Now that the concept of DevOps has been around for a few years and more organizations have embraced it, the natural question for many is, “What now?”—especially considering DevOps success is measured by different yardsticks. IBM’s Eric Minick is has been grappling with the concept of “Day 2 DevOps”—enterprisewide rollouts, multiple toolchains, etc.—and the best way to get organizations from point A to point B.
In this DevOps Chat, we discuss Day 2 DevOps and what IBM is doing in the tool space to help organizations move forward, as well as what other projects Eric and his group are working on.
As usual, the streaming audio is immediately below, followed by the transcript of our conversation.
Alan Shimel: Hey everyone, it’s Alan Shimel DevOps.com and you’re listening to another DevOps chat. This episode of DevOps chat features a friend of DevOps.com, frequent contributor, author, podcast guest – none other than Eric Minick of IBM and UrbanCode. Eric, welcome to DevOps chat.
Eric Minick: Hey, it’s good to be with you Alan as always.
Shimel: Fantastic. So, Eric, you’ve been with UrbanCode since like about 2008 but your role has changed a little bit. What exactly is kind of the title role these days?
Minick: Yeah, I’m looking after product management responsibility across the UrbanCode portfolio as well as rational testing. So have just a wonderful team and boy we’re doing some good things, so having fun.
Shimel: Very cool. So Eric we only have 15, 20 minutes here – I wanted to jump right into a couple of topics I want to talk. The first thing that I wanted to bring up was this concept of like a Day 2 DevOps as you call it or DevOps Day 2. Let’s explore that. First let’s tell our audience what do you mean by that?
Minick: I think, you know, we look at how things were a couple years ago and there were a lot of organizations running their DevOps pilots, trying to figure out, “Is this going to work for us?” and all that sort of stuff. But I think we know it works, don’t we, by this point?
Shimel: Well, I hope so but we’ll just keep publishing on it until everyone finally agrees, but yes, you’re right.
Minick: So I think people are looking at like, “All right, I’ve got little pockets of DevOps here, some DevOps teams over there. How am I going to roll this out across my enterprise? I think we’ve got good stuff here, how are we going to do it at scale?” So there’s some scalability challenges, there’s also, you know in organization that had some really good ground-up work – like you have a couple of different teams who built stuff ground up and then they look across the way and they’re using totally different toolchains.
And then you’ve got some poor guy who’s been dubbed the VP of DevOps and is being asking, “Well, how’s the DevOps going?” And so it kind of makes sense out of teams that are on different toolchains and try to pull data out of that, get new teams onto maybe one or both or some other toolchain. And so the scaling and trying to reconcile across all these different tools seems to be the challenge of the hour.
Shimel: Yeah, I do agree. You know Eric it’s funny you mentioned this whole thing like “Can we agree it works?” and what have you because you, like me, we probably live in a little bit of a DevOps bubble where we’re not really talking to companies who either haven’t already started their DevOps journey or are contemplating starting their DevOps journey. But there are people outside of our bubble, right?
Minick: There are. I think I saw one of the analysts who just said, “Yeah, but it’s,” – 40 percent are well on their way through their journey; 40 percent are seriously kicking it off now; and then there’s 20 percent– I spoke to a different analyst who said, “Yeah, I just think that 20 percent is just going to go out of business.” And you saw my article the other day: I agree.
So yeah, if you’re not at least getting ready to start the journey – well, I guess I should just say I’m really worried about you. I was going to say I’m not that worried about you but it’s go time.
Shimel: Yeah, it is, no doubt about it. So Eric for those folks who are sort of entering day 2 of DevOps – and I think this is a problem, so many people prepare for that D Day assault of day 1 and don’t really have the day 2 plan in place. What words of sage advice do we have for them? Where can they go to get information on this? What can they do?
Minick: So I think it’s really important not to disrupt what’s working. If you’ve got teams that are out on some weird toolchain that’s not the enterprise standard but it’s really, really working: let them run. I think that sort of data has come out – we saw in the Accelerate book by ______ it all that, yeah, you want to empower teams, you want to let them run with good tool chains that are working – the ones that are – hey, this is why I have a very active tools business – this is replacing tools that don’t work with tools that work really well or helping teams that don’t have good automation capabilities around continuous delivery or testing.
But then I think you’ve got to really look at, “How am I going to get a view across what’s going on? How do I normalize some data?” If we know that the key metrics for DevOps are things like lead time from code to production – all right, “How am I going to understand that across a number of tools and normalize that?”
So it’s an area we’ve been doing a lot of work on in the tool space – and some other folks are doing that as well – it’s pretty achievable these days.
Shimel: Agreed. So I guess when we start talking about issues around – and blueprints and plans for day 2 – the logical next step is, “What about day 3?”
Minick: Well, let’s see what breaks in day 2 first. I don’t know it yet. I guess my dream, right – if day 1 is you have a bunch of DevOps pilot projects and day 2 is you hire a VP of DevOps to spread these new ways of working across your enterprise – day 3 is you don’t need that VP anymore, right – that you’re dedicated – you know, we bring the DevOps group within your organization – isn’t needed because your transformation is complete, you’re an agile technology powerhouse within your business helping the business along – you don’t need that transformation team anymore; this is just the way that you work.
So I’m hoping that’s day 3 – that all these people do transformations and move onto the next big thing.
Shimel: Fair enough. You know I’m hoping so too Eric, though I hope that doesn’t put me out of a job. Anyway –
Minick: I think we’ve got a decade or two, man.
Shimel: Yeah, I think I’ve got enough runway. So Eric let’s turn from DevOps day 2 and DevOps day 3 to what’s going on specifically with UrbanCode. You’ve got some new releases out both community and enterprise or commercial editions, so what’s up?
Minick: Yeah. So UrbanCode Velocities are kind of a brand new star. So we shipped a community edition earlier this yar and then in the last little bit we came out with the full commercial edition. And I mentioned earlier there’s tools that pull together data from different tool chains – yep, that’s where we’re running with Velocity – you know, looking at things like a lot of our customers have anUrbanCode Deploy for a huge chunk of their workload and they’ve got some teams doing something else – oftentimes it’s simpler apps, they’re running it just on a Jenkins pipeline or something – and they want a view across that.
Very often they need to coordinate a delivery across the two where, “Hey, I need to kick this thing to Jenkins and that thing and maybe they could deploy at the same time.” So we want to make sure that you’ve got a common view of what’s in your test environment even if different pieces and parts of your application are being delivered by different tools, and that you’re able to understand things like lead time, cycle time, deployment success rates – kind of the heartbeat pulse/health of your continuous delivery flow.
So really excited about Velocity. It’s in this brand new market space. Some people are calling it Value Stream Management, others are calling it DevOps Tool Chain Orchestration – but it gets into this idea that lots of people are using lots of different tools to get value out the door as part of your organization, and having a view across that and a way to kind of orchestrate across that is really powerful.
So yeah, people are checking it out, they’re loving it – it’s a ton of fun – the funnest time in a product manager’s life is launching that new product, so good times.
Shimel: Absolutely. So in a way though this kind of goes back to Urbancode’s roots, right, with UrbanCode’s roots in open source and free software, commercial editions and all that – nostalgia Eric in that or lessons learned doing it better?
Minick: Yeah. I think a little better. We did start out with good old Ant Hill as an open source product – you know, to have a community edition and just say, “Yeah, here’s what you get for free,” which is really a lot of reporting right now for UrbanCode Deploy, “And here’s what you get when you step up,” that feels good and a lot cleaner than the press but – you know, we had tried 15 years ago and we tried to build an open source business.
Shimel: No doubt about it. Eric, then you have another version of UrbanCode out – was it 7 or something?
Minick: Yeah, we shipped 7.0 for UrbanCode Deploy – and that’s a big deal for us. You know UrbanCode Deploy started at like 4 so 7 is not – you know, we do big, chunky versions for this – 6 came out a few years ago.
So what got us over to a 7 is some re-architecture under the hood – that’s getting us up from being able to manage in the neighborhood of 10,000 machines on a master cluster of UrbanCode Deploy to being able to deploy to something closer to 100,000. So often 10X is a pretty good improvement.
Shimel: Not too shabby.
Minick: Not too shabby. And you know that’s where we’re ______ of the day 2, right? You know, when we were shipping this thing five years ago we asked clients, “Well, what’s the most you’d anticipate ever deploying to?” and they’d say, “I don’t know, a couple thousand machines might be appropriate for this.” But now you walk into a bank and they’ve got 100,000 VMs under management and they want to get to all of it – they want to scale.
And so I guess the two sides of the coin here – so UrbanCode Deploy saying, “Hey, if you’ve got something that works in UrbanCode Deploy and you want it everywhere in your organization we’re going to make sure there aren’t barriers to that,” right? Big emphasis on that.
All right, if you’ve got a little of everything and you want to make sense of that we don’t want to tell you you’ve got to throw it all out and adopt UrbanCode Deploy: we want to bring in something like Velocity and say, “All right. You’ve got a mess. You’ve got 97 instances of Jenkins with 50,000 jobs across them. Let’s bring some order to that chaos. Let’s give you a view across that. Let’s help you orchestrate across that.”
So that’s kind of the two sides to the day 2 coin from our perspective. A bunch of good stuff in Deploy 7 so it’s not just the scalability we redid the UI to make it a little easier to work with, a little cleaner – I think it’s really beautiful.
You know, we made it easier to kind of manage your processes – your automation processes that could easily be shared across a bunch of different applications. It lets you kind of change them in a little sandbox and code review them and then publish them out to all of those applications that share them – we’re calling that a safe edit capability – we’ve added a graphical designer for Terraformdocuments – so you want to describe how you’re going to publish out your workload we’ll do that nicely with Terraform.
So just a ton of great stuff in there. Big emphasis on helping our customers scale really cleanly and then making sure we pick up all those new tech stocks like Terraform.
Shimel: Got it. Cool stuff. So Eric we continue to see IBM moving forward with UrbanCode and obviously you’ve spoken a lot about a lot of the big developments there within the context of the continuing maturation of DevOps. But you mentioned that you’re also doing or helping to manage some of the testing and – I’m drawing a blank now –
Minick: Yeah. So testing and service virtualization – so rational test workbench, rational –
Shimel: Rational. Excuse me. That’s what I was thinking of. I apologize.
Shimel: You know, we only have a minute or two but give us a little update on that.
Minick: We’ve been doing a lot of good stuff, expanding some integrations for mobile testing. The service virtualization is always really nice particularly – you know, we’ve got a lot of customers trying to modernize their apps – they say, “Okay, I’ve got some big workload. I like to bring it over to Kubernetes, containerize it,” and then you’ve got like the one thing that doesn’t fit in a container – some crummy appliance from a vendor or – maybe it’s your mainframe that’s part of the app – and so service virtualization is really having a good day to say, “Okay, we’re going to stub out, we’re going to virtualize out,” you know this thing that’s holding you back from being able to really leverage cloud or dynamic infrastructure, and then you’re going to – you’ll be able to leverage it into all these lower test environments – we’ll bring that component back in for late testing – and obviously it’s there in production.
So yeah, the test area is really dynamic. A lot of fun. I’m surrounded by a bunch of great people in that area too. So, yeah, it’s a lot of fun.
And I’d say how I look at it is the build/deploy automation you have in something like UrbanCode that’s the skeleton for your continuous delivery – that’s not the path. All the work you do is testing, right? You’re doing performance testing and security testing and functional testing and API testing and unit testing – we could go on for hours – and so these things come together to really be the heartbeat of your continuous delivery.
Shimel: Cool. Well, Eric it seems like you know you’re certainly busy enough, huh?
Minick: Not bored.
Shimel: Absolutely, man. Hey, we’re about out of time here but I wanted to thank you for joining us today and we’ll have you back on soon – we’ll probably be ramping up for IBM Think in San Francisco in a couple months so maybe before then we can catch up.
Minick: Absolutely. I’m going through session proposals now. I’m super excited.
Shimel: Cool beans. Eric Minick always a pleasure to have you here on DevOps chat. Thanks for the updates and keep doing what you do, man, it’s great.
Minick: Cheers Alan.
Shimel: All right. That was Eric Minick, UrbanCode and IBM Rational. And this is Alan Shimel of DevOps.com. You just listened to another DevOps chat. Have a great day everyone.