Mitch Ashley: Hi everybody, welcome back to KubeCon here in Chicago, 2023. Lots of great conversations, and here comes another one with Adam Frank Armory, welcome, Adam.
Adam Frank: Thanks for having me, pleasure to be here.
Mitch Ashley: Always, we love having you on. So what’s happening in continuous delivery in this, I mean, it’s evolved so much just in the last even year or so, about how many environmists we’re deploying to and the mix of all that. Most of us don’t live in a greenfield, so we’ve got to deal with lots of variety of things.
Adam Frank: That’s right, that’s right. And I think one of the biggest things that people are really starting to come across now is the fact that they are looking at multi deployments, multi cluster, multi environments, really trying to orchestrate all of that and coming around to manage delivery. Understanding that everybody from a seed stage to large, large enterprises, they all have at least three dev stage prod, right? So how are you going to orchestrate across that when that just grows to more and more environments, talking about global companies and things of that nature.
So, I think that’s one of the big conversations that’s been happening around here is about the orchestration of that deployment. So it’s been exciting. It’s been exciting for us. That’s one of the things that we went into from the very beginning was understanding that the deployments have to be orchestrated. There’s a lot of things that have to happen, security scanning, integration, tests, you name it, throughout that deployment. So it’s been quite nice.
Mitch Ashley: When you mentioned managed deployment, right, it’s not just press the button, everything happens. There’s a lot of variables, things have to be sequenced. Some environments require different things than other environments, some you can do is declarative, you can really build it from the ground up through automation and others. Maybe you can’t do that, you’ve got to work with infrastructure or apps or code that’s already there.
Adam Frank: Yeah, whether it’s infrastructure, apps, or code, or whether it’s just policies that you have in place that you need manual approval before you go out to production. Or something has to happen in staging, like data. Data needs to be transferred from production into staging to do actual validated tests.
We had a talk on Monday with Portworx actually, really fantastic use case that we’ve come up with them. There’s a use case with their largest customer where they are actually transferring live production data into staging environments to do real tests, because I know a lot of people today, the code’s the same, the configuration’s the same, the infrastructure’s all the same. Is the actual data the same? Well, not really. Okay, well, how do you know that what you’re actually about to change is going to inflict what you want to change? So the fact that we’ve worked a lot with Portworx to do the actual data transfer, to have real live production data in the staging environment to run those tests and things against, has been pretty cool for our customers.
Mitch Ashley: That was always one of my biggest challenges, how do you get data, especially earlier in the development of an app or a product, is you don’t have a lot of access to a lot of production data unless you’re in a SaaS, and maybe you can then, but you have to worry about things of anonymizing. But you have data, but not necessarily the right data to test what you’re going to deploy so you’ve got to kind of match that all up. Is there anything in that demo that talked about that, sort of that part of the problem, how do you get the right data in the right environment?
Adam Frank: Yeah, exactly. One of the big things that the security of data, the management of data, moving data around, and and Portworx has a great solution for it. So it’s nice to partner with them, given that we can do the orchestration of those deployments and have that as a check that’s within that deployment. It’s not going out to production before that data is moved into staging, and tests are run against that and validation has happened.
So like I said, you can have the manual approval at that point if you want, if that’s a policy within your organization, or you can have that continue on automatically and go straight out to production, which is great. That’s the dream right there, is to have that end-to-end automation and have that deployment fully automated, which a lot of people work towards, which is great.
Mitch Ashley: Well, let’s talk about that. Is there kind of a life cycle that people go through from, we’re not doing it at all now everything’s manual, and maybe it’s scripted, but it’s not automated in the same way they do through Armory. Is there sort of a step by step phases people usually go to get to a point where they might do some really automated through this?
Adam Frank: There absolutely is. I mean, we talked to a couple of people yesterday from, I can’t remember what company now, but one of the first questions that we start to ask them is, what do you do for your organization? Okay, great. You’re a DevOps engineer, you’re a platform engineer, you’re an SRE, there’s loads them around. These two particular gentlemen said that they were just automation ninjas they didn’t really have specific titles or roles, and they just helped the organization automate everywhere they could. So the next question is then, “okay, well what are you doing to deploy your software? What are you you doing for deployment?” And they said, “Well, it’s manual right now.” Okay, that’s where most people are starting, it’s going to be manual.
So, I think that one of the biggest things that we see is people start with CI. They’re going to automate the build and the test of that, and they’re going to have an artifact that they want to be deployed. The next thing they’ll start to do is exactly what you said. They’ll start writing some scripts and they’ll start extending some of that CI until that starts to become a little bit fragile and it doesn’t necessarily provide the developer experience that they’re looking for and enabling blue-green and your canary and things like that to protect your customer experience. So at that point, then they go out and they look for a continuous deployment solution that is going to actually meet that, and that’s where the evolution comes from.
From that point, they’ll start to have some of the manual checks in place. They might not have integration tests all automated, that’s okay. You can have the deployment go out to dev, you can have deployment, go to staging, you can go run some manual integration tests if you need to, and then you can carry that deployment on. That would be the next piece of it, and making sure that all those pieces are automated that are being orchestrated. And then the final piece is, are you comfortable with all of this to remove that gate, to remove that manual approval to go after production and once people are, then you start to see that end-to-end automated deployment. And it’s really, really fantastic to see.
Mitch Ashley: Really Cool. So, I’ll make a premise supposition you can tell me if it’s true or not, it seems to me that last step of getting into the, okay, yeah, we’re going to pull the pin and let it go and see and let it automatically deploy. A couple things I would want to have experience with one is, how often do we say no when we’re doing a manual decision about, okay, it’s time to release, and when we do, what are the issues? The other is, well, if something does happen, I want to be able to quickly redeploy a fix to whatever it is, and we might’ve put in production, so in minutes, an hour, hour, whatever, very quickly. If I can’t deliver code that fast then maybe I’m not ready to quite go to the automation fully onto production. Is that a good characterization?
Adam Frank: That is, yeah. I mean, the fact that we’re talking about that as well, the rollback of that as well, are you comfortable rolling that back? Do you have the mechanisms in place that are going to allow you to roll that back? And that’s again, where a great CD solution is going to enable that both automatically or by a single click. You actually see that the baseline is off and this isn’t behaving the way that it’s supposed to be or the way that it’s expected to be, you can one click and roll that back to the last known working state, or you can have that automatically rolled back based on looking at some of that observability data that might be outside of the expected threshold.
Mitch Ashley: Interesting. So we’re at KubeCon, let’s talk about Kubernetes, that holds another layer of complexity and technology and challenges. How does that roll into it? What are the things you need to consider about automated delivery deployment with Kubernetes?
Adam Frank: Yeah, I think one of the big things is people have their repos structured in a way that makes sense for their business. People also have a couple of different choices in the way that they’re architecting Kubernetes, so they’re going single big clusters, are they going multi clusters, depending on what they’re doing there. And one of the mantras that we have at Armory is we’ll meet the customer where they are. So we don’t tell people to structure their repos in a certain way, we don’t tell people to architect Kubernetes in a certain way, we don’t tell people that you have to have a CRD written in a certain format. However you have your Kubernetes manifest today, we’ll deploy that.
And I think that’s one of the beautiful things that alleviates a lot of that complexity of Kubernetes is giving people that flexibility that allows them to meet their organizational needs. We’ll deploy that, that manifest, we’ll deploy those containers any way that you need.
Mitch Ashley: Yeah, it could be multi-cloud, could be out to the Edge and whatever regional center. I mean, it’s-
Adam Frank: The Edge stuff is getting really interesting.
Mitch Ashley: And multiple Applications. It is, it’s picking up. I hear a lot more about the Edge.
Adam Frank: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the fact that people are running pretty small clusters, but still Kubernetes clusters out in cars is a great example. That’s one of the big ones.
Mitch Ashley: One of the people of the big manufacturers in Germany speak about that.
Adam Frank: There you go. There you go. I know there’s a big American one that does that as well. And again, that’s one of those use cases, having that data on board, shifting that data back to a staging environment, testing with that, and then deploying back out.
Mitch Ashley: Maybe that’ll be a light on our dashboard. You’ll see the little captain’s wheel. Kubernetes, come on you’re cluster running somewhere in your automobile.
Adam Frank: That’s it, that’s it.
Mitch Ashley: It needs a [inaudible 00:09:33].
Adam Frank: Yeah, yeah. I was actually really surprised when I first started hearing about that, thinking like well that’s got to be pretty resource intensive in a car, we’ve got to figure out a way to do that without having clusters in every single one of these cars and Edge and things like that. But it seems to be working so far, and we’re talking thermostats and things of that nature as well with some of our customers. So, it’s pretty cool.
Mitch Ashley: I heard someone describe automobiles now are becoming software platforms with wheels.
Adam Frank: Oh, yeah.
Mitch Ashley: I mean, essentially-
Adam Frank: That’s exactly what they are.
Mitch Ashley: How much of it is, it’s all software, right? With some electric motors or whatever kind of things. So what’s coming up next, the next six months where we’re going to be at re:Invent?
Adam Frank: We are, we are.
Mitch Ashley: Hopefully we’ll see you there. What’s on your mind about the next set of things you want to work on?
Adam Frank: Yeah, so we’re at KubeCon, we’re talking a lot about Kubernetes, but every single person that we talk to also has something else. And whether they’ve found that Kubernetes is a little bit too complex for them and they don’t want to invest the resources in it, and they move to another container service like ECS or they’ve got some serverless. Everybody seems to have some level of serverless, whether it be Lambda or whatnot.
So one of the things that we’ve really been working on that we’re going to be revealing pretty big at re:Invent is not only deploying to Kubernetes, but also being able to deploy to Lambda in a declarative way. Kubernetes brought us the world of declarative and gave us that abstraction layer above, the imperative nature of things. So we’re now bringing that to Lambda and full blue green, full canary, and being able to just share that declarative config between your Kubernetes or Lambda deployment, so you can actually deploy to both within the exact same deployment, which absolutely nobody’s doing right now. So we are very-
Mitch Ashley: To both, but also in parallel, right?
Adam Frank: Exactly.
Mitch Ashley: Because apps maybe running in both environments, different parts of it.
Adam Frank: Precisely. Precisely.
Mitch Ashley: Well, sounds like you get a pretty good peek into what’s coming.
Adam Frank: Yeah, we’ll have to get back together at re:Invent and sit down and showcase and discuss that a little bit.
Mitch Ashley: Yeah, we’d love to hear a lot more about that. That sounds exciting. Well, good.
Adam Frank: Yeah.
Mitch Ashley: Well, congratulations. I said you and I have talked before the show seems really great. I mean, the buzz and the traffic and conversations-
Adam Frank: Yeah, its always good.
Mitch Ashley: And I’ve been to a session, I never get to go to sessions anymore we’re always talking-
Adam Frank: Likewise.
Mitch Ashley: Which is good, I’m good. But I’ve heard that they’re really good as well.
Adam Frank: Yeah, most definitely.
Mitch Ashley: Great. Have a good rest of the show and we’ll see you-
Adam Frank: Appreciate it, thank you much.
Mitch Ashley: In Las Vegas.
Adam Frank: See you there.
Mitch Ashley: Okay, re:Invent.
Adam Frank: All right.
Mitch Ashley: All right, man.
Adam Frank: Cheers.
Mitch Ashley: Say hi to Adam, stop by the booth, go visit Armory. Check him out online Armory dot… Is it io or .com?
Adam Frank: .io, Armory.io.
Mitch Ashley: I thought io.
Adam Frank: You got it.
Mitch Ashley: Okay, good. Definitely check them out and lots of good things coming too, as well as where we are today with Armory. Okay, talk to you again.
We’ll be right back with our next great guest.