Cloud is practically designed for DevOps. No matter which cloud provider you are using, each has set up systems designed to spin up/spin down on demand, has the ability to run pretty much what you need and offer APIs/command lines to achieve your DevOps goals on the infrastructure side.
That means that the infrastructure side of DevOps can be handled by careful choice of base image, some scripts to configure network and other supporting infrastructure, and some scripts to install what’s needed once the instance is running and protected.
Not All Roses …
The problem is one of breadth and complexity. Yes, cloud is the perfect place to spin up DevOps, at least on the infrastructure side and, once you have a Jenkins instance, on the coding side, too. But the complexity masked by “spin up the infrastructure side” can be daunting. Different sets of APIs for servers, storage and networking, and sometimes different APIs for security versus accounts … It can get snarled quickly.
So, What to Do?
What can you do to make life in cloud automation/DevOps easier? There are numerous options available to you to simplify the operational part of cloud DevOps and allow you to focus on discussing issues and resolving them.
First on the list is the growing amount of automation of cloud automation. Sound crazy? It’s not—just my way of expressing that cloud vendors provide you with APIs and tools such as Puppet are getting better at wrapping those APIs for you, so you can focus on problems, not what is supposed to be the solution.
This idea is extended by companies that are tying disparate APIs together into a unified whole in one segment or another. One example of this is CloudCoreo, whose tools can do security audits of cloud deployments. The company takes the time to wrap the various security-related APIs and let you pick what is important for your team to monitor.
There also is an entire market segment growing up of both consultants and VARs that will help an enterprise move to the cloud. Most of these companies focus on one vendor or another, but all share a desire to help make the shift to the cloud easier. By way of examples to get you started, consider Neoxia (in the EU) for GCE, Accenture (in North America) for AWS or Atmosera (in North America) for Azure. (Note: I have never used the cloud services of any of these companies; I’m merely offering you a sampling of what is available. Check your cloud providers’ partners page for more partners.)
Another option that will reduce, but not eliminate, cloud-based complexity is to use containers to set up the application. The container can then be run on whatever cloud platform suits your needs (or in your data center, if that’s the preference). Any instances spun up still must be protected and given access, but most of the networking, security and instance complexity can be handled at the container management level.
In fact, if you implement container management and choose for interoperability, a container management tool such as DC/OS can let you choose at deployment time where to put the container.
Seeing what enterprises are starting to do with containers and entire build/test environments, it is possible that very soon you will be able to just kick off a job, have it build containers that will run your DevOps processes, run tests, deploy to other containers and then go away once the relevant data from them has been saved. The containers used along the way, by taking advantage of a multitarget container management platform, could be anywhere.
To Sum It Up: Cloud is Good for DevOps
The issue at hand—as it has been for DevOps and cloud for a while—is the rate of change. Here we’ve discussed a cross-section of ways to make DevOps in the cloud easier and more complete. But no doubt we’ve missed some great ideas and products, because there is so much going on.
The point is, tools are coming available to make it easier. Don’t write a billion miles of scripts that are useful for only one provider if you can avoid it. Look into these options (and others that will crop up) to lighten your load of technical debt moving forward, and make getting DevOps roaring in the cloud easier.
And as always, keep rocking it. The change has been constant, and you’re still cranking. That says a ton.