In today’s day and age, Netflix has become synonymous with home entertainment. This global streaming giant has brought the movie theatre experience to homes, giving its 223 million subscribers access to world-class films and series. However, little does everyone know that Netflix has also been a game changer in DevOps. It all started with a technical outage.
Generally, for any company, outages can put a wrench in their operations. However, in case of Netflix, they converted this technical challenge into an opportunity. In 2008, the video streaming platform became a victim of the worst outage that affected one-third of its subscriber base and put its entire business at stake. It was then that Netflix decided to migrate its monolithic infrastructure to AWS and rearchitect its entire applications portfolio to make it cloud-native. To prepare themselves against any future glitches and outages, they revamped their DevOps services with the help of monkeys!
Yes, you heard that right. The engineers built tools like Chaos Monkey and Simian Army to identify weaknesses and abnormalities along with recovery systems to deal with failures. Netflix built its DevOps culture around the philosophy of “Embrace failure, Automate failure”. Today, Netflix streams 203.8 million hours of content every day, sans any disruptions or disturbances. All this has been possible with 0 Network Ops Centers and a team of only 70 software engineers.
As much as this story sounds inspiring, the good part is you can also create a flourishing DevOps strategy on the Cloud. Let’s explore how.
DevOps on Google Cloud: Glass Half Full or Glass Half Empty?
By now, you should know DevOps works well on the cloud. Unlike legacy systems, The cloud empowers the DevOps team to cope with changing business requirements and drives innovation and agility. However, adopting it on a cloud platform is quite similar to the process of buying a new house at a new place: challenging and time-consuming. This is why you need well-built cloud infrastructure with built-in tools to leverage your DevOps services seamlessly, without halting your business operations.
In recent years, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) has piqued the attention of DevOps engineers for the right reasons. This is because adopting DevOps on GCP comes with an assortment of benefits like competitive pricing, private global fiber networks, improved performance and live migration of virtual machines. Here are the ways in which GCP can put your DevOps strategy into action:
Ready to use managed services: With GCP, you can benefit from its in-built managed services, IOT services and technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) without having to install any software.
Scalability: You can leverage scalable applications that offer the flexibility to move or shift your applications to the Cloud.
Automation: GCP empowers you with best practices that help automate your builds, deployments and tests.
Security: Under GCP, the shared responsibility model requires Cloud users and providers to implement strict security measures. The providers have to secure their cloud infrastructure whereas cloud users need to protect their workloads and resources.
GCP has its own dedicated research wing called the DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA). This team studies a number of technical, process and cultural capabilities to help companies enhance their software performance and delivery. Based on their findings, organizations that have adopted DevOps on GCP have:
- Deployed 973x more frequently and have lead times 6750x faster
- Recovered from incidents 6570x faster and have change fail rates 3x lower
- Spend 50% less time fixing security issues
Now, let’s move on to how you can build a solid DevOps Framework on GCP.
Formulizing Success: 5 Steps to Best Strategize DevOps on Google Cloud Platform
Here are the five steps outlined for building a DevOps Framework on GCP:
Examine your Current Environment
If you want to create a superior DevOps program, the first step is to chalk out a rock-solid plan, more specifically a Cloud framework that addresses your requirements. Make a list of what kind of products you want to build, their features and what purpose should they serve. These can include their software and hardware capabilities, application design and non-technical requirements.
Build & Enhance Microservices Architecture
To achieve continuous delivery, your architecture needs to support advanced DevOps managed services. A microservices architecture ensures you can add backward-compatible versioned APIs to ensure faster application deployment. Google’s DORA team has suggested two ways to improve your microservices architecture:
- Evolutionary architecture: Rather than re-architecting everything, you only re-architect products, services and applications based on the changes and requirements. This process helps to modernize your enterprise system.
- Datastore: Datastore deploys distributed architecture to empower smaller teams to work in smaller units during the development cycle. This helps to make changes quickly so they can be deployed independently, safely and efficiently.
- Map Out your DevOps Process and Tools
Defining a DevOps process can bring about collaboration, bridge the communication gap between siloed teams and align them towards a common goal.
Version control system help record changes made to a series of files so that a specific version can be released in the future if required. The software delivery team uses tools like Git, Subversion and Mercurial to track source code changes; test and deploy scripts; and procure application and infrastructure configuration information. Version control offers three major benefits:
- Reproducibility: It helps in automating testing, analyzing and sharing of work on services like Binder. Reproducible projects enable seamless team collaboration, quick iteration and portability.
- Traceability: It ensures faster deployment. In other words, it monitors each stage of the software development life cycle at a granular level while helping resolve issues or bugs that may occur in future.
- Disaster recovery: When there is a glitch in the environment, say for instance, a hardware failure, the team should be able to reproduce the exact environment within few minutes to fix the issue.
Trunk-based development is a prerequisite to continuous integration and delivery. The developers integrate small and frequent changes into a core trunk or main branch. This helps to achieve smooth CI/CD that accelerates software delivery and drives effective organizational performance.
Software Release Workflow
By designing a software release workflow, you can design a CI/CD pipeline with tools like Google Cloud Build, Artifact Registry, Binary Authorization, Tekton, Google Cloud Deploy and Operations Suite. With the help of an effective CI/CD pipeline, you can build, test and deploy the code into the system to implement changes, add any new features and quickly deliver updates.
Build & Test Code
GCP’s CloudBuild Serverless CI/CD platform offers a set of managed build services to compile source code. With the help of this, the developers can test and run it to deploy software. The best part is, you don’t have to provision, manage or even scale build servers. This is because CloudBuild continuously processes multiple builds at the same time.
Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery
GCP supports CI/CD capabilities as it offers services to test, build and deploy new apps with long lead times and better development cycles. It also helps deploy the software at a faster rate without comprising quality and security. As part of the CI pipeline, GCP offers tools like Terraform and Packer that can be integrated with the existing CI services like GitLab, Jenkins and TeamCity. You can cut down on overhead expenses, advance your complex builds and improve security. Using multi-cloud CD tools like Spinnaker automates the deployment process. These tools can be used with CI integration tools to deploy to VM’s, serverless, Kubernetes and Firebase. GCP supports Docker containers with in-built tools like Maven, Gradle, WebPack, Go or Bazel that offer flexibility to run integration tests and ensure your code works properly.
Infrastructure as a code
Infrastructure as a code (IaC) configures Cloud infrastructure like storage networks, servers and virtual machines in a declarative fashion. Declarative here means that the developers can write code using a text-based template to deploy the services they want. IaC also helps to automate repetitive tasks. The tasks usually comprise configuration, provisioning and deployment. Both the development and the operations team could work on other functionalities rather than focusing on repetitive tasks.
Deployment automation is a crucial aspect of facilitating DevOps practices and managing a CI/CD pipeline. It uses a set of agile and automated processes and methodologies to deploy applications to the testing and production environments. Due to this, you can release new features and applications quickly and efficiently, avoid downtime and update applications without any human intervention.
There was a time when software developers heavily depended upon manual testing and code inspection to track any errors or bottlenecks. These manual tests used to be highly time-consuming and, in most cases, unreliable. Even the long feedback cycles proved to be of little help to the developers. They got little time to write quality code, resulting in degraded performance and security issues. However, with GCP that’s not an issue. It deploys a set of automated test suites such as Unit Tests and Acceptance Tests.
Unifying CI/CD Projects
GCP’s Cloud Run helps you to develop and deploy containerized and scalable applications on a fully managed platform. You can write these codes in languages like Go, Python, Java and Node. The specialized user interface helps you to look after all the software development activities in one place.
- Amplify Security
According to a report by DORA, teams spend a lot of time resolving security issues. This is the reason developers should enforce information security (InfoSec) services in their regular work. These services can ensure better software delivery performance and secured systems. The process is called shifting left to security.
- Provision, Configure and Manage GCP Infrastructure
GCP’s Cloud Deployment Manager allows you to keep a record of GCP resources and update them regularly. You can use flexible templates and configuration files to deploy various Google Cloud Services like Compute Engine, CloudSQL and Compute Engine. Not only does the Deployment Manager monitor infrastructure compliance as per the project requirements, it serves the following purposes too:
- Managing configuration
- Running web apps
- Enabling Policy as Code for software development best practices
- Implementing private Git hosting
- Code building
- Code deployment
Give your DevOps Environment a Facelift with Cloud4C
When it comes to DevOps, many IT organizations and companies are facing the big conundrum: What is a successful DevOps initiative? According to Patrick Debois, the founder of the DevOps movement, DevOps is about creating a synergy between the customer and their business needs.
What Mr. Patrick is trying to imply is that a good DevOps strategy should accelerate business transformation. It should initiate a radical cultural shift that brings greater collaboration among teams and automates your business processes for stellar growth and output. However, here’s the thing. Before you reach the end goal, you need to have someone who can help you with proper DevOps implementation. A globally-renowned leading cloud service provider like Cloud4C can be your helping hand.
Leverage Cloud4C’s GCP DevOps Consulting Services to choose the right applications, strategies and expertise based on your business requirements. We will help you in building, developing, and deploying applications to live environments along with providing tools for auto testing, code security and application modernization. Our Cloud4C Center of Excellence integrates DevOps best practices with its Cloud-native tools to deliver enhanced performance, scalability and accelerated product-to-market timelines. It’s time to elevate your DevOps journey to the next level. To know more, get in touch with us, now!