IT Modernization and DevOps News Week in Review

At IBM's Investor Briefing 2019, CEO Ginni Rometty, addressed questions about the future of Red Hat now that the acquisition has closed. Framing what she calls Chapter Two of the cloud, she noted that Red Hat brings the vehicle. "Eighty percent is still to be moved into a hybrid cloud environment," she said. Noting further that, " Hybrid cloud is the destination because you can modularize apps." The strategy moving forward is to scale Red Hat, selling more IBM services tied to Red Hat while optimizing the IBM portfolio for Red Hat OpenShift in a move that Rometty called, “middleware everywhere.”

Welcoming The Release Of AWS CloudFormation Drift Detection

Infrastructure as Code has revolutionized how we manage infrastructure and AWS CloudFormation has played a foundational role in this process. As AWS Premier Consulting Partners, at Flux7 we have many customers using AWS CloudFormation to deploy their infrastructure. Yet, the benefits of AWS CloudFormation aren’t just about deploying, as it is instrumental in maintaining and providing future 

IT Modernization and DevOps News Week in Review

It is spring and that means it’s conference season. Two events this week that caught our attention were the ServiceNow Knowledge Conference and Red Hat Summit, both of which, like clockwork, had several DevOps news announcements  worth sharing.

Infrastructure Provisioning Update: Terraform and CloudFormation

Over the past few months, the DevOps team here at Flux7 has noticed a growing trend among our projects. An increasing number of client assessments result in the use of Terraform by HashiCorp in support of DevOps automation and more specifically, infrastructure as code (IaC). We thought we’d devote today’s blog to why we are becoming heavier Terraform users and its benefits. And, we’ll also share the situations in which we recommend its use to clients, as well as situations where we might recommend the use of both AWS CloudFormation and Terraform.

Continuous Deployment of Serverless Applications with AWS SAM & AWS CodePipeline

Amazon Web Services users have been eager to find a simpler method for deploying serverless applications, built using Lambda functions, API gateways, and AWS DynamoDB. As a result, AWS released a new model called the AWS Serverless Application Model (SAM) which makes it easier for customers to deploy their serverless applications using AWS CloudFormation. With this announcement, there are now two serverless frameworks for building serverless architectures -- deploying serverless applications using AWS CloudFormation and using the AWS SAM. However, the new AWS SAM uses CloudFormation natively to deploy, which is a definite plus for AWS users.

Flux7 An AWS Management Tools Service Delivery Launch Partner

We are excited to bring you news today that we at Flux7 have achieved our fifth AWS Service Delivery Partner status, this time as an AWS Management Tools launch partner. (Others include AWS Web Application Firewall (WAF), AWS Service Catalog, Amazon CloudFront and Amazon Aurora.) This is an important recognition as the AWS Service Delivery Program only highlights AWS Consulting Partners who have a track record of success delivering verified customer solutions with specific AWS services. Comprised of AWS CloudFormation, Amazon EC2 Systems Manager, AWS CloudTrail and AWS Config, the AWS management tools collectively enable effective and efficient cloud operations management.

A Review of AWS CloudFormation StackSets

At the recent AWS Summit in Chicago, Amazon introduced CloudFormation StackSets, a new feature to CloudFormation. As heavy users of AWS CloudFormation for implementing infrastructure as code in an automated, consistent way, we are dedicating today’s blog to reviewing the new CloudFormation StackSets. As proponents of DevOps automation,

Fostering Cross Account AWS CodePipelines

AWS automation recently got a boost: the company introduced the ability to build an end-to-end release automation workflow that can deploy changes across multiple regions or different AWS accounts. And they subsequently featured an article on their blog on the steps to create a cross region CodePipeline. Today, however, we want to address the other half of this equation -- building cross account pipelines -- and thought it worthwhile to share with you here when and why we would recommend the benefits of this approach.

Flux7 Achieves AWS Consulting Partner Recognition For AWS Service Catalog

We are excited to announce today that we have achieved our third AWS Service Delivery Partner status, this time for AWS Service Catalog. (You can view the news release here.) This is an important recognition for the Flux7 team of DevOps consultants as the AWS Service Delivery Program only highlights AWS Consulting Partners who have a track record of success delivering verified customer solutions for specific Amazon Web Services (AWS) products.

AWS Case Studies: Serverless Monitoring and Notification Pipeline

We recently worked with a Fortune 500 manufacturer of heavy equipment that is focused on quality, productivity, and effectively connecting its customers with data-driven insights via technology. As an international, publicly traded organization, it is also careful about managing security, risk and compliance. So, when this manufacturer asked if we could set up an audit and notification system, we were happy to roll up our sleeves and begin work. (You can read here the full case study of this Fortune 100 customer.)

AWS Developer Tools Provide Continuous Deployment to Amazon ECS

To support the business as best as possible, it’s important for Development to issue new features -- or greenfield solutions -- to market as quickly as possible. It’s not a stretch to say that many organizations’ ability to compete successfully depends on their speedy delivery of new products to customer. And in some cases first mover status is the difference between owning a market or bowing out of one.

Container Instance Draining in Amazon ECS

AWS recently announced that Amazon ECS now supports a state for container instances that can be used to drain a container instance in preparation for maintenance or cluster scale down. AWS reports that the draining state prevents new tasks from being started on the container instance and notifies the service scheduler to move tasks that are running on the instance to other instances in the cluster. This is great news that we expect to save a lot of time and scripting when it comes to updating or removing containers from a cluster.

Best Blogs 2016: Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery

This week we are highlighting the most talked about issues from the Flux7 blog in 2016. While new AWS services are always being announced, sometimes making it hard to keep up, we found that a lot of discussion revolved around process management and how to best use new features and tools to streamline DevOps processes like continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD).

As we all know CI/CD is a key tenet of successful DevOps with automation playing a starring role. Whether you are getting features to internal customers faster or bringing new products to market before the competition, a continuous delivery pipeline helps speed time to delivery, generating greater value to the business. And when it came to delivering the greatest value to our readers on the topics of CI pipelines and deployment pipelines, these posts scored: 

AWS re:Invent 2016 and Container-Powered Migrations

At the re:Invent conference in Las Vegas last week, we had the opportunity to present a Flux7-powered case study of a successful containerized migration to AWS. As part of the session, “Getting Technically Inspired by Container Powered Migrations”, Flux7 CEO, Aater Suleman, shared Flux 7’s recent work with Rent-A-Center to perform a Hybris migration from their datacenter to AWS.

AWS CodePipeline, CloudFormation & Continuous Delivery

Continuous Delivery (CD) is a core facet of successful DevOps and as a result, a core Flux7 strategy for implementing DevOps-based IT modernization. At Flux7, we always view DevOps as streamlining the delivery of not just Code but also the delivery of Infrastructure (networking, firewalls, VMs), Server Configuration (software packages such as Apache or JAVA), and Security Rules (policies for AWS Config Rules or HashiCorp Vault). Among these, efficient delivery of infrastructure and configuration are both very critical for full stack agility. For our customers in AWS, our typical choice for infrastructure delivery is CloudFormation. We like AWS CloudFormation because it is native to AWS, follows a simple YAML or JSON syntax, and has deep integration with other AWS Services such as the AWS Service Catalog.

A Review of AWS CloudFormation Cross-Stack Reference

In addition to the announced AWS CloudFormation YAML support, AWS also announced cross-stack references for CloudFormation. (For Flux7 commentary on YAML support, please see our blog post earlier this week here.) As our AWS experts work daily with CloudFormation, we were very interested in this news and couldn’t wait to roll up our sleeves and take a look for ourselves.

Converting a CloudFormation Template from JSON to YAML

In our blog last week we told you that AWS CloudFormation has grown its support beyond JSON to include YAML. Prior to the announcement, our AWS consultants had been writing in YAML and used an in-house YAML CloudFormation generator to help us avoid the typical pain points associated with JSON. We promised in that article to share with you instructions on how to convert existing JSON CloudFormation templates into YAML and are delivering on that promise today.

YAML and AWS CloudFormation: Simplifying Template Creation

Today AWS announced that CloudFormation will now support YAML. As big fans of YAML, we have been testing this new feature and are not disappointed in the results. Prior to this announcement, JSON specifications were used to write CloudFormation templates. However, we had been writing in YAML and using an in-house YAML CloudFormation generator which helped us avoid the typical pain points associated with JSON. 

Amazon Pipeline Starter Kit for Continuous Delivery

AWS Pipeline Starter Kit and CI/CD

As DevOps consultants, at Flux7 we believe that Continuous Delivery (CD) is a key tenet of successful DevOps. And as heavy users of Amazon Web Services (AWS), we have a keen interest in any tools or features that streamline CD for our clients within AWS. For this reason, we are pretty excited to dive into the Amazon Pipeline Starter Kit. Now, you may be familiar with two services that Amazon has traditionally offered to help facilitate CD: AWS CodePipeline and AWS CodeDeploy.

Updates to AWS CloudFormation: Change Sets Help Get to the Root Cause of Stack Update Failures


 On March 29, 2016, Amazon released  Change Sets for AWS CloudFormation, an important new update with far reaching benefits. Anyone using CloudFormation templates, anyone pursuing an infrastructure as code strategy on AWS, should pay attention.

AWS CloudFormation gives developers and systems administrators an easy way to create and manage a collection of related AWS resources, allowing them to provision and update them in an orderly and  predictable fashion.

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