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Continuous Orchestration for Next-Gen DevOps

Susmitha Vakkalanka
Susmitha Vakkalanka
Published on
March 1, 2023

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We say this every decade, but it never ceases to hold true that today’s marketplaces move faster than ever. Across industries, companies rely deeply on app-based and online experiences to reach their customers all while balancing on the knife’s edge of space between speed to market while still delivering reliable and positive customer experiences. Digital transformation, Cloud migration and SaaS adoption are changing the way the software is delivered today.

Behind the scenes the technical landscape has become vast and varied, with new platforms and tools rising to meet needs up and down the development pipeline. Through this, some distinctive trends have emerged that have shaped the face of DevOps and the industry as a whole, putting burden on companies to build, integrate and orchestrate code delivery across various stages with quality and security often as an afterthought or not included in the software delivery process.

In this blog we describe the trends and challenges in DevOps, the need for continuous orchestration of DevOps and the benefits for practitioners.

Cloud Adoption & Digital Transformation

Mobile, web, and IoT workloads have dramatically shifted how we structure and implement code development cycles. Cloud technologies have provided the flexible platforms needed to support this shift - from microservices, to containers, serverless, and beyond. What that now means is that development cycles are short and new code integrations and deployments are happening at a near constant basis, while providing a seamless end user experience. Digital transformation is a hot “to do list” item for many enterprises, however this is rarely a linear process. Many companies either choose or are stuck in hybrid setups, and asymmetrical adoption across the enterprise often leads to multi-cloud investments.  

The Rise of DevOps to Choice and Overload

To top this all off, we can no longer think of IT in the same ways as legacy organizations previously have. Balancing the IT cost center against the need for speed to support fast-paced development cycles has changed how companies invest in infrastructure, shifting from on-premises, to hybrid, to cloud native deployments. It has also led to the rise of DevOps, the union of two sub-disciplines that support all aspects of development from code, to infrastructure and beyond. For DevOps to operate at maximum efficiency, many workflows must be automated. To support these automations, a toolchain is needed to handle the integration and orchestration of each step.

And with so many tools at hand designed to make development and deployment easier, one would think that managing such a toolchain would be straightforward and streamlined. That, however, couldn’t be further from the truth. While there are endless overlapping tools available, preparing a toolchain to properly support your workflow and deployment methodology currently takes as much time and effort as the development work itself. No one toolchain meets all use cases, and developers often find themselves needing to create custom workflows for each project based on specific requirements and needs.

Security Versus Speed

Adding an additional layer of complexity is the need for security and the challenges of maintaining it. Every piece of infrastructure, every additional tool in the pipeline introduces additional work. When tools are manually scripted together, this creates even more vulnerabilities. With the heavy emphasis on speed, security becomes an afterthought, tacked on late in the game, or ignored entirely. Audits become painful and recursive correction creates more room for error and failure. 

Finding Meaning from Disparate Metrics

The final stumbling block on this already fraught and bumpy road is that we can’t measure what we can’t see. With so many platforms and tools pinned together, obtaining the necessary data and synthesizing it into useful and actionable metrics ends up creating an entire out-of-band side job for those tasked with setting up data pipelines and aggregations. Metrics are all but useless if they aren’t clearly tied to process and performance. Most tools on the market today are able to generate reams of logs or data, but fail to integrate with others to form the big picture views needed, thus reducing instead of increasing efficiency.

The DevOps Challenge: What's next?

There is no shortage of tools available to developers across the pipeline, but what is missing is a seamless way to connect them all. Currently DevOps is hemorrhaging time and effort in the name of tool integrations to support each individual pipeline in play. The frustrations and burnout are real, among individuals and teams. Resource churn incurs high costs, putting pressure on budgets and timelines. Before any real work can begin to get done, developers are stuck slogging through the available tools, stringing them together, and debugging the inevitable integration failures. 

Current platforms and solutions that attempt to address these problems are incomplete in their approach. They still require manual setups, playbook creations, or recipes. There are two main approaches being followed today, both of which have significant limitations.  

Expensive build it yourself orchestrations not viable in the long run

The first is to adopt best of breed solutions and make them all work together.  Developers want choice of tools to address different use cases and to leverage best capabilities out in the market.  Many companies also have proprietary tools that are built for internal requirements. These setups are complex and yet still don’t address the entire pipeline, end-to-end. The orchestration and integration of these various DevOps tools and pipelines to ensure speed, security and visibility, are very complex, error prone and time consuming.  This approach is plagued by high cost, complexity and resource churn risk.   Most companies are struggling to keep up with building and deploying tools and pipelines. 

Single vendor black box solutions with no choice of tools

The other option is to go with a single DevOps vendor approach, however there is no single vendor who can deliver both broad and deep CICD functionality well for everyone. Buying into single-vendor DevOps solutions creates lock-in and often are too inflexible for many use-cases.  However, there is no single vendor who can deliver both broad and deep CICD functionality well for everyone. Attempts to extract more out of these tools than they were designed to provide creates more churn and frustration, while still failing to provide meaningful insights and automations. A single vendor approach is constrained by lack of choice and flexibility,  vendor lock in and stifles developer innovation and lowers morale.   

Long story short, there has been no single pane of glass that provides the big picture - all the integrations, and associated data (logs, metrics) working together to illustrate and illuminate the pipeline and all of its moving pieces -  to deliver software faster and safer. 

Rowing in the Same Direction: Unification and Orchestration for Next Gen DevOps

The solution to these problems is multi-faceted. To solve the people problem, we need people-oriented solutions - communication, trust, collaboration. Process and people facilitated with the help of more automation. Above roadblocks need to be lifted to allow seamless workflows across teams and pipelines. We move faster and farther when we are all rowing in the same direction.

So how do we facilitate this? The answer arrives in the form of Continuous Orchestration. DevOps Continuous Orchestration helps manage the collection of DevOps tools

  • Integrate DevOps tools with no code automation
  • Automate workflows with quality and security integrated
  • Provide continuous insights across the DevOps lifecycle

By automating and orchestrating all tools and workflows without coding and from a single platform, you get

  • Faster software delivery without compromising software quality and security
  • Better visibility and predictive capabilities that improve security and compliance posture
  • Efficiency of DevOps resources so teams can focus on core product and skills growth
"As software-based innovation advances beyond a focus on speed, CI/CD pipelines also need to evolve to address complexity, and offer greater governance and reporting," said Jon Collins, VP of Research for GigaOm. "Faced with existing tool sprawl and challenges from adopting distributed applications and microservices architectures, the need for better orchestration that addresses both tool choice and automation will only increase, enable and enhance value delivery."

When we create the ability to orchestrate tools and pipelines, as well as data-driven insights across the DevOps lifecycle, we free developers from the pains of tool management and we mend the relationship between developers and DevOps engineers by being able to provide choice and flexibility while maintaining cohesion and security.

Developers can focus on building and shipping code (for the core product) and taking the product to market faster without losing cycles on building tools and pipelines, or being impacted by delays driven by manual security and quality processes.

DevOps engineers can quickly provide developers with tools and pipelines without taking away choice and control, while also ensuring the ability to scale, secure and govern these tools and pipelines effectively. 

Management gets the insights needed to ensure proper governance and optimize cost, complexity and risk while increasing efficiencies and productivity.

Opsera: Bringing Harmony to DevOps

To achieve the goal of Continuous Orchestration and the unity among teams across the organization, you need a platform that simplifies and automates, while providing that ever-important single pane of glass view into your pipeline and beyond. 

Toolchain Automation: Economy of Effort

Opsera toolchain automation allows you to define the tools you want, and automate any toolchain via one click deployment.

The power of Opsera lies in this perfect blend of structure and flexibility. You define the tools you want available to your organization and developers can self-serve to build up their best-of-breed toolchains that fit the pipeline and task at hand. Opsera is vendor and cloud agnostic, meaning you can create the perfect mix for your unique needs. Updates become painless, incompatible tool versions a thing of the past. You eliminate manual scripts and save time with pre-built connectors, native APIs, easy life cycle management and automated governance. Developers are saved from grunt work, churn is reduced or eliminated, and are happy and productive. Teams are collaborative, and business operations can function effectively and efficiently.

Opsera's orchestration platform integrates any tool chain enabling developers to focus on the product" says, Arunim, IDT

The Declarative Pipeline: Ease of workflows

With Opsera, building your pipeline is as easy as drag-and-drop, plug-and-play, with no manual or code-based integrations required. Users can easily build the pipelines/workflows across various DevOps stages (code commit, software builds, security scans, vault integration, approvals, notifications, thresholds and gates, quality testing integrations, validation, integrating with change control and monitoring tools, deployment and providing view of activity logs across every stage etc). Every step in the chain becomes clear and deliberate, processes become transparent and manageable, and deployments quickly go from frustrating to seamless. 

Opera Declarative Pipelines enable users to leverage the same architectural framework to build the pipelines across SDLC, Kubernetes, Infrastructure as a code, multilanguage pipelines, Salesforce platform, Artificial intelligence, and Machine learning platform, ServiceNow and workday platforms.

The CIO of Splunk agrees: "The investment into Continuous Orchestration will not only pay back in dividends but also in the empowerment of developers to ship core features, faster, and with fewer defects.”
“Opsera’s approach of no code addition of security gates and thresholds into every stage of the pipelines by out of the box integration to a choice of security tools greatly improves the proactive security posture for software delivery.  Unified real time security insights is very useful for security managers and adds to the value proposition”

- Abhay Salpekar, Director of Engineering at Snowflake

Unified Insights: Meaningful Metrics

Beyond the toolchain, your teams will now have easily integrated logs and metrics, making it straightforward to debug issues when they arise, and identify quickly where in the chain they exist. Opsera aggregates software delivery analytics across your CI/CD process into a single and unified view. 

Opsera data transformer acts as a data normalization and serialization engine that converts raw data across multiple DevOps tools and stores the data into Data Lake with a custom schema that was designed by Opsera. The DevOps continuous orchestrator sequences, aggregates and contextualizes the logs and provides an intuitive way of troubleshooting the issues across DevOps environments. You can diagnose any failures —including searching by build number — using the logs of all the tools that were involved in the execution. Historical data makes compliance and audits easy. 

In addition to this, continuous orchestration enables intelligent dashboards across 85+ KPI’s and 6 different dimensions (Planning, Development/pipelines, security, quality, operations and source code) to make smart decisions and help them do more with less. Managers can use these metrics to accelerate collaborative, continuous improvement and feedback processes. You can understand your DevOps processes from both a practitioner perspective and managerial to make better technical and business decisions.

“Centralized automation and orchestration across the software delivery lifecycle are crucial to gain the velocity and visibility DevOps teams need to meet business goals,” said Eric Robertson, an industry evangelist for Value Stream Management. “Opsera offers a no-code, intelligent DevOps solution that’s been missing from the marketplace.”
Opsera's analytics module really helped us when we were trying to diagnose issues with our build pipelines. In some cases, we say time savings of about 20%. 

-Kevin Railsback, Senior Director of Technical Operations

Watch the video to see how Opsera helped Reflektion reduce build issue diagnostic time by 20%.

The Business Bottom Line

Processes are automated. Workflows are visualized and logical. Deployments are successful. Logs and data are seamlessly aggregated and contextualized. Useful metrics and KPIs are defined. Wicked fast development cycles and code delivery are achieved. Now you are delivering software faster, safer, and smarter. And ultimately, you are blowing the roof off your business goals.

In practical application, let’s look at Keywest Networks, who saw developer productivity increase by 25%

Watch the video to see how Opsera helped KeyWest networks achieve a 25% increase in productivity.

What can you achieve when you can focus on what really matters? Watch Continuous Orchestration with Opsera in this 3-minute video.

Reach out to us today, if you’d like more information about how Opsera can help orchestrate your DevOps for faster and safer software delivery!

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