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DevOps and Microservices are not new concepts within IT but these aspects of the development process are not often applied. “Really a shame,” in the opinion of Basefarm’s Bent Terp, “because combining DevOps and Microservices yield benefits in a wide range of areas.”

Dev+Ops= development synergy

DevOps revolves around intensive collaboration between software engineers and other IT specialists within a company, resulting in more frequent and faster implementation. To get the highest benefit, applications should not be built as large monoliths but as a suite of smaller, independent components (aka Microservices).

DevOps however is not a product: after all, you can’t buy it anywhere.

“DevOps is much more a culture, a mindset within organizations,” says Terp.

And he should know: as Senior Solutions Architect at Basefarm he has to deal with numerous IT challenges and development methods.

The elusive trust culture

“DevOps relies on a culture of trust ‒ trust in the talent of your team,” Terp explains. “DevOps is only feasible with teams that encompass all the requisite skills at the development as well as the operations end.”

It sounds easy but it’s not. Terp: “We’re not simply dealing with technologies but also with the processes and the people who have to execute the processes.”

For many companies ‒ and their staff ‒ this way of developing software requires a radically different mindset.

Microservices are a developer’s best friend

Developers are responsible for communication with other teams as well as their own piece of code. An advantage of working with Microservices is that each team can work in the language they prefer.

“Everybody can do it their own way in the programming language they know best with their own release cycle,” Terp explains. “There’s no waiting around for everybody else.”

Faster time-to-market

By making it possible to work on smaller pieces of the overall system independently of the rest, microservices enhance the efficiency of software development.

Terp: “One of the largest Nordic banks had a situation where it took ten weeks to find out if a piece of software actually worked; now with DevOps on OpenShift it’s only a matter of hours, considerably reducing the time-to-market.”

More results in less time

And where a piece of code used to pass through many different, isolated teams as it travelled through the entire pipeline ‒ from development through testing and quality assurance to deployment ‒ DevOps and Microservices have made adjustments less dramatic and hence significantly shortened cycle times.


About Bent Terp, Senior Solutions Architect in Basefarm Group: An enthusiastic Linux user for more than 30 years, Bent has designed and operated solutions for credit-card processing, e-health and video streaming services. His current focus is the adoption of public-cloud services and container-based microservices to increase innovation speed and quality.

Would you like to know more? Read more about OpenShift-as-a-Service, Microservices and DevOps here.

Contact us for more information.

What is DevOps? – A definition

DevOps has become the go-to concept for companies looking to optimize agile processes. However, many find it difficult to understand what exactly DevOps is, what it looks like in practice, and how far-reaching its implementation can be. We explain all in this post.

What is the Azure Stack?

– Azure Stack is Azure public cloud services delivered from our own local datacenter. It is made up of dedicated hardware delivered by Microsoft certified partners such as HP/Dell/Lenovo based on Microsoft specifications.

What is the Azure Stack?
– Azure Stack is Azure public cloud services delivered from our own local datacenter. It is made up of dedicated hardware delivered by Microsoft certified partners such as HP/Dell/Lenovo based on Microsoft specifications. The solution is available through the Azure Stack portal, APIs, Resource Manager templates. These are all consistent with the Azure in the public cloud, so the experience for the IT Pro and developer are the same.

Are all Azure services available?
– No, just as in the public cloud version of Azure. The services offered in the region may differ. In the Azure Stack, a subset of the services will be available. To begin with, the focus will be on core services compute, storage and networking (IaaS) and certain PaaS services (App Service, Service Fabric). This will be expanded during the next releases. Some services will never be appropriate to establish in a local version of Azure, ex: HPC solutions where one scales up to 1000 computers for a few hours.

When will it be launched?
-Today the Technical Preview v3 (TP3) is available. GA (General Availability) from Microsoft is scheduled to be in middle of the summer, and for a period after the launch there will be tests and integration tests with hardware vendors before the solution is installed in Basefarm’s data center.

When will it be available As A Service from Basefarm?
– Basefarm plans to offer Azure Stack during the late summer/fall. This depends on Microsoft and hardware partners.

How should the Basefarm offer Azure Stack?
– Basefarm will initially offer Azure Stack as a Service just as Azure in the public cloud. This means several customers can use the solution as they would like. There will also be a Pay As You GO model. It will also be possible to offer Azure Stack as a dedicated solution for the customers has special requirements and needs.

What are the key scenarios for Azure Stack?
– Azure Stack is relevant for customers with needs for solutions and data to be local. There may be various reasons for this. Here some examples:

  • Modernization of legacy applications. You have an existing application that consists of layers that you would like to modernize, e.g. the Web frontend. Taking advantage of the flexibility that public cloud offers is tempting, but you cannot move it all to the Azure because of a larger database, software that is not supported in Azure or software that cannot run in Azure due to dependencies to other components.
  • Latency, the distance to the Azure regions (e.g. The Netherlands and Dublin) is too large and it is creating a delay in the network.
  • Regulatory requirements, e.g. requirements for inspection of the data center.
  • Data sovereignty, data needs to stay in the country

How will the Azure Stack connect with public Azure (technical and billing/subscription)?
– Billing/subscription: The customer can buy consumption in the Azure Stack through Basefarm’s Cloud Solution Provider Agreement with Microsoft. The same ‘pay as you go’ model and the flexibility as in the public cloud.
– Technical: Basically, customers can build solutions that run across the Azure public and Azure Stack. Furthermore, it is also planned for the combinations of these with Basefarm’s own cloud solutions/private clouds.

Do I need an Azure subscription to use Azure Stack?
– Yes. One uses a subscription just as in Azure public cloud. It’s consistent.

Will Basefarm offer operation services for infrastructure based on Azure Stack?
-Yes. We will offer operations like we do on Azure. The managed services will be flexible to the customer depending on whether their focus is DevOps with customer’s process and control, or a more ITIL based process offered by Basefarm.

Replaces the Azure Stack a typical “private cloud”?
– Eventually. Initially it is a limited version of public Azure.

Can I start to test and possibly create a reference architecture for the Azure Stack today?
– Yes. You can set up a test version (TP3), but the easiest way is to use public Azure and set Resource Policies on a subscription or a resource group. You can read more about that on the Microsoft blog.

Where can I find more information about Azure Stack?
– Azure Stack Shotcuts is a good place to start. Jeffrey Snover (Microsoft), Chief Architect Azure Stack, held on 7. May an overall presentation during DEVIntersection that gives a good updated introduction to Azure Stack.

Who can I contact for more information in Basefarm around Azure Stack?
– Please contact Geir Morten Allum, Senior Cloud Architect – Product Development, geir.morten.allum@basefarm.com

DevOps hotel for a faster time to market

Basefarm works together with their partner Red Hat to provide DevOps hotel:OpenShift as a service.

In the new era of digital transformation companies need the best tools and techniques. With OpenShift they can focus on the experience of their end-users instead of having to build the underlying technologies and processes on their own.

OpenShift includes automated and integrated DevOps tools which allow rapid application development, deployment and scaling. This can drastically decrease your time to market, saving your organization time and money.

The application development model follows the principle of continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD). OpenShift as a Service: Devops Hotel from Basefarm is a method for developers to rapidly create and deploy applications in a containerized environment.

How you benefit

  • Improve your development process with DevOps;
  • Have a more efficient application architecture with microservices;
  • Increase productivity in deployment and packaging with containers;
  • Boost flexibility in the cloud.

The service is based on top of Docker containers and the Kubernetes container cluster manager to provide a complete container platform. This allows you to ship new features faster and more securely than before in an efficient self-contained system.

OpenShift as a Service is built for traditional applications as well as next generation cloud-native microservices. The microservice architecture improves the creation and maintenance of applications by breaking them down into smaller components. You can simultaneously improve the user experience, increase efficiency and boost profitability.

The 100% open source OpenShift includes industry standard containers and orchestration, a platform with operational management, enterprise grade security, and full stack support across infrastructures and clouds. The service perfectly complements our hybrid cloud solutions.

OpenShift as a Service: DevOps Hotel from Basefarm is a perfect option for an organization looking to explore the benefits of DevOps, containers and microservices with a new project. Contact us today to see how we can help you succeed in the new digital transformation era.

Kubernetes eases the burden of running applications

The Kubernetes platform automates the deployment, scaling and operation of application containers. See how it works in OpenShift as a Service by Basefarm.

Kubernetes is an open-source platform which allows you to automate the deployment, scaling and operations of application containers. This eases the burden of running applications in private and public clouds and helps you to quickly and efficiently respond to customer demand.

OpenShift as a Service: DevOps Hotel from Basefarm is based on top of Docker containers and the Kubernetes container cluster manager. This helps you to develop, create, test and manage container-based services easily and quickly. Once set up you can expect your applications to run with low downtime, impressive performance and low support.

Kubernetes can schedule and run application containers on clusters of machines, but it can also allow the move to a container-centric infrastructure. The cutting-edge method of deployment and packaging is not physical or virtual, but with containers.

Your benefits

  • Deploy applications predictably and quickly;
  • Scale as needed;
  • Introduce new features easily;
  • Support a large number of applications;
  • Boost productivity.

Docker containers can benefit both developers and system administrators

Docker automates the deployment of applications inside containers. See how this helps flexibility and portability with Basefarm’s OpenShift as a Service.

Docker is the world’s leading software container platform, automating the deployment of applications inside software containers. Companies use Docker to build software delivery pipelines to quickly and securely ship new features.

Basefarm’s OpenShift as a Service: DevOps Hotel uses the Kubernetes container management cluster and Docker containers. Containers don’t bundle a full operating system, but only those libraries and settings necessary. This makes systems which are efficient, lightweight and self-contained so that software runs the same no matter where it is deployed.

Developers love Docker because it automates the repetitive tasks of setting up and configuring different development environments. Operations love Docker because it makes for a streamlined delivery of software. Best of all it includes tools to enable DevOps, breaking down the old barrier between Development and Operations teams.

Your benefits

  • Agile creation and deployment of applications.
  • Continuous development and deployment.
  • Portability across operating systems.
  • Application-centric management.
  • Simplified maintenance.
  • Improve efficiency and make more money.

Microservices are a modern way to build applications

Microservices can increase productivity and improve profits in app development. Learn more about this architecture in Basefarm’s OpenShift as a Service.

The microservice architecture is not just a new tool to build applications. It allows a new workflow to help your company create scalable and adaptive systems so you can thrive in today’s competitive markets.

Many types of applications are easier to build and maintain when they are broken down into smaller units. Each component is created separately, unlike the traditional monolithic approach where the entire application is developed in one piece. This allows for faster and more efficient development as well as reducing strict dependencies between individual components.

Microservices are an up-to-date interpretation of service-oriented architecture (SOA). A microservices architecture used with OpenShift as a Service: DevOps Hotel from Basefarm allows you to move away from the old, inefficient application development.

Your benefits

  • Features can be added without rewriting the whole application;
  • Maintenance is faster and simpler;
  • Parts of the application can be scaled separately;
  • Change and add functions more easily;
  • Reduce the likelihood of large failures;
  • Improve user experience;
  • Lower costs and improve profitability.

Fast innovation starts with automating development workflows

You have to be able to try out new concepts faster in order to dial up the innovation speed. This requires a different way of thinking and a more modern software development method.

“Thanks to OpenShift, developers can concentrate fully on functionality and on writing code.”

You have to be able to try out new concepts faster in order to dial up the innovation speed. But this requires a different way of thinking and a more modern software development method than most companies are used to.

“In an ideal situation, you would be so flexible that you could turn an idea for an app or a new product, for example, into a working prototype that you could offer to a group of customers within a very short time frame,” says Stefan Månsby, Innovation Officer at Basefarm. “This way you would get feedback as quickly as possible, be able to monitor customer behaviour and continuously roll out changes and improvements.”

The problem, however, is that the IT department is often far removed from the business side of things at many companies. IT primarily has a supporting role there. “Take ITIL processes, for example. These are primarily aimed at guaranteeing a stable and high-quality operating environment for the lowest possible costs. Being innovative and experimenting does not fit in to this picture at all.”

Development and seamless administration

Hence, not only does software development need to be faster and more flexible, operational efficiency must also be improved. Månsby: “That is why it is desirable for administrators and developers to cooperate in devops teams and use shared workflows.” Everything that developers produce can then be administered quickly and efficiently.

“Often companies stop before they have even begun, simply because there are too many barriers. But you have to be able to try out new things. You do not want to wait for a server for weeks. And should something not be successful, you should be able to stop doing it immediately without this resulting in consequences.” You do not want to get stuck with expensive, superfluous servers, for example. Everything should just disappear, so that you can start trying out something else.

Workflow automation

You should automate workflows because it is too labour-intensive to manually process sizeable checklists. The open source platform OpenShift was developed especially for setting up and working with workflows. “Thanks to OpenShift developers can concentrate fully on functionality and on writing code, without worrying about the hardware, the operating system or the cloud environment where the application will soon be running,” continues Månsby.

Technologies such as Docker and Kubernetes are used in OpenShift for neatly bundling everything needed to run an application on a specific infrastructure. “Administrators can easily roll out these bundles and know for sure that the correct modules for processes such as monitoring, logging, auditing and passing on of costs will be included automatically.”,

Orchestration

One aspect of a workflow is automatic verification of whether all the required modules that together comprise an application are still able to work together properly and whether no conflicts arise due to a change. Månsby: “Modern software development uses so-called microservices. These are bits of functionality that you can add, adapt and remove quickly and easily, without affecting the remaining functionality.” Any application easily consists of hundreds of microservices that talk to each other through APIs. “This creates many thousands of integration checkpoints that all need to be carefully checked every time. This makes orchestration a very complex and labour-intensive task which is impossible to do manually. OpenShift shoulders the heavy work. It is also possible to visualise the connection between all the components.”

With OpenShift you can ensure that you remain compliant and optimally prepare yourself for audits. “You can carry out the necessary controls and generate the needed reports with the platform.” Code is packaged and provided with checksums in such a way that it is impossible to tamper with the software, guaranteed. “You always have 100% certainty that what is in production is correct and that no one messed with it somewhere along the line.”

Adaptation and customisation

OpenShift takes a great deal of work out of developers’ hands by providing a comprehensive framework for setting up and using workflows in a cost-effective manner. Månsby does, however, issue a caveat: the platform is not a ‘miracle cure’ that will resolve everything for you right out of the box. “OpenShift entails an enormous amount of functionality,” he explains. “Usually you only need a part of it. It will be an enormous help if you involve a party who will assist you in finding the right way to get the best possible use out of the platform. You can try to discover everything yourself, but that takes a lot of time and there is a big chance that you will not even use the platform in an optimal manner afterwards. And why would you want to reinvent the wheel anyway?”

You should also examine how OpenShift and the workflows fit best with your organisation. There will be a need to adapt existing workflows in certain aspects if you want to get the greatest benefit from OpenShift. “It’s important to realise that a digital transformation is needed. The goal is to decrease time to market, increase innovation speed, accelerate software development and improve operational efficiency. And this will not be possible if you want to keep doing things exactly as you’ve always done them before.”