The Agile Enterprise is becoming the way successful companies operate and at Flux7 we like to lead by example. As a result, we have embraced many Agile practices across our business -- from OKRs to a flatarchy (for additional background, read our blog, Flatarchies and the Agile Enterprise) -- and plan to share in a short blog series how we are implementing these agile best practices, lessons we’ve learned along the way and the impacts they’ve had on our business. In today’s blog, we start by taking a look at our OKR (Objectives and Key Results) story and the greater role of OKRs in an Agile Enterprise.
Technology leaders are increasingly being asked to help their companies use technology as a competitive platform to help further engage and serve customers. Yet, as customer needs -- and expectations -- change and grow, so too does the technology landscape. Navigating these changes creates complex challenges, especially as transforming technology portfolios does not happen overnight.
Challenged with increased competitive pressure, many organizations turn to DevOps methodologies to increase agility, speed their time to market, access additional markets, and more. Helping address these pressures, DevOps process improvements both speed developer and operations productivity while increasing the quality and security of output. According to Forrester, with half of enterprises now implementing DevOps, the conversation has moved from “What is DevOps?” to “How do I implement at scale?”.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.
As businesses increasingly realize that they are technology companies that happen to make a product or service, the line of business (LOB) often becomes more involved in technology processes. A natural evolution of this is that the LOB will look to find ways to help a development team deploy and scale faster, bringing solutions to market as quickly and competitively as possible. Many organizations are turning to containerization to easily and efficiently achieve these goals.
Our DevOps consulting team at Flux7 works with dozens of enterprises to help mature their IT programs and improve their operational excellence. In the process of moving from traditional IT to starting and scaling DevOps in the enterprise, we begin the process of moving to “everything as code” including infrastructure, configuration, pipeline, and security as code. While this approach may be applied to modern apps designed as microservices, or legacy monolithic apps, in either case, failures and incidents will happen. There should be a plan to handle them and that is where Game Days come in.
Consumers increasingly expect digital offerings from companies they do business with. Both B2B and B2C customers are placing increasing pressure on organizations to digitize and modernize their offerings. Yet, knowing where and how to begin can be a challenge, especially for large enterprises who face these pressures across product lines and must be able to answer ongoing questions of security, compliance and risk management in their cloud computing migration strategy.
We are honored to share that the DevOps team at Flux7 was named to the CRN Magazine 2018 Next-Gen 250 list for the second consecutive year. In case you are unfamiliar, this annual list identifies IT solution providers who have embraced emerging technologies and are setting the pace for the rest of the channel in their adoption. Those on the list have been identified by experts at The Channel Company as meeting their customers’ ever-changing IT needs in areas such as cloud based technologies, IoT, virtualization, mobility, business analytics and business intelligence.
We are excited to unveil for you today our newest solution, Flux7 Renovate™. Digital disruption, rising customer expectations and the need to reduce IT costs place immense pressure on enterprises to modernize and gain competitive advantage. Flux7 Renovate is designed to help enterprises increase their rate of IT modernization by simplifying and accelerating the deployment of common business applications on AWS.
For organizations facing competitive pressures that drive them to DevOps adoption, it is critical that they correctly choose, scope and evangelize a ‘right-sized’ pilot project to start their IT transformation. As sherpas for many organizations who travel this path, at Flux7 we’ve learned many DevOps best practices -- as well as things to avoid along the way. As you look to create a successful DevOps pilot with sustaining impact, please join us as we share seven important lessons learned.
Automation. It’s a word that can mean so many things depending on your context. For CIOs looking to spearhead their organization’s digital transformation, it increasingly means creating agility for their organizations through IT process automation. The implications of this are vast for enterprises, as automation touches everything from technology, to IT processes and even the corporate culture. As a result, Flux7 CEO, Dr. Aater Suleman, has written a paper discussing how CIOs can use automation to be the driving force behind tomorrow’s innovation engine.Download it here or read on for highlights from his piece.
As heavy users of Amazon’s EC2 Systems Manager (often referred to as SSM), to manage AWS environments, we were very interested in the recent announcement of AWS Systems Manager as a stand-alone service. Given the management tool’s prolific use across AWS accounts, we thought we’d walk you through the announcement, clarifying some of the confusion around AWS’s nomenclature, and in a second, follow-up blog, illustrate how its new features can benefit SSM users.
As 2017 draws to an end, we are taking a moment to look back on the year that was and share some of the most popular insights from the Flux7 DevOps blog. Industry-wide, interest in DevOps soared in 2017, and that was reflected in our readers’ blog choices as well. More and more companies are undergoing digital transformation and embracing the idea that technology is core to their business and provides them with an advantage in the marketplace. These companies are increasingly insourcing their technology and adopting a DevOps methodology as a way to become more agile and speed their time-to-market, proving the adage that “every company is a technology company.” Helping these organizations on the path to DevOps success were several very popular blogs.
This article originally appeared on Forbes
Most companies understand that if they want to increase their competitiveness in today’s swiftly changing world they can’t ignore Digital transformation. DevOps and cloud computing are oft-touted as vital ways companies can achieve this needed transformation, though the relationship between the two is often confusing as DevOps is about process and process improvement whereas cloud computing is about technology and services. Not mutually exclusive, it’s important to understand how cloud and DevOps work together to help businesses achieve their transformation goals.
At Flux7, our big, hairy, audacious goal is to keep our customers exceedingly happy -- falling over themselves happy. And, that doesn’t start by forcing them into a mold or a pre-defined box. As a DevOps consulting company, we sit in the enviable position of getting to focus wholly on helping our customers address their specific business needs.
We are happy to bring you this article by Flux7 CEO, Aater Suleman, that was originally published by Sys-Con Media.
While the benefits are many, the DevOps journey for an established organization can be a long one filled with surprises and challenges. To avoid as many of both as possible, learning from those who have gone before you can help you apply best practices to ensure a smoother path to success. As a result, in this article, I will outline the seven steps to an AWS DevOps transformation as learned through working hands-on with more than 100 leading enterprise organizations to establish and sustain successful DevOps and IT modernization.
I recently read an article asking, “will IoT save retail”? Indeed, there are several ways IoT can help address issues that keep many retailers up at night. From RFID to help with supply chain cost efficiencies to Beacons that serve to increase marketing and sales outcomes, IoT initiatives are being heavily invested in across retail segments. Moreover, IoT is just one example of an area where digital transformation can help retailers become more competitive and better match their products and services to evolving customer expectations.
At Flux7, we get the opportunity to work with organizations across many industries and with a variety of challenges. As a result, we often get asked how other companies approach and solve different challenges. One challenge we are frequently asked about is website performance, security and elasticity, especially as it relates to eCommerce. As such, we’re happy to share with you today the story of a customer who was looking to balance these goals and how with the help of Flux7 consultants they were able to do so.
We recently had the opportunity to work with a quick serve restaurant (QSR) to help it achieve security with agility, effectively balancing IT governance with their workload reduction and wait time elimination goals. This household name reached out to the AWS experts at Flux7 as they looked for solutions that would allow the development team to quickly build a new digital platform that would support this organization's digital evolution.
How Flux7 Helped Increase Developer Productivity with AWS Service Catalog
At Flux7, we are expert at helping healthcare organizations gain a competitive advantage in the market through IT modernization projects that amplify their inherent business strengths. So when were approached by this healthcare organization who sees technology as a competitive advantage, we were quite excited to dive in.
For the past few days we’ve been reviewing the most widely read themes of 2016 here on the Flux7 blog. In case you are just joining us, we’ve already discussed the benefits and challenges of containers, configuration management, and Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) in an AWS DevOps environment. Wrapping it all together, we end our Best of 2016 series with our most talked about articles on Amazon cloud computing.
This month’s re:Invent in Las Vegas drew over 32,000 attendees and the show did not disappoint as AWS delivered on its precedent to unveil a number of new features and products at the show. With numerous announcements, AWS news was peppered throughout two days of lengthy keynote sessions, we’ve asked Ali Hussain, Flux7 co-founder and CTO, to weigh in on what caught his attention and where he thinks the most impact will be seen to enterprise organizations like those that Flux7 serves.
AWS kicked off November with the announcement of a new Amazon Linux container image for cloud and on-premises workloads. As power users of AWS, EC2 and Docker, our AWS consultants are excited at this news; it will greatly ease the upfront planning process for clients, eliminating a dimension from the complex decision matrix we navigate designing a Docker-based setup in AWS.
According to IT Revolution press (hat tip to Gene Kim for the great article on this), there are three principles underpinning DevOps: an emphasis on the performance of the entire system over silos; creating tight, right to left feedback loops; and fostering a culture of continual experimentation, learning, and the understanding that practice is prerequisite to mastery. Today we’re going to examine how these underpinnings apply when it comes to Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) generally and AWS WorkSpaces specifically.
AWS launched EC2 Run Command in October 2015 to provide a simple way of automating common administrative tasks like installing software or patches, running shell commands, performing operating system changes, managing local groups and users, altering configuration files and more in Windows instances. AWS quickly followed the launch with the same feature for Linux instances, and in May 2016, they added the power to Manage & Share Commands, and the ability to use additional predefined commands along with any custom commands that users have created for their accounts.
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.
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.
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 Web Services (AWS), the largest public cloud currently available, has added the ability to use the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)’s powerful “Run Command” feature with a single log-in to execute commands in multiple locations, including EC2 instances, on-premises servers or virtual machines (VMs) from other cloud providers. Prior to this, it was necessary to log into each instance, server or VM separately.
Self-service IT is an important goal for many of our clients. They are looking for ways to increase their repeatability and speed the rate at which internal customers are serviced. Service Catalog effectively addresses each of these goals by providing automated infrastructure provisioning through easy buttons. Ops teams create these buttons and make them available to internal customers such as developers, engineers, or QA to easily request, receive and provision pre-approved infrastructure.
I had a friend ask me the other day how many meals I make at dinner time. One, I replied. But, you have kids, she stated incredulously. Yes, but I don’t run a restaurant. And neither does IT. However, IT has been treated like a restaurant for decades, with different people and departments placing their orders for specific technologies, with a dash of speedy service on the side.
Automating common administrative tasks to improve workload reliability and decrease potential risk is a common theme our consultants at Flux7 help our clients with. Doing so simplifies administration, encourages security through consistency and helps improve control over users and permissions. Amazon launched EC2 Run Command in October 2015 to help attain these benefits.
Cross Accounts Access Set-Up and Benefits
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.
Part 2: How to Make AWS Config Work for You
One of the biggest fears that CIOs of the digital age have is not only server crashes, but the inability to recover the system to its last-known state. This is particularly painful in compliance-heavy industries that are subject to external audits to make sure everything is being performed to industry standards and within federal compliance. AWS Config is a service which picks out a detailed account of what happens with your AWS configuration while giving you the critical ability to go back in time and verify or check the state your AWS resources were at a given point of time.
Cloud based infrastructure and IT self service models have made it incredibly easy for developers and operations to spin up servers and meet fluctuating business needs. This elasticity is great for business agility and is a quintessential DevOps goal, but there is a dark side of easily obtained infrastructure that can work against company efficiency.
Nova, OpenStack Compute service is used for hosting and managing cloud computing systems. It is a component based architecture enabling quicker additions of new features. It is fault tolerant, recoverable and provides API-compatibility with systems like Amazon EC2.
Netflix Availability Tools
Hystrix is a library that provides control over interactions among distributed services and enables efficient handling of latency and failure. It helps to:
At Flux7, we believe in high productivity, so each of our engineers handle multiple AWS client accounts, and sometimes multiple engineers handle one client. As a team leader who manages 10s of client accounts, I need to switch in and out of each account several times an hour, which is a real challenge because so much customer-specific information must be loaded into files and environments that we call “customer profiles”. Each includes the following: