This is the first lesson in HashiCorp’s Road to Modern Ops, an interactive curriculum dedicated to guiding organizations from manual processes to modern, automated operations. This essay sets the foundation for the curriculum by outlining manual operations tasks and the path towards automation. To put this knowledge to work, explore the interactive tutorial to learn how to manually manage an operations workflow.
A letter to operators, sysadmins, and devops-ers: don’t lose sight of operation’s end goal. The goal of operations is to turn application code in development into a running application on a production server through a safe, error-free process. This is done in three general steps — server provisioning, server configuration, and application maintenance. Over the past few months and even weeks, there have been a mass of technology announcements relating to these three steps and the operations space overall — new container technologies, minimal VMs, configuration management tools, monitoring tools, automated provisioning tools, service discovery systems and more. As a result, the operations industry has gotten caught up in these details but lost sight of operation’s end goal.
The technologies in the operations workflow are prone to change, as shown by the past few months. However, the operations workflow itself – moving an application from development to production – is unlikely to change in the near term. The main advancement in the general operations workflow is the rise of automation to replace manual tasks. This is often referred to as “DevOps” (one of DevOps’s many interpretations). Modern workflows embrace automation to reduce human error, scale deployments with the same number of operators, and increase transparency across the process.
While most organizations have the same end goal of an automated, error-free, and quick operations workflow, it’s confusing how all the different operations tools fit together to accomplish this goal. How do Jenkins, Chef, Vagrant, Docker, Terraform, Datadog, etc relate to each other? How can they be used to build an automated deployment process? The transition from manual configuration, provisioning, and service discovery to fully automated, modern ops is an unclear path.
The road to modern ops — automation and the modern datacenter
“Road to Modern Ops” is an interactive curriculum by HashiCorp to guide organizations to modern, automated operations through a gradual and detailed educational process. Each lesson takes a manual process and demonstrates how to automate it through an interactive tutorial. By the end of the curriculum, participants will understand the components of operations, how to automate those components, and finally how to combine the components into a fully automated application delivery workflow.
The first tutorial lays the foundation for the curriculum by walking through manual configuration, provisioning, and maintenance. Subsequent lessons automate one component at a time, and then unite them to form a cohesive, automated operations workflow. The goal of the curriculum is to not only provide hands-on experience with automation, but to understand how the tools fit into the larger operations ecosystem. Start on the road towards modern ops.
About The Author ⁄ Kevin Fishner
Kevin Fishner is the Director of Customer Success at HashiCorp. He has extensive experience working with customers across HashiCorp open source and commercial products. Philosopher by education (Duke), engineer by trade. Connect with Kevin on twitter.