Puppet today made available a public beta of Relay, an event-driven platform through which DevOps teams can automatically invoke pre-configured workflows.
Company CTO Deepak Giridharagopal said Relay listens for DevOps events that can then trigger an automated workflow such as automatically deleting underutilized cloud resources, enforcing cybersecurity controls or remediating known issues.
Relay connects to dozens of DevOps tools, cloud services and application programming interfaces (APIs) to automate workflows across a wide range of platforms, including PagerDuty, GitHub, Datadog, Jira, Terraform, Slack and others.
Giridharagopal said Relay will also enable IT organizations to reuse workflows versus continually cobbling together one-off workflows for processes that address routine use cases that can be tackled using existing content.
At the root of that issue is tool sprawl within DevOps environments. Each DevOps team tends to create their own workflows using their preferred tools, even though they may be replicating a workflow process that has already been addressed using other tools. Relay provides a means to reuse workflow across disparate DevOps tools, which Giridharagopal said should significantly increase overall DevOps productivity.
The Relay platform is also designed to be extensible in that it also allows DevOps teams to create custom workflows that can then be reused by other members of DevOps teams, he added.
Giridharagopal said with the rise of microservices it’s apparent workflow automation within DevOps environments is about to become a more pressing issue. As the number of individual services that need to be managed increases, the need to automate workflows across more complex IT environments becomes more critical. DevOps teams can’t effectively manage modern cloud-native applications relying on manual workflow processes, he said.
Relay is part of a broader shift toward event-driven architectures, which are gaining increased traction within IT environments. While event-driven architectures have been around as a concept for decades, the emergence of platforms based on, for example, serverless computing frameworks are changing how IT resources are invoked. Via any number of APIs, it’s feasible to automate a wide range of IT functions using these types of platforms.
Of course, the biggest challenge for many organizations has been building automated workflows that work consistently across multiple platforms. The level of process expertise required to build those workflows is not inconsequential. Puppet, via Relay, is providing pre-configured workflows to address some of the more common use cases in a DevOps environment. DevOps teams will still need to build their own custom workflows to address more complex use cases. However, platforms such as Relay promise to sharply reduce the time spent creating scripts and associated workflows to address routine tasks.
In the meantime, interest in all forms of IT automation is on the rise in the wake of the economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. IT organizations are moving quickly to reduce the total cost of IT by automating as many processes as possible. In many cases, it’s not clear when some IT organizations might be able to add additional headcount anytime soon. Automation, as such, is now as much about survival as it is simply trying to increase productivity.