Posts Tagged ‘DevOps’

The Danger of Denying Reality: DevOps Enterprise Summit London Review

June 16th, 2017 No comments

I was very fortunate to be able to attend the DevOps Enterprise Summit in London recently. The conference is organised by ITRevolution which is lead by DevOps luminary Gene Kim who has written a number of books and papers about DevOps.

DevOps can touch every part of a business and help to create enormous benefit but there is a danger people can get caught up in the hype of things and possibly ignore reality.

I appreciate it takes huge courage to stand up at a conference and talk about what you’ve done and you should rightly be proud of having the courage and of you successes. I certainly don’t want to diminish the work some of the presenters had done but feel a reality check may be in order. One of the presentations at the conference was from the Ministry of Justice with one of its IT partners which was titled “Hybrid-Clouds: How to Go Slow and Haemorrhage Money Doing It”. The premise was public cloud was the future and wasting time and resources doing hybrid cloud is a fools errand.

Peeking into the future this is something I actually agree with. Hybrid cloud should be today’s on-ramp to the public cloud rather than a destination in itself. Now, there are going to be use cases for “private cloud” but this should actually be public cloud services managing on-premises IT if there is a need. The on-premises IT will more likely be devices that need to be physically located near to other things to report on/number crunch where there  are network limitations. It won’t be a mashing together of existing traditional on-premises IT linked up to a public cloud. Its not a public cloud more agile UAT version of your database that refreshes from the production on-prem version.

So, when an organisation as well known and important as the Ministry of Justice says it is all in on public cloud, its time to sit up and take notice. However, the reality doesn’t match up with the advertising. The Ministry of Justice says it has 50 cloud native public cloud applications out of 950. The other 900 applications run on traditional on-premises infrastructure. I questioned this and was told the Ministry doesn’t have a timeline to move the 900 apps to public cloud and will still even continue to deploy new workloads on-premises. They are only 5% public cloud yet seemingly ignoring the other 95%. That’s a bit of a reality check and not an all in on public cloud (yet). Have they learned enough from migrating or creating net new 5% public cloud apps to proclaim hybrid cloud a waste of time even if its temporary?

Unfortunately this kind of presentation reinforces the wrong message and I would believe creates more of a bi-modal IT mess. The IT estate gets carved up into the old and the new without acknowledging and managing the important bridge between the two and the continual evolution of IT from old to new wherever it may be hosted. Ring fencing your current, legacy, heritage, traditional, whatever you want to call it actually adds more technical debt if you don’t have a migration plan. There needs to be continuous evolution from old to new, the smaller and quicker the steps the easier it is.

Nordea bank had a provocatively titled talk “How Do You Fit a Core Banking System into a Few Containers?” which went through a development effort to migrate from a monolithic Oracle and Java estate to something new and containerised. There are two things which they did at least highlight which showed this isn’t the unicorns and rainbows one may expect from the title. First, this is only currently in test, not production. This certainly still has huge benefits with being able to test more quickly and have a more nimble and repeatable deployment model. Nordea says it is working with its compliance and regulatory teams to be able to move towards production. I hope for their sake that compliance/security/regulators were brought in at the very beginning and have been part of the journey rather than coming in only when they need to think about production. Secondly they openly said their containers are still very heavy which is an issue. They have large containers with Oracle and JVMs installed. The title did say a “few containers”. This seems like they are using containers not for micro-services but more of a packaging and standardised deployment format, all fine and useful but the real wins will be pulling apart that massive Oracle and Java codebase into discrete micro-services.

I will be very interested to see how Nordea get on with this in production, at least they are trying, playing and learning, I look forward to a future talk: “How Do You Fit a Production Core Banking System into a Lots of Containers?”

Enterprises certainly should have a goal of using more and more public cloud services and even be bold and have a public cloud first policy. Refactoring monolithic applications into micro-services allows you to do so much more. However you can’t ignore what you currently have and if you’re going to talk about where you are going, be realistic with where you are coming from and what that might mean as you learn more.

Categories: DevOps, DOES17 Tags: ,

Do Enterprise People Not Care About DevOps? A DevOps Enterprise Summit London Review

June 15th, 2017 No comments

I was very fortunate to be able to attend the DevOps Enterprise Summit in London recently. The conference is organised by ITRevolution which is lead by DevOps luminary Gene Kim who has written a number of books and papers about DevOps.

I was struck that there were apparently 650 attendees which I found surprisingly low. If DevOps is the solution to many IT problems I would have thought that it would appeal to more than 650 people. It was hosted in easily accessible London and seemed to attract people from all over Europe in my unscientifically unofficial badge watching and accent analysis.

I can think of two reasons for the seemingly low turnout. First of all this is targeted squarely at the enterprise who are certainly laggards by nature of their size and complexity. Although DevOps is now fairly established practice, enterprise are still wrangling their own inertia and bureaucracy. Enterprises may not yet see the value in sending people to a conference about DevOps, they are happy to spend vast amounts of money on wasting time  in the office doing meaningless work yet a few days at a conference to hear from peers and experts is seen a time away from the office which must be therefore unproductive.. This would be seen as ridiculous in smaller, IT focused companies that have fully embraced “cloud native” where DevOps is obvious and the norm. Enterprises can be very strange.

Secondly, DevOps is very difficult to define and articulate. It could be seen as a term possibly as loosely defined as “cloud”. How many people would see value and attend a “Cloud Enterprise Summit”? I think this is one of the challenges facing the DevOps “movement” for enterprises. It is tough to articulate DevOps and therefore tough to define its value. When you understand what DevOps can bring it seems obvious but when you don’t it can seem nebulous. I’ve heard anecdotally that the DevOpsDays are seen as somewhat insular. Is the DevOps movement itself a barrier to adoption?

One of the things that backed up my observation at the conference is more physical, books. The conference gave out Gene Kim et al’s The Phoenix Project, DevOps Handbook and other books for free at the conference. I had thought people would attend the conference having already read the books and wanting to find out more but a number of people I spoke to had never heard of the books or if they had heard of them hadn’t read them. I found this amazing as The Phoenix Project has been out for more than 4  years and was one of the books that sparked my interest in discovering what is holding back IT.

Attendance numbers aside it seemed the people who were there were very engaged and the presentations were diverse and interesting. Does this mean DevOps is still in its infancy in the enterprise and conference attendees are its early proponents or is DevOps still not getting the attention in enterprises it needs?

Categories: DevOps, DOES17 Tags: ,

DevOps Enterprise Summit London Review: Organisational Change is Mandatory

June 15th, 2017 No comments

I was very fortunate to be able to attend the DevOps Enterprise Summit in London recently. The conference is organised by ITRevolution which is lead by DevOps luminary Gene Kim who has written a number of books and papers about DevOps.

One of the recurring themes throughout the conference was about organisational change. Many enterprises are making some headway with DevOps practices if we define DevOps in one of its purest aims of “shipping higher quality code faster” as well as in a more broader sense of making IT more efficient and adaptive.

I listened to a number of the presentations, attended the great Ask the Speakers Sessions, took part in a group discussion and spoke to a number of attendees. The number one barrier to improving IT efficiency and getting that better code shipped faster is organisational change rather than technical tools or capabilities. The repeated message was, the bigger the focus on organisation change, the better performing an IT organisation will be. By organisational change I mean team function as well as financing.

I was struck listening to the presentation from Barclays by Jonathan Smart, The Yin and Yang of Speed and Control and followed up in the Ask the Speakers Session. Barclays has spent three years completely changing the way its organisation is structured and aiming for the so-called 2 pizza team or smaller more nimbler teams. What is also interesting is they are extending this to their external partners by structuring these engagements also using the same small cell based structure approach. Basically one-size all encompassing outsourcing deals are out the windows which is something IT professionals have been telling their bosses for years!

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Categories: DevOps, DOES17 Tags: ,

VMworld EU 2015 Buzz: Should I be Transitioning my Legacy Applications into CNA? – CNA6813-QT

October 27th, 2015 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld Europe 2015 coverage:

Session was led by Chris Crafford, a Practice Manager, VMware

This again was a high level overview of the technologies available and went through what microservice are, the 12 factor apps I mentioned in the lab I did and why they are better for cloud environments. Microservices only manage the data they care about, are accessed only via the service, there are no shared libraries.

Chris mentioned an interesting thing I hadn’t thought of for the definition. Microservices need to be automatically deployed to make them true microservices, its not good enough to just have services that are micro.

Chris went through one of the major tenets of microservices which is all about failure management, assume failure and have an architecture that mitigates the impact of the faults, errors and failures at runtime.

Then Chris went on to talk about migrating legacy applications which must be done as an evolutionary approach. Choose the most business urgent to break out first. Use containers for this new bit and leverage best practices for CI/CD, automating all the steps. Learn and improve and then repeat for the next service that has been prioritised.

Another thing Chris mentioned was some deployments use one microservice per container but this makes management more challenging so consider a business role mapped to a container model instead.

The short session ended with a vCloud Air commercial, VMware funnily enough says it is the ideal target for migration of legacy applications particularly with the recent announcements with layer 2 networking between your data center and vCloud Air and container security with NSX.

The future of vCloud Air and how it will integrate with EMCs recent aquisition of Virtustream now becomes very interesting as vCloud Air is being moved out of VMware direct management and folded directly into Virtustream. Who knows what the future holds.

VMworld EU 2015 Buzz: Cloud Native Apps Lab – HOL-SDC-1630

October 27th, 2015 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld Europe 2015 coverage:

“DevOps, Containers, Docker, Mesos, Kubernetes, Microservices, 12-factor applications, 3rd platform, oh my!” is how it is described.

The VMware Hands-on-Labs are available online from and the VMworld specific ones are available from: It doesn’t seem the VMworld labs are available yet post show and this lab isn’t available with the main ones so hopefully this will appear soon.

This was a big ‘ol lab with plenty of content. Labs are in 90 minute slots which you can extend by 20 minutes and topics may not be finished in time so you may need another session to complete.

All the seats were full when I arrived but I was able to use my own laptop and just connect over the internet to do the lab, I could have done it from anywhere in the world. Kudos to the lab team, they’ve done a great job, the layout was great, no delays or any connectivity issues.

2015-10-12 10.39.22 2015-10-12 10.53.51

This lab went through a fair amount of background information on what microservices are (splitting apart monolithic applications into many more nimble parts) and listed the 12 factors that ideally make up a cloud native applications. You can read more about them at and in plain English

The lab then went through an explanation of containers, Docker (company that does containers) and Kubernetes (container orchestrations)

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VMworld Europe Preview: Differences + the DevOps Dilemmas

October 7th, 2015 No comments

I previewed VMworld San Francisco in my post: VMworld: Juggling and jousting, VMware’s battles for the future where I initially highlighted the recent people changes at VMware as well as the rough and tumble world VMware lives in while marketing and selling storage and networking. I also spent some time going though the changing face of application development which I’ll expand on in this post.

It’s different

VMworld Europe is the smaller sibling to the exuberant big ‘ol US VMworld that always seems to pave the way. 8000 attendees rather than 23000 certainly makes a difference although calling it more intimate would be taking it a bit far. All the big announcements and strategy crystal ball gazing is mostly done by VMworld US so Europe has historically been left with the hand me downs in terms of announcements. The focus for VMware is to re-use its US content in Europe 2 months later without it feeling stale and introduce just enough new information and provide the networking opportunities to make people spend the money to go.

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