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Building A Software and Application Strategy: Part 2 - Tools

  • 10 April 2019
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Building A Software and Application Strategy: Part 2 - Tools
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This post was authored by Sachin Chheda Senior Director of Solutions and Verticals Marketing

This is the second last blog in the series on building a software and application strategy. Previous blogs in this series (here and here) explore IT’s desire to lay out a framework for applications and workloads. This blog continues the discussion by sharing information and practices on tools, evaluating choices for where applications and workloads can reside, and building a roadmap.

Let’s start with the tools and the essential functionality in building an application strategy in a cloud world. In a recent informal Nutanix Xtribe community survey, members reported the following infrastructure tools they would include in their design guidelines:

  • Provisioning tools: Deploy complex workloads (with multiple individual applications and functions), including the underlying infrastructure to run it.
  • Self-service tools: Deliver a self-service mechanism to end-users, reducing their reliance on IT Ops. This functionality may tie back to the provisioning tools, including provisioning VMs, containers, storage, IaaS/PaaS, etc.
  • Monitoring tools: Evaluate status and alert on issues, now considered a core requirement of cloud initiatives and IT automation.
  • Reporting tools: Similar to monitoring tools, except they deliver reports of predefined parameters (on-demand or proactively). Reporting tools may plug into accounting and budgeting systems, too.
  • Cost and compliance monitoring and reporting tools were also identified as critical investments.

Xtribe community members also mentioned tools for

  • Migration and data mobility: Eliminate barriers to moving data between different clouds.
  • Application inventory and mapping tools: Understanding what’s deployed, where, and what else is connected to them.
  • Performance and network management tool: Giving a look across multiple clouds.

This is by no means a complete list. We hope you’ll share your list in the comments below. A few members also mentioned that as a best practice they prefer validated solution stacks with well-documented APIs and scripts for automation.

On the application front, in addition to all the tools being used by IT organizations today around source management, compilers, and testing, CI/CD tool investment is needed to move to an agile model. This is especially true for cloud-native workloads. I talked about the CI/CD demo in the first blog of this series—the tools typically encountered include:

  • Dev Environments (virtual desktop or developers laptops) with access to code tracking and build-related tools or an integrated development environment.
  • Source code version control and tracking repositories like Git that can be SaaS, hosted, or maintained.
  • Continuous Integration and build tools like Jenkins, Teamcity, and CircleCI to build, test, and stage code from developers that is delivered and deployed into production.
  • Software repository for storing and retrieving software. There are numerous choices for package management, such as Artifactory and Archiva.
  • [optionally] For cloud-native deployments, a container registry to serve as container image storage service. Some tools also incorporate vulnerability scanning and scanning into the registry.
  • Configuration tools help with continuous delivery and deployment automation on the “Ops” side of the DevOps equation for provisioning and configuration management.
  • Calm is a tool from Nutanix that enables Ops team to model applications into blueprints. It can natively call ssh, Powershell, or APIs and invoke profiles from tools such as Puppet or Ansible.

As with the earlier list on infra/ops-related tools, there are others for testing, security, and other functions that can also be used in the CI/CD flow. Share your thoughts and your team’s tools recommendations in the comments below.

Continue reading Building A Software and Application Strategy: Part 3 - Roadmap

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