Proactive Monitoring

I think, most of the DevOps discussions are centered around testing the code change, packaging and deploying it in production in an automated fashion. However, stinging site-down issues would eventually force any nascent production engineering team to make monitoring a high priority down the road. If functional, integration and acceptance tests are run to verify a code change before that was deployed in production, in my opinion, similar checks should be part of monitoring to make sure that the application works fine in production also, as designed. In production, code change is not only the factor that could impact the application. Updates of OS, network configuration changes, automatic upgrades of third-party tools, availability of system resources etc. can also impact application in production. But, I am yet to come across any framework that integrates testing and monitoring efforts. In a traditional sysadmin centric environment, the scope of monitoring doesn’t go ...

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IT Asset Management: How to Find Out if Your Database is Causing Performance Problems

As your IT infrastructure grows, it becomes increasingly important to be able to identify where bottlenecks, performance problems, or outages are occurring so that you can quickly act to fix any issues. Identifying the source of a problem can be a bit tricky once you have grown into having multiple apps, servers, and databases—but there are tools that can significantly ease your burden in locating where an issue has arisen. The Problem: Identifying the Source The end user experience is affected when services are not functioning properly. Source: http://logicalread.solarwinds.com/response-time-analysis/#.VWNncfm4TIU Often, IT infrastructure begins on a small scale. Perhaps you start with a single app that runs on a single server with one small database. At this point, it is usually fairly easy to determine if that server is down, since everything will simply stop working. If it is simply the database itself, the app will most likely return errors connecting ...

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SDN has a lot to offer to DevOps

When discussing DevOps it’s natural to focus the attention on the one operations  team that focuses on application infrastructure. But when you start digging in to DevOps and its applicability to all four operations groups you’ll find that technological shifts in the network – like software-defined networks (SDN) – are just as important to the overall success of DevOps-related initiatives as the spread of software-defined operations going on across the application infrastructure. One of the intersections of network and app infrastructure operations is around speed. Not just speed of deployment of services supporting applications, which is critical, but also the resulting speed of the application itself. Application performance management (APM) is a less often mentioned concern of those looking at DevOps but it is one with which developers and app infrastructure operations alike are very interested in not just monitoring and measuring but improving. But here’s the thing: the relationship between ...

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5 ways APM can solve your DevOps worries

This week at the InterOp conference in New York I had the chance to talk to a lot of IT managers transforming their organizations to adopt a DevOps culture. One of the key questions I heard repeatedly was – are there some best practices to break down the wall between Dev and Ops?  How do you get to a point where we can deploy code multiple times a day like Facebook , Amazon and Netflix without impacting our users’ experience ? How do we minimize the risk of deployment failures and the blame game that ensues? With the need to innovate and close the customer feedback loop quickly Ops is being asked to deploy code more rapidly than ever before.  The complexity of hundreds of developers updating code makes it a very sensitive environment. The last thing Operations wants is an outage leading to financial loss and the last thing development ...

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Change your thinking about Change Management

Change Management, let’s face it, it’s usually a checklist item and a CYA tool. But in the world of DevOps where change is part of the culture and processes.  Change Management needs to be more than a cost center, and really a way to improve what you are doing. And there is no excuse not to. ...

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Provisioning versus Configuration

There’s a ton of hype and excitement surrounding containers, a la Docker, today, much in the same way virtualization took the data center by storm. In both cases, the excitement for operations focuses on the ease with which infrastructure might be deployed and managed via such technology. Whether container or hypervisor, however, there remains a distinct difference between server and network virtualization that must be considered before getting too excited about the possibilities. There are two distinct use cases for which virtualization and containerization of anything are considered beneficial: scale and deployment. Scale In terms of scale, both virtualization and containerization are excellent technologies. Both can fully encapsulate a service – whether application or network – and enable rapid deployment of multiple instances of the same service with very little (if any) post-provisioning requirements. This is the premise upon which cloud computing and NFV is based: clones of services and ...

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DevOps doesn’t end at deployment

If you ask five IT admins the question “What is DevOps?” you maybe get eight different answers. We’ve attempted to define and explain the term DevOps here on DevOps.com a few different ways, but a precise definition is still elusive. One thing is certain, though, DevOps is about more than just automating virtual server deployment and configuration. At Velocity 2009, John Allspaw and Paul Hammond presented a session titled “10 Deploys Per Day: Dev & Ops Cooperation at Flickr”, which some credit with launching the concept of integrating development and operations—at least to mainstream IT. For many, though—especially those who are still trying to understand what DevOps is, and what it means for their organization—DevOps amounts to tools that simplify the process of implementing tens or hundreds of virtual server instances, and automating the initial configuration. Automating IT Tools like those offered by Chef and Puppet Labs are useful for ...

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Releasing your team from Release Thinking

How much time do you spend optimizing your delivery pipeline?  My guess is none. Many teams have figured out great ways to automate their releases, and some even automate testing and monitoring.  But they don’t often take the next step and learn from those results to refine the delivery processes. ...

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Security in the operational relay race

If you’ve ever seen people run a relay race, you’ll notice that most of the risk happens when the baton is handed from one runner to the next.  In IT processes, there is also dramatically increased risk during handoffs.  Whether you’ve moving from one process phase to another, one “owner” to another, or one environment to another the risk is greatest during the phase transition. Security can play a strong role during these handoffs, whether you’re using DevOps or not.  Here are some principles that can help safeguard the handoffs and reduce the risk in the operational relay race. Reduce access They say too many cooks spoil the broth and that can apply to IT processes, as well.  Limit the number of people who can directly make changes in production and you have a shot at increasing security and defending availability by reducing random acts of deployment, as well as ...

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DevOps and faster feedback: fewer problems, better features (part 2)

As the experts established in part one of this series , the tightening of feedback loops through DevOps gives developers a better chance to learn how well their coding choices perform in the context of production environments. This makes for higher quality code in the long-run and constantly improved skillsets among development teams. But fast feedback loops don’t just improve the line-by-line coding work the development team puts out. It can also push through a huge boost in the value of the features they’re producing for end users. “Feedback loops are important not just for technical feedback or feedback about things not working,” says Aater Suleman, CEO of Flux7 Labs and a professor in computer systems design and architecture at the University of Texas. “There’s also the feedback around what customers are looking form in terms of particular features and whether or not those features are doing well in the market ...

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