Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Pat Romanski, Jason Bloomberg, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Kong Yang

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo

@DevOpsSummit: Article

I’m Not Scared of #DevOps | @DevOpsSummit #APM #CD #Docker #Monitoring

The Foundation of DevOps

DevOps is speeding towards the IT world like a freight train and the hype around it is deafening. There is no reason to be afraid of this change as it is the natural reaction to the agile movement that revolutionized development just a few years ago. By definition, DevOps is the natural alignment of IT performance to business profitability. The relevance of this has yet to be quantified but it has been suggested that the route to the CEO's chair will come from the IT leaders that successfully make the transition to a DevOps model. If this still seems foreign to you, I recommend reading up on DevOps Blog from IT Revolution, the OpsCode Blog, and check out The Phoenix Project.

Despite all the talk around simple monitoring tools, breaking through the walls between Dev and Ops still poses a real challenge. This is because of a misunderstanding around Operations real purpose - extracting real value from its resources. According to Kevin Behr the definition of Operations is the act of harvesting value from IT resources. Anything that prevents this from happening is a detriment to the business. This means that firefighting and war room sessions are a hindrance to the DevOps model. The following screenshots are good examples of a war room scenario.

Unexpected crashes of websites upon new rollouts still lead to "War Room" situations - despite all the good efforts of DevOps and Agile Delivery/Deployment

Successfully riding the DevOps train: Many of our production customers that made it through the firefighting mode applied the principals of DevOps with a special focus on Application Performance. In this article we describe the steps and milestones companies need to go through in order to level-up their Operations and Engineering Teams to provide more value out of the existing resources.

The Foundation of DevOps
CAMS (Culture, Automation, Measurement, Sharing) are four key areas that are core to the DevOps movement. Culture is the hardest to change but is also the most important because it means a change in the way in which the different teams work together and share the responsibility for the end users of their application. It promotes the usage of development practices in operations to automate deployment. It also allows developers to learn from "the real world" Ops experience and with that mutual exchange it breaks down the walls.

The Lack of Performance Focus
An interesting fact
based on the feedback we get from operation teams worldwide: The root cause for about 80% of site crashes or performance problems is related to only about 20% of problem patterns. Want to learn more? Check out blogs such as Top Performance Landmines in Production and I am sure you'll find some issues you already ran into yourself.

Looking at these common problem patterns it is clear that despite all the DevOps efforts lots of performance and scalability-related problems still make it into a release deployment. Why is that? Because our organizations are still very much driven by business requirements that need numerous new features being pushed in ever shorter release cycles. Teams keep growing and are being spread around the world. In order to keep up with the pace, third-party components are included in the code in place of in-house innovation. This "natural" evolution however is also the root cause for firefights and limiting the benefits of DevOps because there is too much focus on pushing functionality through the Deployment Pipeline but not enough focus on Performance.

More developers across more locations including more untested 3rd party code with less time to focus on performance

Plugging Performance into DevOps
In order to focus developers on performance to avoid War Room scenarios you must plug performance into the four pillars of CAMS:

  • Culture: Performance as Key Requirement in Dev, Test and Ops
  • Automation: Automated Performance Tests already in Continuous Integration
  • Measurement: Measure Key Performance Metrics in CI, Test and Ops
  • Sharing: Share the same tools and same performance data across Dev, Test and Ops

There are several key milestones to consider:

Milestone 1: Level-Up Performance to Increase Feedback Between Ops and Development
The first step in any DevOps initiative is to get the Ops teams and the Dev teams talking in order to relieve constraints on the business. This might be easy for small teams to accomplish but the larger the organization, the more difficult it becomes as constraints are greater in larger organizations. Operations has to diminish these constraints on the business. This is where APM solutions can help. Beware as not all solutions are created equal. As mentioned in the previous DevOps blog the drive to diminish constraint needs to be applied across the delivery chain. Monitoring just does not cut it here. There needs to be something that not only starts the process but allows the teams to continue to mature and grow. Simple monitoring tools fall short because they only help extinguish fires in operations. How does this continue to drive down constraints? Remember, firefighting is not a part of operations, which means operations should not be looking at fire extinguishers for their DevOps strategies.

Milestone 2: Level-Up Performance Thinking of Engineering
Both Operations and Test Teams have a good understanding of Performance as they deal with it every day. These teams need to educate engineering on the importance of performance as it is a key requirement to software engineering and how it plays a role in large-scale environments under heavy load.

The Ops team shares data with engineering to highlight the performance behavior of their applications under real production load. This helps engineers to prevent these top performance problems from entering production and with that eliminating the need for firefights.

The test teams do their share by providing automated performance test frameworks and educating engineering on how to automate testing for these performance problem patterns.

Milestone 3: Level-Up Load and Capacity Testing
With development executing its own performance tests it's time to level up the test team as well. On one side there is more time to focus on large-scale load tests that need to be executed in a production- like environment. This helps to find any "data-driven", scalability, and "third-party impacted" performance problems. Close collaboration with Ops ensures that tests can be executed either in the prod environment or in a staged environment that mirrors production. Executing these tests in collaboration with Ops allows the teams to become more confident when releasing a new version and also helps with proper capacity planning steps.

Running tests against the production system gives better input for capacity planning and uncovers heavy load application issues

Milestone 4: Level-Up Performance Test Automation
The "traditional" testing teams are used to execute performance and scalability tests in their own environments at the end of a milestone. The goal is to provide these test frameworks and environments to engineering so that these basic performance tests can be executed automatically in the CI environment. In order for this to work you need to make sure that:

  1. These test frameworks are easy to use and accepted by developers
  2. Deliver performance metrics to detect the common problem patterns
  3. These are fully integrated into continuous integration

Automatic Integration Tests run in C/I to detect performance regressions on metrics such as # of SQL Calls, Page Load Time, # of JS files or Images ...

What's Next? Build a Performance Center of Excellence
Many of our customers who jumped on the DevOps train a while back are now promoting a performance culture in their organizations. In the next few blogs we will cover their best practices and tips on either building a separate "Performance Center of Excellence" Team or up-leveling the existing DevOps teams to deliver software with high confidence and fewer War Room weekends.

More Stories By Andreas Grabner

Andreas Grabner has been helping companies improve their application performance for 15+ years. He is a regular contributor within Web Performance and DevOps communities and a prolific speaker at user groups and conferences around the world. Reach him at @grabnerandi

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists looked at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deliver...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
Join us at Cloud Expo June 6-8 to find out how to securely connect your cloud app to any cloud or on-premises data source – without complex firewall changes. More users are demanding access to on-premises data from their cloud applications. It’s no longer a “nice-to-have” but an important differentiator that drives competitive advantages. It’s the new “must have” in the hybrid era. Users want capabilities that give them a unified view of the data to get closer to customers and grow business. The...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
It is ironic, but perhaps not unexpected, that many organizations who want the benefits of using an Agile approach to deliver software use a waterfall approach to adopting Agile practices: they form plans, they set milestones, and they measure progress by how many teams they have engaged. Old habits die hard, but like most waterfall software projects, most waterfall-style Agile adoption efforts fail to produce the results desired. The problem is that to get the results they want, they have to ch...
Wooed by the promise of faster innovation, lower TCO, and greater agility, businesses of every shape and size have embraced the cloud at every layer of the IT stack – from apps to file sharing to infrastructure. The typical organization currently uses more than a dozen sanctioned cloud apps and will shift more than half of all workloads to the cloud by 2018. Such cloud investments have delivered measurable benefits. But they’ve also resulted in some unintended side-effects: complexity and risk. ...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Doug Vanderweide, an instructor at Linux Academy, discussed why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers wit...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
Cloud applications are seeing a deluge of requests to support the exploding advanced analytics market. “Open analytics” is the emerging strategy to deliver that data through an open data access layer, in the cloud, to be directly consumed by external analytics tools and popular programming languages. An increasing number of data engineers and data scientists use a variety of platforms and advanced analytics languages such as SAS, R, Python and Java, as well as frameworks such as Hadoop and Spark...
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...
"We are a monitoring company. We work with Salesforce, BBC, and quite a few other big logos. We basically provide monitoring for them, structure for their cloud services and we fit into the DevOps world" explained David Gildeh, Co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Automation is enabling enterprises to design, deploy, and manage more complex, hybrid cloud environments. Yet the people who manage these environments must be trained in and understanding these environments better than ever before. A new era of analytics and cognitive computing is adding intelligence, but also more complexity, to these cloud environments. How smart is your cloud? How smart should it be? In this power panel at 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, paneli...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Cloud promises the agility required by today’s digital businesses. As organizations adopt cloud based infrastructures and services, their IT resources become increasingly dynamic and hybrid in nature. Managing these require modern IT operations and tools. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Raj Sundaram, Senior Principal Product Manager at CA Technologies, will discuss how to modernize your IT operations in order to proactively manage your hybrid cloud and IT environments. He will be sharing bes...