Hybrid Cloud Management

Cloud providers like Oracle, Amazon and Azure have changed software development forever, by providing sophisticated functionality in their PaaS and SaaS platforms.  It’s now possible to deploy, move, and manage your data and applications with ease, anywhere and anytime, with the choice of cloud, on-premise or hybrid cloud management.

The Oracle Technology Network  agrees, advising 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.’

In theory, solutions like Oracle’s SOA Cloud Service support hybrid integration, letting users ‘migrate their integration platform from the cloud to on-premises and back again as business requirements change.’

This gives the impression that you can keep or move parts of your software delivery pipeline on premise, into the cloud and back again, almost at will. Oracle concurs: if you store your 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.’ In practice, it’s not that simple.

Hybrid infrastructure and consistency

While Oracle’s Cloud Services APIs and tools make it easy to build your applications or environments in the cloud, complications arise: when you move them down the pipeline to on-premise environments such as SIT and UAT, the location of your Weblogic application container can become an issue.

If it’s in one place for off-premise and another for on-premise, the result will be configuration drift. That’s even more likely if you’re using using Amazon for your cloud platform and Oracle for on-prem hosting, because the toolsets for working on these platforms are different.

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.  That’s why, at Limepoint, we centralize the configuration so that there’s just one source of truth, which reduces configuration drift dramatically.

Consistency Between Cloud and Premise is Essential

Ideally, you need a single framework which allows you to build and deploy consistent Oracle environments on-premise, in the cloud or a mixture of both.

This is why the LimePoint automation's suite for DevOps and Continuous Delivery was developed by LimePoint: it’s a single framework for the design, build and operation of your technology and environments, which is agnostic to the platform it delivers to.

MintPress, the design, build and deploy product, fully automates the provisioning of infrastructure, databases, middleware and applications. This allows you to consistently build and manage the various stages in your delivery pipeline, regardless of where they’re hosted.

Oracle configuration management

We’ve mentioned Configuration Drift elsewhere. In Oracle and other deployments, management of configuration changes or Configuration Drift is essential if unexpected failures and downtime are to be avoided. In hybrid cloud environments, this is even more so and more complex.

While smart automation toolsets like MintPress will create and deploy consistent environments on-premise, in the cloud or both, maintaining consistency over time and eliminating Configuration Drift after release is another challenge. The cloud makes it easier for developers to build environments, so you end up with more environments and a greater likelihood of configuration drift, unless you have a product such as Drift in place.

Ongoing changes to existing environments are unavoidable, regardless of whether an automation tool is used or changes are made manually. Once made, these changes cause the environment to ‘drift’ from the known configuration state. That’s Configuration Drift, as mentioned above. This is why the EnvironMint suite includes a second module called DriftGuard.

EnvironMint DriftGuard continuously monitors your target systems, both on and off premise, for areas of Configuration Drift. Thus, Drift enables your team to detect, troubleshoot and determine the root cause (where and when the changes were made), providing all round visibility of your software delivery pipeline.

When it comes to Oracle configuration management, if you have environments build not in Oracle and not by automated toolsets, DriftGuard can still be used to detect and eliminate Configuration Drift. This is a key benefit of the EnvironMint suite.

DevOps  and On-premise and Cloud deployments

DevOps describes an agile, collaborative working relationship between Development and IT Operations, where better communication and integration yield improved business outcomes and value.

According to David Linthicum  in Infoworld that ‘… enterprise development shops that use the Cloud and DevOps are knocking it out of the park, delivering huge value.’  It’s no wonder that manyorganisations are striving to achieve DevOps.

Advanced cloud platforms help organizations deliver new business initiatives and services quickly. Combining the agility of on-premise, in the cloud or hybrid deployment, with the business benefits of Continuous Delivery and DevOps, can pay big dividends and shore up competitive advantage.

Smart toolsets like the EnvironMint  suite play an integral role in achieving these goals.

Capability and technology were critical to us and Limepoint ticked off both, with strong skills in this Oracle solution for our vertical and an advanced toolset (EnvironMint) for automating continuous delivery. Their experience with cloud deployment in our vertical was important too.
— Phil Horton, Program Director, MaxGroup