Nobl9 today unveiled a Hydrogen platform that makes it simpler for DevOps teams to identify technical debt issues as they manage service level objectives (SLOs) as code.
Hydrogen enables DevOps teams to define SLOs using a simple wizard or by embedding code within their application as part of a DevOps workflow. That code is then used to automatically collect data from platforms such as Datadog, New Relic, Prometheus, Splunk and others with requiring any additional instrumentation.
Nobl9 COO Kit Merker said that approach also makes it possible to surface technical debt that inhibits achieving those goals via the Hydrogen platform. Armed with those insights, it then becomes easier for DevOps teams to focus on reducing or eliminating that technical debt because Hydrogen automatically generates a ticket in the Jira project management application—widely used by DevOps teams—to make sure the issue is addressed. Otherwise, in the heat of a DevOps sprint, the issue is likely to be forgotten as the application development project continues to move forward, noted Merker.
The ability to identify that technical debt is an outgrowth of the ability to manage SLOs as code that is enabled by the core Nobl9 software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform. Hydrogen extends that capability by automating workflows whenever a specific service shows indications that it cannot meet objectives because of a dependency on a legacy platform that needs to be upgraded, added Merker.
There is also a service health dashboard that organizes SLOs into logical groups that are mapped to features via labels, which Merker noted makes it possible for multiple stakeholders to easily identify which issues affect a particular service most. Hydrogen can also trigger a variety of automated workflows to prompt additional investigations that escalate as services worsen.
Overall, Hydrogen is designed to provide engineering teams with more accurate context that can be used to prioritize which issues should be addressed first during any technical debt planning cycle, said Merker. Hydrogen can enforce code release policies based on technical debt budgets that are enforced via integrations with continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platforms.
Technical debt generally refers to any code change that is required to optimize a service that is not immediately addressed. The more legacy platforms there are in an IT environment, the higher that technical debt tends to become. At a time when more organizations are building and deploying microservices-based applications, that technical debt, over time, tends to adversely affect applications that are much more dependent on external services than a traditional monolithic application. A single technical debt issue can have a cascading impact on multiple microservices-based applications that would, otherwise, would be difficult to detect.
The challenge, of course, is that technical debt doesn’t always get the attention it deserves when most of the IT team is focused on rolling out the next great application. However, as application environments become more complex it may only be a matter of time before all the technical debt that is being accumulated becomes unsustainable.