SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Zakia Bouachraoui, Roger Strukhoff, David Linthicum

Related Topics: SYS-CON MEDIA, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, @CloudExpo, @DevOpsSummit

SYS-CON MEDIA: Article

Containerized Microservices App | @DevOpsSUMMIT #CloudNative #Serverless #Containers #AI #AIOps #DevOps #Kubernetes #Microservices

First Hand Experience on the Path to Continuous Deployment for Docker Containers

Being experienced  startup folks we are not scared of bleeding edge tech. For instance, in 2005 we made the jump to virtual machines  when most companies hadn't even heard of virtualization, in order to create our cloud platform, AppLogic. This time around we were already very familiar with containers, including many of the limitations, and believed they offered a lot of advantages in speed and cost so we decided to go with Docker running on AWS.

Our engineers have written a lot of apps including both interactive user apps and infrastructure level services and we're pretty adept at creating stateless systems where that's possible. Unfortunately, some of the third party software we needed to use, especially open source, wasn't written with stateless in mind.

For us combining Dev and Ops wasn't a choice, but a necessity. We couldn't afford another hire to run ops. Nonetheless we're fanatics for DevOps and automating everything we can in build, test and deploy. In our case the role of the DevOps guru fell on Pavel, one of our senior engineers. He's well versed in systems architecture as well as most of the systems that needed to be touched by the automation.

Introducing VCTR
The app we were bringing out is called Victor (VCTR for Vulnerabilities and Configuration Tracking and Reporting), a free online service that scans containers and VMs for upgrades that fix critical vulnerabilities. You can check out VCTR here.

As we progressed through development some things worked exceptionally well. New tools including Slack made collaboration among a dispersed team very easy. Build and test tools including Jenkins worked as expected though they were a bit harder to set up than they should be. Docker, despite some minor issues, was more mature than we expected. As you probably have guessed, though, there's a "however" coming. In our case, that "however" was that deployments were still complicated and error prone.

broken toolchain.jpg

As we got started our deployment was managed part-time by Pavel, our senior engineer. After all, the literature available suggested he'd just be writing a few short pipeline scripts. At first this worked great, but since change is inevitable, things got complicated. VCTR began expanding as new features were integrated and Pavel's day job became wrangling an unruly set of deployment scripts. Of course, as he spent time on deployment he wasn't contributing to building VCTR. As Pavel got sucked further and further into script hell with each new change, he noticed he'd fallen into a pattern:

  1. understand changes -> understand current app -> write script

  2. test script -> debug -> deploy

  3. fail -> debug again -> redeploy

  4. manual rollback...

  5. give up

The options were minimal. Either we continue to fail through this deployment until we got it right, or find another solution to the problem



Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 11.19.15 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-05-18 at 11.34.03 PM.png

Deployment Pain
Despite deployment issues hindering our velocity we needed to push forward with VCTR so we started user engagement while looking for solutions. We assumed we'd find a new tool or pattern in time, but things took an unexpected turn. While implementing VCTR we found other folks having similar deployment issues. Bringing up a new user with VCTR requires installing a small piece of code in the container or VM. That process, not surprisingly, happens in a deployment script and in most cases inserting that one change caused a failure in deployment. In one instance, while on a video call with a user, we watched as a five minute change to one script turned into a two hour debugging marathon involving more than half a dozen scripts. The only folks who didn't have errors after making the change had actually recognized deployment as a significant issue and built their own system for it. Systems, so significant in the amount of time they took to build that they were given names and teams to maintain them. However, those systems were tied to their company's specific architecture and tool chain.

The heart of the problem is that despite articles to the contrary, containers and microservices have dependencies. Some dependencies are simple. For instance, some software still have start order dependencies. Others require configuration differences based on the environment they're running in. Still other require logging in and executing commands after startup. Some dependencies you create yourself. As an example, changing an API requires updates to both the providing and calling services. You might require all updates to be backward compatible, but that's just moving the work to what may be an even more complicated arena. Lastly, what happens when something fails? How do you find out what failed? How do you get back to a functional state?

Despite mounting evidence we didn't initially recognize the pattern. One day over lunch, as the discussion turned from VCTR to deployment issues we realized we'd seen similar problems before when we first tackled cloud deployment. Furthermore, we knew we could solve this. We decided to build a continuous deployment system.

Lessons Learned
We obviously learned a ton about what not to do when setting up a new containerized application. Here's our conclusion of the good and bad of containers, microservices and DevOps:

The good

  • Containers, though not perfect, have a rich enough ecosystem of tools to be used in production.
  • Microservices architectures are great but don't try to make everything stateless.
  • DevOps is the new norm, but you need to go beyond just assigning an engineer the title or merging the folks onto a single team. Ops must take on a new role defining use cases and Dev must embrace Ops.
  • Get your tool chain in place from the start. We tried to hack our deployments and as such didn't see the problem for what it was until we were knee deep in it.

The bad

  • Deployment remains hard because it's where software meets the real world.
  • Deployment requires a system once you get past a few containers. If you don't adopt one, you're going to end up building one - whether you realize it or not.
  • Scripts work fine for small apps that don't get updated often, but aren't up to the task for continuous deployment for apps that contain more than a few containers or microservices, especially those that are updated frequently.

skopos1.png


The Result - Continuous Deployment System

We identified key challenge patterns that both ourselves and others faced during deployment and turned them into solutions. One important difference to the other deployment systems we had seen was that we made sure to build for varied environments and architectures. We didn't want this tool to just work for us or rather just the current pattern we were working in. We needed a true system to grow with us. Here are some of the main requirements of our Continuous Deployment system:

  • Integrate with popular tool chain elements
  • Recognize code and architecture updates
  • Provide for identifying dependencies
  • Provide for various operating environments
  • Automatically deploy authorized updates to operating environments
  • Automatically correct for common errors to return proper operation
  • Provide meaningful logs and error messages
  • Be operable from either UI, API or completely autonomously

We built this deployment system and it's now deploying VCTR on a regular basis. It's also in production at InnoScale and being tested by a handful of DevOps teams who felt the same pain as we did. We're offering the system for free to teams for up to 15 containers.

To learn more about Skopos - our continuous deployment system visit http://datagridsys.com/skopos/.

Register Today and SAVE ▸ Here

Speaking Opportunities ▸ Here

Sponsorship & Exhibit Opportunities ▸ Here

Silicon Valley Faculty ▸ Here

Silicon Valley Schedule ▸ Here

Cloud-Native thinking and Serverless Computing are now the norm in financial services, manufacturing, telco, healthcare, transportation, energy, media, entertainment, retail and other consumer industries, as well as the public sector.

The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.

DevOpsSUMMIT at CloudEXPO expands the DevOps community, enable a wide sharing of knowledge, and educate delegates and technology providers alike.

At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throughout enterprises of all sizes.

As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. 

Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. 

As they do so, IT professionals are also embracing the reality of Serverless architectures, which are critical to developing and operating real-time applications and services. Serverless is particularly important as enterprises of all sizes develop and deploy Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives.

ServerlessSUMMIT at CloudEXPO to Present 50 Rockstar Speakers and 60 Serverless and Kubernetes Sessions in Three Simultaneous Tracks

Serverless and Kubernetes are great examples of continuous, rapid pace of change in enterprise IT. They also raise a number of critical issues and questions about employee training, development processes, and operational metrics.

There's a real need for serious conversations about Serverless and Kubernetes among the people who are doing this work and managing it.

So we are very pleased today to announce the ServerlessSUMMIT at CloudEXPO.

ServerlessSUMMIT at CloudEXPO to present 50 rockstar speakers, 60 sessions in three simultaneous tracks. Call for Papers Here.

The three-day event will take place June 24-26, 2019 at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA and will be colocated with CloudEXPO Silicon Valley!

Today we have announced our first 12 sessions. We are accepting speaking submissions for ServerlessSUMMIT through Friday, February 8th.

Our CloudEXPO Silicon Valley 2019 schedule showcases 200 presentations, including keynotes, technical sessions, general sessions, power panels, and hands-on tutorials presented by 150 rockstar speakers in the 10 hottest conference tracks of 2019. We are excited to add the ServerlessSUMMIT to this lineup!

Cloud-Native thinking and Serverless Computing are now the norm in financial services, manufacturing, telco, healthcare, transportation, energy, media, entertainment, retail and other consumer industries, as well as the public sector.

The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.

As they do so, IT professionals are also embracing the reality of Serverless architectures, which are critical to developing and operating real-time applications and services. Serverless is particularly important as enterprises of all sizes develop and deploy Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives.

Serverless and Kubernetes are great examples of continuous, rapid pace of change in enterprise IT. They also raise a number of critical issues and questions about employee training, development processes, and operational metrics.

DevOpsSUMMIT at CloudEXPO Celebrates Its 12th Event in Six Years

ServerlessSUMMIT and DevOpsSUMMIT at CloudEXPO expands the DevOps community, enable a wide sharing of knowledge, and educate delegates and technology providers alike.

There's a real need for serious conversations about Serverless and Kubernetes among the people who are doing this work and managing it.

So we are very pleased today to announce the ServerlessSUMMIT at CloudEXPO.

At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throughout enterprises of all sizes.

CloudEXPO Has Been the M&A Capital For Cloud Companies

CloudEXPO has been the M&A capital for Cloud companies for more than a decade with memorable acquisition news stories which came out of CloudEXPO expo floor. DevOpsSUMMIT New York faculty member Greg Bledsoe shared his views on IBM's Red Hat acquisition live from NASDAQ floor. Acquisition news was announced during CloudEXPO New York which took place November 12-13, 2019 in New York City.

Our Silicon Valley 2019 schedule will showcase 200 keynotes, sessions, general sessions, power panels, and hands on tutorials presented by 150 rockstar speakers in 10 hottest conference tracks of 2019:

» CloudEXPO
» DevOpsSUMMIT
» ServerlessSUMMIT
» Kubernetes at CloudEXPO
» FinTechEXPO Blockchain
» DXWorldEXPO Digital Transformation
» AI | ML | DL | Artificial Intelligence
» Big Data | Analytics
» IoT | IIoT | Smart Cities
» Mobility | Security
» Enterprise Cloud Hot Topics

CloudEXPO Silicon Valley 2019 Show Prospectus ▸ HERE

Prospectus At-a-Glance ▸ HERE
Attendee Profile ▸ HERE
Keynote Opportunities ▸ HERE
General Session Opportunities ▸ HERE
Diamond Sponsorship Opportunity ▸ HERE
Platinum Sponsorship Opportunity ▸ HERE
Gold and Silver Sponsorship Opportunities ▸ HERE
Bronze Sponsorship and Exhibitor Packages ▸ HERE
Benefits of Exhibiting at CloudEXPO 2019 ▸ HERE

CloudEXPO is the single event where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discus cloud computing and all that it entails. For more than a decade, sponsors and exhibitors of CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities through our following unique tools. For more information on sponsorship, exhibit, and keynote opportunities call us at 954 242-0444 or contact us ▸ Here

  • Featured on-site presentation and ongoing on-demand webcast exposure to a captive audience of industry decision-makers
  • Showcase exhibition during our new extended dedicated expo hours
  • Breakout Session Priority scheduling for Sponsors that have been guaranteed a 40-minute technical session
  • Online advertising on 4,5 million article pages in SYS-CON's leading i-Technology Publications
  • Capitalize on our Comprehensive Marketing efforts leading up to the show with print mailings, e-newsletters and extensive online media coverage
  • Unprecedented PR Coverage: Unmatched editorial coverage on Cloud Computing Journal
  • Tweetup to over 184,000 plus Twitter followers
  • Press releases sent on major wire services to over 500 industry analysts

FinTech and Blockchain Are Now Part of CloudEXPO 2019 Program

Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expensive intermediate processes from their businesses.

Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 23rd CloudEXPO, June 24-26, 2019 at Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA will find fresh new content in full new FinTech & Enterprise Blockchain track.

DXWorldEXPO Showcases Cutting-Edge IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Digital Transformation

Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation. DX encompasses the continuing technology revolution, and is addressing society's most important issues throughout the entire $78 trillion 21st-century global economy.

DXWorldEXPO® has organized these issues along 10 tracks, 22 keynotes and general sessions, and a faculty of 222 of the world's top speakers.

DXWorldEXPO® has three major themes on its conference agenda:

Technology - The Revolution Continues
Economy - The 21st Century Emerges
Society - The Big Issues

Global 2000 companies have more than US$40 trillion in annual revenue - more than 50% of the world's entire GDP. The Global 2000 spends a total of US$2.4 trillion annually on enterprise IT. The average Global 2000 company has US$11 billion in annual revenue. The average Global 2000 company spends more than $600 million annually on enterprise IT. Governments throughout the world spend another US$500 billion on IT - much of it dedicated to new Smart City initiatives.

For the past 10 years CloudEXPO® helped drive the migration to modern enterprise IT infrastructures, built upon the foundation of cloud computing. Today's hybrid, multiple cloud IT infrastructures integrate Big Data, analytics, blockchain, the IoT, mobile devices, and the latest in cryptography and enterprise-grade security.

Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. DX is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.

About DXWorldEXPO LLC

DXWorldEXPO LLC is a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based trade show company and the creator of DXWorldEXPO - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo. The company produces and presents the world's most influential technology events including CloudEXPO, DevOpsSUMMIT, and FinTechEXPO.

More Stories By Stefana Muller

Stefana is a DevOps expert bringing almost 20 years experience delivering enterprise software to the Fortune 1000. Currently Vice President at Datagrid Systems, she works with software and application developers to help them move from periodic releases to rapid deployment. Prior to Datagrid, Stefana spent 16 years with CA Technologies running global software product lines in security, cloud, agile development and testing technology. As a Sr Director, Product at CA, Stefana lead, CA Service Virtualization to #1 in market-share and revenue. She’s transformed teams from waterfall development to Agile and worked with hundreds of teams to help them move to a DevOps culture.

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