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Cloud Vendor lock-in avoidance with OneOps
JUL 05, 2016 23:37 PM
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Introduction

Enterprise applications are moving to Cloud based deployment due to increased accessibility needs of the applications and data for their employees as well as their customers. Early adopters of Cloud deployments had to configure operations of their applications and deployment based on the specific cloud platform where they deployed their applications. As the competition in the Cloud provider space has increased the need to exploit the various advantages provided by other providers forces the development and the operations teams of these enterprises to look for cross-cloud platform compatibility of hosting their software.

Till recently only couple of players were popular in the Public and Private Cloud spaces but recently the choices have increased on both the fronts. Hence large application development and deployment vendors have started looking at ways to utilize the advantage available with the wide choices available and started making tools and processes to adopt to this new environment.

Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) providers offer solutions that can manage various tools and technologies available for Development and Operations of the applications that are put into production servers. One key cost intensive component is the Cloud infrastructure that are currently locked-in with a single vendor to address the adoption of deployment and performance related capabilities that they offer in applications. 

Containers

Private Cloud stack vendors provided containerization tools that helps deployment of the applications across various infrastructure platforms faster. However many of these techniques were proprietary and was not portable across other vendors.

 

With Public cloud Container technologies like Docker provided the cloud agnostic containers that can be developed and deployed in various deployment platforms. However the autoscaling and other container management activities require cloud specific solutions to be developed and deployed. 

Cloud Agnostic Deployment Tools

Apache Brooklyn and jclouds provide tools that can help the operations team to orchestrate the deployment of applications in different cloud vendor environment with one set of tools. These tools provide a common framework to instrument the orchestration of deployment of applications across different cloud vendor.

Walmart Labs has invested and acquired OneOps that has tools and processes that it uses to manage several of Walmart’s eCommerce sites utilizing this solution. They have recently open source their solution for other software developers to utilize it take advantage of choices available in Cloud deployments.

Advantages

1)  Portability among various cloud platforms helps organizations to take advantage of better technology and/or better costs over the complete lifecycle of website deployment and management.

2) Continuous lifecycle management of the application provides the developer with lesser effort deploys the application, manages its scaling needs and repairing the applications environment when unforeseen changes occur.

3) With OneOps preexisting modeling of the various platforms, developers can focus on their application development rather work on the intricacies of a specific cloud environment. Tools in OneOps models all of that for developers and operations teams.

4) Complete Abstraction of cloud platforms puts the control into the hands of developers, instead of cloud providers, who often try to wall garden themselves with architectural decisions, proprietary APIs, tools and technologies that developers have to use.

Components

self service portal is available for users to define, deploy and administer the applications, has a back end automation engine that support complete application life cycle management which is shown below:


Figure 1OneOps Application Architecture (http://oneops.github.io/assets/local/images/architecture-overview-user.png)

Infrastructure clouds mentioned can be Amazon (Public Cloud), Microsoft Azure, Rackspace (Public and Private Cloud),  OpenStack (Private Cloud) and other variants in future. They also offer various Operating Systems, Containers, Databases, Content Management Servers and others to help deploy applications that are built by the developers. They also provide various tools for the Operations team to monitor the state of application deployment, operations and maintenance. 

OneOps LifeCycle

LifeCycle of applications developed with OneOps follows the process as shown below:


Figure 2OneOps Lifecycle(http://oneops.github.io/assets/local/images/oneops-product-overview.png)

OneOps tools and processes help the Application Developer to design the application, pick the various platforms where it has to run and provide the configurations required upfront. There are REST based API that can be used to obtain various configuration parameters required from the OneOps platform during the development of the application. In the testing phase QA team can verify that the applications are able to run on these platforms and then work with the Operations team to customize the operational parameters for deployment in production servers. They are also involved in various policy profile assignments based on the platforms.

 

Once the applications are deployed in various platforms OneOps provides tools to monitor and maintain the health of the applications. There are also auto repair and auto scale tools that can be accessed for each of these platforms from the central monitoring systems that can help management of performance of applications. They provide additional console for manual control of these cloud instances directly from the OneOps platform itself.

Benefits

There are quite a number of benefits that can be derived by utilizing this framework for application development and deployment.

  1. There are many DevOps operations that have been abstracted and provided as API for the developers saving plenty of time in training and understanding various frameworks.
  2. Test team can validate the functioning of the applications much easier saving time in performing additional configurations required in each platform for application start-up etc. They can also automate the application deployment and testing much easier as compared to requirement to use multiple applications on a heterogeneous environment that can save lot’s of time and cost.
  3. Provisioning additional resources will be much easier to handle during peak load times that can take into considerations the pricing fluctuations. This will help reduce cost of deployments for operations team with little overheads of research into the pricing structures.
  4. Being Open source reduces the cost of acquisition and training for teams on individual platforms.

No detailed cost structure and savings have been published by OneOps and/or by Walmart Labs so far. But adopting a strategy to use this in DevOps practice for around 3000 developers working to 30,000 commits per month indicates the applicability of this process across large application development environment. It indicates the acceptance of benefits that it provides for the organization in removing the inefficiencies surrounding multi cloud adoption strategy that is done manually by other enterprises.

Abstraction of Configuration, deployment, Policy management, monitoring and repair into a PaaS platform by OneOps various considerable advantage to the DevOps team of the enterprise. Since these are repetitive processes with different syntax that needs to be done on various platform, automating this with a single platform provides significant benefits qualitatively to organizations in longer run.

It helps in improving throughput and delivery of application development and deployment for customers (business teams) significantly to offer edge over competition.

References

http://www.oneops.com/

http://www.walmartlabs.com/2015/10/walmartlabs-oneops-open-source/

Author Information

Maniappan Rajagopalan is a Senior Enterprise Architect with the Technology Office of the Engineering Services team in HCL Technologies. He can be reached at maniappan.r@hcl.com

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