Agile Cloud Development

Agile Cloud Development focuses the aspects of agile development that integrate with cloud computing SaaS and PaaS environments including DevOps, Scrum, XP, and Kanban. (Read More)

Major areas of focus include the Agile Development process and the pitfalls many companies encounter trying to implement it, the DevOps process and the pitfalls associated with its implementation. the organizational aspects of successfully implementing Agile Development and DevOps and the new tools that should be used to support Agile Development and DevOps processes. Covered toolsets include Agile Project Management, Continuous Integration, and Automated Deployment.

VMworld US 2015: Day 4 Recap

vmworld2015Welcome to The Virtualization Practice’s week-long coverage of VMworld US 2015. Tune in all week for our daily recap of the major announcements and highlights from the world’s premier virtualization and cloud conference.

With all the forward-looking business out of the way (see the Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 recaps) VMworld took a breath yesterday and focused on other parts of the ecosystem. The first annual Developer Day was held as part of the VMworld DevOps program track, and included a Hackathon where coders and non-coders could compete for prizes. Non-coders had a series of increasingly difficult challenges to complete. Coders worked to create the most useful, creative, and complex tools & services on vCloud Air, judged at the end of the day, and awarded prizes like a guitar signed by Alabama Shakes and the Neon Trees, the VMworld Party bands.

The VMworld DevOps program track was new this year, and a welcome addition for folks that want to know more about DevOps but cannot justify a separate trip to a conference like PuppetConf. There were sessions every day, all day, by heavy hitters in the industry. Kit Colbert, VMware CTO of Cloud-Native Apps, kicked it off on Monday, with presentations by Andrew Shafer (co-founder of Puppet), Jez Humble (VP of Chef), Steve Herrod (former CTO of VMware), all focused on the larger topics of DevOps. Between those there were in-the-trenches presentations from folks like Fabio Rapposelli and Massimo Re Ferre on using tools and techniques to get things done. The DevOps track stayed fairly agnostic, offering sessions on using Puppet, Chef, and Ansible (all competing configuration management technologies), as well as sessions on the VMware Integrated OpenStack modules, using Jenkins for continuous delivery, and some of the VMware-specific tools like vRealize Code Stream.

These are the sorts of technologies that are changing the landscape of IT. While CEOs and COOs and CTOs are on stage speaking about the big trends in IT it’s the continuous baby steps of the people in the industry that actually make those trends happen. The right person deciding to attend a DevOps session, because there’s no barrier to entry once you’re in the conference, can change the future of an organization. Similarly, there were a number of other smaller announcements from VMware that are pretty important, but didn’t get a lot of attention:

VMware vRealize Operations 6.1 (vROps) got the ability to suggest workload placements based on business and technical rules. This doesn’t seem very interesting at first glance, but this is a large problem for environments with a variety of vSphere clusters. It’s also a problem that competitors like VMturbo have already solved. Furthermore, vROps will now be able to natively monitor operating systems and applications. Previously that was possible through VMware Hyperic, a hard to use product with terrible adoption rates (for good reason) that is all but dead now.

VMware Integrated OpenStack 2 adds a number of OpenStack components, like load balancing, Ceilometer, and Heat Auto Scaling. That’s not what’s interesting, though. The most interesting part of the announcement are the words “industry first seamless upgrade capability.” OpenStack suffers from a few particular problems that keep customers away, and hellish or impossible upgrades are one of them. Other vendors, like Piston Cloud, have already solved the upgrade problem, so if VMware wanted to be serious about OpenStack they’d need to solve it, too. And it looks like they’re serious, which is good.

VMware vSphere APIs for IO Filtering sounds pretty boring, but it’s a diamond buried under the mountain of other, seemingly sexier announcements. VMware worked with their partner SanDisk to create an I/O filtering layer similar to that of Microsoft’s Minifilter APIs in Windows. These new APIs allow software to hook directly into the I/O path of a VM, meaning that third-party software can intercept & work with I/O directly. For SanDisk, this opens the door for their FlashSoft caching products to integrate very closely and very efficiently with vSphere (and look, they’ve announced just that!). For others, this means DR replication might now be free of the hated & awful VM snapshot, or the quirky and unreliable changed block tracking, both vestiges of a pre-vSphere era. With the filtering APIs a replication product can just insert itself in the I/O stream and copy all I/O as it is happening, without having to figure out what changed at a later date. Look for synchronous mirroring to appear natively in VMware vSphere Replication as a result.

VMware Site Recovery Manager 6.1 now integrates with NSX 6.2, which is sort of a no-brainer, but it also gained the ability to work with vSphere’s Storage Policy-based Management to allow workloads to be automatically protected depending on where they’re placed. That’s also a no-brainer, but it’s huge, and it hasn’t been done by VMware before.

Much of this is evidence that, under Pat Gelsinger, VMware is once again interested in following through on their commitments, creating quality products that integrate well with each other and add visible & tangible value to IT. Industry pundits trapped in the groupthink of Silicon Valley keep saying that VMware is dying, but this sort of thing is how VMware will keep customers in the fold. Making it easy for an organization to run their workloads well and seamlessly transition (or not) to the public cloud where appropriate is huge in the eyes of both CIOs and in-the-trenches IT staff.

Last, of course, was the VMworld Party! All big conferences have parties and bands, and the Neon Trees and Alabama Shakes did a great job of entertaining the crowds at AT&T Park.

Join us again tomorrow for a wrap up of the whole VMworld US 2015 conference, including highlights and key takeaways.

Containers Are the Future, If …

agilecloudI agree that containers will be the future of computing. However, that may not happen anytime soon. Containers have many hurdles to get over before they can take over the world. Some of these hurdles are related to politics within organizations, and others are technical. Let me discuss the technical ones.

Continue reading Containers Are the Future, If …

Tracking the Hot Container Market

agilecloudThe container market is moving at the speed of light. Each vendor in this space is delivering features at an amazing pace. In fact, things are moving so fast that this article will likely be way outdated in about 2 months. It was just under two months ago when I reported on the many announcements made at DockerCon 2015 in San Francisco. Since then, each vendor has made a number of significant announcements about new features or partnerships. Here is a rundown of what has been announced by the major players in the hot container space. Continue reading Tracking the Hot Container Market

DevOps and Bottlenecks

agilecloudOne of the main goals of DevOps is to streamline the software development lifecycle (SDLC) by removing waste from the system. Waste is often found in the form of bottlenecks, things within the system the slow down forward progress and introduce unnecessary wait time or tasks. This waste can be caused by inefficient processes, technology issues, and organizational or people issues. Successful companies are able to look at the entire value stream to identify the waste and then systematically work on reducing that waste from the SDLC to continuously improve, resulting in better speed to market, improved quality, and higher reliability. Companies the can continuously improve in this fashion become high performing companies which often results in improved customer satisfaction, better productivity, and improved financial results. This is the ultimate dream of the C-level types who are looking to transform their companies with DevOps. Continue reading DevOps and Bottlenecks

The Substrates of IT

CloudComputingAs technologists and analysts for the virtualization and cloud spaces, we are always talking about various places within the IT stack. Actually, as we talked about within the article Technical Arc of Virtualization, we have noticed that many people are moving up the IT stack, forming new and more interesting substrates of IT. These substrates are used to simplify the actions one takes to deploy new and more interesting applications, while at the same time abstracting away the physical and virtual layers of the stack—in essence, forming new substrates on top of which to build. Continue reading The Substrates of IT

Security: Continuous Delivery Requires New Approaches

agilecloudAs companies embrace the DevOps movement, they rely heavily on automation to improve the time to market for new features and services. DevOps is a long, never-ending journey with a goal of continuously improving the software delivery process, resulting in better products and services and, ultimately, happier customers. At the beginning of their DevOps journies, many companies focus on continuous integration (CI), in which they automate the build process. Automated testing is implemented so that builds will fail if any changes fail the baseline tests. The idea here is to never move bugs forward, catching them early in the process.

Continue reading Security: Continuous Delivery Requires New Approaches