT industry my experience is that developers often think of themselves as the only smart person in the room. Often times that is the reason they are are the only person in the room, lol. The fact is many developers relate better to code than to people. For me all this talk about DevOps killing the developer is akin to saying power steering killed the driver. Just because you can do more with new technology, does not mean one dies, one just has to pivot and in this case become business social. Now the sociable part may be the problem. Sometimes I feel that DevOps is ...

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Microsoft bridges the gap between Azure and DevOps

DevOps can be easy for a startup. Many of the concepts and principles of DevOps come quite naturally to a fresh company just getting started. It’s a different story, however, for large, established enterprises trying to wrap their arms around this DevOps thing. For IT admins working in Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, though, things just got a lot easier thanks to the integration of Chef and Puppet Labs. Many organizations are heavily invested in the Microsoft ecosystem. IT teams and administrators are familiar with Windows domains, Active Directory, Hyper-V, and Azure. They know how to write scripts and leverage PowerShell to get things done, but they’re much less familiar with the core principles of DevOps, or common DevOps automation tools like Chef and Puppet Labs. One of the driving forces of DevOps is the ability—or perhaps necessity—to automate those tasks that can be automated so IT resources are freed up ...

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Nagios is not a monitoring strategy

When I visit clients to talk about DevOps, I usually ask them what their monitoring strategy is. Too often, the answer I hear is “We use Nagios”. I think Nagios is a great tool, but it sure is not a strategy. Nagios does a good job of monitoring infrastructure. It will alert you when you are running out of disk, CPU, or memory. I call this reactive monitoring. In other words, Nagios is telling you that your resources are getting maxed out and you are about to have issues. Proactive monitoring focuses more on the behavior of the applications and attempts to detect when metrics are starting to stray away from their normal baseline numbers. Proactive monitoring alerts you that the system is starting to experience symptoms that can lead to a degradation of performance or capacity issues which is more preferable than Nagios telling you are about to be ...

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Don’t Let the (April Fools Day) Joke Be on You

As much as seasonal increases in demand for on-line resources are discussed, the one day that’s often overlooked is April Fools Day. It’s the day the Internet loses its mind and your best bet is take everything not just with a grain of salt, but with the entire shaker. The use of April Fools’ Day to promote brand awareness and bring some laughter into the world as everyone tries to outdo everyone else in a bid to be named the King of Fools is well known. This is no more a surprise today than is Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Super Bowl Sunday. So it behooves those participating in the tom foolery to be prepared. That means being ready to handle an increased demand for whatever it is you’re offering up for consumption. This is where devops shines; where automation and orchestration and a demand-driven scalability strategy is your best ...

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The Automation Continuum

The speed of innovation these days is often influenced by the speed of adoption of new and exciting tools, and specifically open source tools.  Open source projects have been growing at an exponential speed over the course of the past few years; however the process for exploring, testing, configuring, and ultimately integrating these in production often times is still quite complex and time consuming.  In many cases, this process is still done manually.  Like with all DevOps processes by automating this, we are then able to adopt new tooling much more quickly, and with less human error in the process. The Open Source Revolution   The friction in this process is due, in large part, to the fact that each of these stages from exploration through POC and testing, integration and then management, many times requires the use of very different tools for each stage, on top of a completely ...

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It’s the Outbound Stupid!

As nice as the word “Egress” may sound, I like “Outbound” better. Outbound is hardcore firewalling for the traffic that was initiated on the “trusted” side of the firewall, and is destined OUT to the unknown. However, over the last 20 years network administrators have put much more emphasis on what can come IN to their networks, rather than to worry about what comes OUT of them. There are many reasons for that, but the key one is that if nothing can come in, then we need not worry about what comes out. Right? Yea, right… Fast Forward 2014 we have firewalls everywhere. On our smartphones, laptops and home broadband wifi routers. In the cloud, any typical IaaS setup has a firewall for every group of instances, usually called Security Group and every instance has its own, internal firewall that is controlled by the instance OS. We are starting to see more and more ...

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Red Hat Announces Certification for Containerized Applications, Extends Customer Confidence and Trust to the Cloud

Red Hat Container Certification delivers secure, consistent and simplified platform for ISVs to take advantage of containers in Docker format RALEIGH, N.C., Mar 11, 2014 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Red Hat, Inc. RHT -0.84% , the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the extension of its application certification program to include containerized applications. The Red Hat Container Certification ensures that application containers built using Red Hat Enterprise Linux will operate seamlessly across certified container hosts. Designed with the needs of independent software vendors (ISVs), service providers and their enterprise customers in mind, the certification extends the confidence customers have with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which currently supports thousands of certified applications, to certified containers running on certified container hosts. The pending release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and Red Hat’s OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering will both be certified container hosts, with Docker as a primary supported container format. Linux Containers ...

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