How to Achieve Consistency On-premise, in the Cloud & Both

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No one would argue that the cloud hasn’t revolutionised software development, given the degree of functionality that major cloud service providers such as Amazon, Azure and Oracle have built into their PaaS and SaaS platforms. It makes life easier for developers who can use these metered services at leisure to spin up and tear down applications and technology, without having to buy computing infrastructure or being limited by their enterprise’s constraints.

Nirvana On-premise or in the Cloud

No one would argue that the cloud hasn’t revolutionised software development, given the degree of functionality that major cloud service providers such as Amazon, Azure and Oracle have built into their PaaS and SaaS platforms. It makes life easier for developers who can use these metered services at leisure to spin up and tear down applications and technology, without having to buy computing infrastructure or being limited by their enterprise’s constraints.

Cloud providers haven’t been shy to promise a kind of nirvana where you can deploy, move, and manage your data and applications with ease, anywhere and anytime, on premise or in the cloud, all with contemptuous ease. The Oracle Technology Network advises that Enterprise Manager 13c ‘provides a single pane of glass that lets DevOps/IT administrators and DBAs deploy their assets into the cloud or migrate them across clouds, and most important, monitor and manage them on a continual basis.’ If only it were that simple.

The Real World is a Hybrid

Oracle’s SOA Cloud Service supports hybrid integration, which is designed to let users ‘migrate their integration platform from the cloud to on-premises and back again as business requirements change.’

This kind of portability has led to a ‘Lift & Shift’ mentality that gives the impression you can move parts of the software delivery pipeline to the cloud or on premise and back again, more or less as you please. If you store our applications in Oracle’s WebLogic Server, you’re assured of ‘100% portability between our private and public cloud … and full Java EE access to the same platform on premises and in the cloud.’  It isn’t that simple.

Consistency Not Assured in Hybrids

The promise here is that Weblogic lets you work on your applications or environment builds anywhere you want, and that’s true, as long as you deploy the application container consistently across both on and off premise platforms.

Oracle’s Cloud Services APIs and tools make it easy to build your applications or environments in the cloud. When you move these down the delivery pipeline to on-premise environments such as SIT and UAT, however, you often have to use different processes and toolsets because Oracle doesn’t provide similar APIs and tools in its on-premise products. That adds complexity that can threaten consistency.

Since you’re using different processes to move your code through your delivery pipeline, you’re likely to strike some issues with Configuration Drift downstream, because your builds may no longer be consistent across the different environments. Ideally your delivery pipeline processes should produce consistent results regardless of where your application container is hosted, and regardless of the different environments you’re deploying to.  And that’s not easy to do without smart toolsets.

But Consistency is Essential

That’s precisely why Limepoint developed EnvironMint, a suite of DevOps and Continuous Delivery tools for Oracle that brings the world of DevOps to the Oracle domain. EnvironMint includes MintPress, a Continuous Delivery Automation module that provides a single framework for building and deploying Oracle environments on-premise, in the cloud or a mix of both. MintPress is agnostic to the platform it delivers to, and fully automates the provisioning of infrastructure, databases, middleware and applications. As a result, you can consistently build and manage the various stages in your delivery pipeline, regardless of where they are hosted. MintPress simplifies the whole process from Dev to Prod and speeds up the delivery of projects, thanks to more consistent and more reliable environments.

Controlling Configuration Drift

How does this help to control Configuration Drift? Ongoing changes to existing environments will occur, either via an automation tool such as MintPress or through manual means, or both. Once changes are applied to an environment, Configuration Drift occurs, where the environment ‘drifts away’ from the known configuration state. This is why EnvironMint includes a second module called Drift.

EnvironMint Drift is a Configuration Drift detection module that continually monitors your target systems, both on and off premise, to detect areas of Configuration Drift. The Drift module enables your team to conduct effective troubleshooting and root cause analysis, and ensures ‘round-trip’ integration and visibility of all changes across your software delivery pipeline.

DevOps – Icing on the Cloud?

David Linthicum writes in Infoworld that ‘… enterprise development shops that use the Cloud and DevOps are knocking it out of the park, delivering huge value.’

That’s because advanced cloud platforms facilitate the rapid delivery of new business initiatives and services, and DevOps (tight cooperation between software developers, test teams, operations teams) pays big dividends, especially when working  hand in hand with Continuous Delivery.

That’s another reason for the design of EnvironMint. The EnvironMint suite supports Continuous Delivery and DevOps principles which span all environments, from premises to public or private clouds and hybrid configurations.

insightsLimePoint Team