If your enterprise is going Cloud Native, automation is a core requirement. The Automated Infrastructure pattern leads the way to this major step in the CN migration process.
Perhaps your enterprise manages infrastructure using time-consuming manual processes. Or maybe you’ve “automated” things a bit with a collection of ad hoc scripts strung together as needed, by whoever was around. Both of these are surprisingly common approaches to infrastructure management, even among large companies that should know better. Neither of these need apply to Cloud Native systems.
Two major benefits come with Automated Infrastructure. (Actually, there are loads, but to keep things simple we will focus on the two really major ones). First, when engineers and system administrators automate as many routine tasks as possible, they have more time for actual development work. Second, automation makes the management of complex, diverse environments possible and allows rapid scaling.
There are all kinds of solutions available for automating, customizable to fit unique organisational parameters. You absolutely, positively need to find yours -- and get it in place earlier rather than later in the CN transformation process.
You have the same operations staff you’ve always had, but the way your organisation operates is changing significantly. When software is built using Modular Architecture and Dynamic Provisioning, the infrastructure overhead expands drastically...
...Which means this “same old” ops team is now responsible for provisioning, not to mention maintaining, a much larger number of VMs plus various other new infrastructure pieces.
Meanwhile, adopting Modular Architecture means you’ve created many independent teams within your company. It also means you’ve given them lots of freedom to choose their own tools and technologies, and to define their own process of development and delivery.
You’ve also implemented Continuous Delivery, which requires full automation of the entire build/test/deploy cycle.
Things get complicated fast.
When your infrastructure provisioning is still being done manually or semi-automatically, this creates some predictable challenges:
Your Ops engineers hand over repetitive tasks to your cloud provider's platform -- so they can focus on improving the current systems, learning new ones, and solving future challenges. Your developers get to speed up their work too, since they will now have quick access to all the resources they need plus rapid feedback on results when experimenting.
Automated Infrastructure in place, your Ops team is now spending significantly less time doing repetitive support tasks and more time in ongoing improvement of your system.
Your developers now spend less time waiting for infrastructure resources and are able to easily iterate changes and run quick experiments. They can also now scale running systems quickly and easily. Remember the seamless scalability advantage conferred by Cloud Native? This is where it comes from!
Dynamic Scheduling, Version Control, Public Cloud, Private Cloud, Infrastructure Self Service, Modular Architecture
This post appears as part of a series of Cloud Native Transformation Patterns, which begins with Cloud Native Transformation Patterns: Introduction. These are condensed versions of the full patterns appearing the forthcoming book, Cloud Native Patterns: Architecture, Design and Culture, a joint project of Container Solutions and O’Reilly. Complete and in-depth information regarding each pattern, including case studies from real-world Cloud Native enterprise migrations, will be found in the book publishing in Spring 2019!
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