The culture of DevOps continuous integration and DevOps continuous deployment (CI/CD) is built on self-service provisioning and automated processes that are usually associated with the cloud.
This blog post looks at how leading companies are leveraging NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP to address DevOps challenges and squeeze even more DevOps power from the cloud.
DevOps has Become Mainstream
What is DevOps?
DevOps is an IT culture that breaks down development, quality assurance, and operations silos to form multidisciplinary frameworks. Using collaborative and agile self-service processes and tools, DevOps teams shorten and streamline the development lifecycle to continuously develop, test, and deploy products, updates, and features. This increases an organization’s ability to deliver applications and services faster than traditional methods.
In a shift-left approach, compute-storage infrastructure and network requirements are integrated into the product at the design stage. The inherent agility and flexibility of DevOps pipelines dramatically accelerate time-to-market while leveraging all the benefits of cloud economics in terms of on-demand elasticity and scalability. Most of the world’s largest software companies, including Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Amazon, have fully embraced the DevOps approach.
DevOps in the Cloud: AWS DevOps and Azure DevOps
DevOps would be much more difficult without the cloud’s infrastructure-as-a-service layer. The cloud providers offer tools and services that abstract the complexities of infrastructure management, allowing DevOps teams to focus on products and features that capture business value. However, they often don’t fully meet all the challenges that come with the DevOps requirements.
DevOps Storage Challenges
There are DevOps challenges that must be addressed in order to fully leverage its compelling value propositions.
The foremost challenge for DevOps pipelines is to keep agile. That means running automated dev/test environments that can non-disruptively support CI/CD cycles and shorten time to market (TTM). Cloning production data is at the core of these continuous DevOps integration and DevOps deployment processes. But there is an additional challenge here: Limiting the costs incurred by creating massive amounts of data clones, both in terms of network usage and storage, will be required.
Other DevOps challenges have arisen with the popularity of containerized application architectures and Kubernetes integration.
And as with many use cases, DevOps must ensure that the data they rely on is highly-available, to make sure users are never interrupted by updates to the app or service.
Cloud Volumes ONTAP Makes DevOps Even Better
Cloud Volumes ONTAP is an enterprise data storage management platform that runs as an instance on AWS and Azure. Let’s see how enterprises from a variety of verticals are using Cloud Volumes ONTAP to accelerate their DevOps processes.
Wirestorm is an IT consulting company that leverages big data analytics and other cutting-edge technologies to improve business intelligence, modernize legacy IT systems, and build innovative consumer apps for Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft, Corbis, Providence Hospital, and Schneider Electric.
In order to profitably scale its own business, Wirestorm needed to lower both cloud costs and on-prem server spend. Even more importantly, they needed to dramatically reduce development and deployment times. They turned to NetApp and decided to deploy Cloud Volumes ONTAP HA pairs on AWS and Azure, which quickly brought them and their customers the following benefits:
Using FlexClone® to instantaneously clone writable volumes, they were able to reduce the time to copy enormous amounts of data from more than 20 hours to less than 1 minute, thus speeding up DevOps process and getting results faster. FlexClone creates writable volumes from snapshots in zero time, helping you streamline and automate fast provisioning of virtual environments.
Being able to rapidly and cost-effectively build, rebuild, and tear down dev/test and production environments has reduced Wirestorm’s project completion times by a factor of 10, while using fewer resources.
Reduced costs significantly by leveraging the storage efficiencies, mainly through thin provisioning and with FlexClone cloning.
More control with OnCommand® Cloud Manager, a single-pane GUI for centralized data storage management and automation across even the most complex infrastructures. This utility allows customers to seamlessly transfer data across AWS, Azure, private cloud, and on-prem storage systems, to provide the full benefits of a flexible hybrid, multicloud infrastructure.
Clavis Insight (now Edge by Ascential) provides the world’s leading brand owners with actionable insights on consumer e-commerce behavior, allowing them to improve online profiles and revenues. The Clavis Insight platform is born-in-the-cloud but, as the business grew, their cloud storage costs skyrocketed, and they realized they had to build out a hybrid infrastructure.
Another challenge they faced was that the development team was using a single central database, making it difficult to manage multiple development projects in parallel. It could take as long as three days to present a database to a project team for testing purposes.
They turned to NetApp to meet these challenges, using on-prem NetApp appliances together with Cloud Volumes ONTAP to create a seamless hybrid architecture. In addition to this, Clavis Insight:
Used FlexClone to present each development project team with their own copy of the central database in a mere 15 minutes (down from three days). This greatly sped up their DevOps process’ productivity and overall TTM.
Leveraged Cloud Manager GUI or APIs to automate and orchestrate their storage needs.
This privately-held American corporation designs, develops, and sells high-end audio equipment around the globe, including home audio systems and speakers, noise cancelling headphones, professional audio systems, and automobile sound systems.
The company’s development teams were finding that not being able to efficiently create test sets from production data was significantly slowing down their product development cycles. As they had decided to move some of their workloads to the cloud, the company leveraged Cloud Volumes ONTAP to migrate 380 TB to the cloud, including their testing environment. By doing so they gained these benefits:
Opening up their DevOps bottleneck with FlexClone. This provided the zero-capacity cloning of production data sets that they needed for dev/test purposes, without disrupting the production environment.
High availability using Cloud Volumes ONTAP HA. With this dual-node configuration users can implement an automatic and non-disruptive failover and failback across AWS Availability Zones or Azure Availability Sets.
Using Cloud Manager as the integration and automation tool for their entire hybrid environment and dev/test processes.
Although DevOps cloud-based automation has dramatically streamlined development and deployment cycles, without careful management proliferating dev/test environments can escalate cloud compute and storage costs to unacceptable levels. Today’s containerized applications with their need for persistent storage volumes further exacerbate the cloud storage challenges. In particular, DevOps workflows using Kubernetes need to provision persistent volumes for their clusters and easy ways to clone those volumes for testing.
Cloud Volumes ONTAP for AWS or Azure helps enterprises cost-effectively meet their DevOps data requirements. It provides unlimited zero-capacity, instantaneous volume cloning, high-availability deployment configurations, built-in storage efficiencies, and a single-pane automation and orchestration frontend. And via Trident, NetApp’s Kubernetes provisioner, Cloud Volumes ONTAP provides dynamic, automated allocation of persistent volumes for Kubernetes applications, cloning Kubernetes persistent volumes, along with all of the additional Cloud Volume ONTAP benefits mentioned above.