DevOps Tools Need to be Agile While Handling Greater Complexity
DevOps complexity is increasing exponentially with transformation, integrations, and hybrid deployment.
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We had the opportunity to gather insights on the current state of DevOps from Ari Weil, Global VP Product and Industry of Akamai Technologies relative to the recent update to its intelligent edge platform, including a series of new features support DevOps teams.
What Are the Most Important Elements of A Successful DevOps Initiative and How Do These Updates Facilitate That?
For most businesses, agility is the essence of DevOps. The holy grail of agility has meant automating continuous release and deployment for applications in order to realize value faster. But as complexity increases exponentially through transformations, integrations, and permutations of what a hybrid deployment looks like, it’s critical DevOps teams have the tools they need to deploy to the cloud seamlessly and securely.
Over the past few years, there has been a shift from IT operations to the developers, especially as businesses increasingly migrate to the cloud. Now the responsibility of delivering a superior and differentiated customer experience also falls on the developers, who are tasked with iterating quickly and releasing new products and features to the market faster than ever before.
These updates were designed to help DevOps teams support their businesses' cloud migrations. This includes protecting their content, APIs, and applications, accelerating digital experiences, and helping drive agility among development teams.
Teams looking to automate deployment and operations can leverage the robust DevOps and APIs to accelerate time to market, including real-time production management capabilities, scriptable APIs and toolkit integrations. Customers leveraging these enhancements can not only carefully monitor application usage and performance but also maximize offload to optimize their cloud service investments.
These features also create efficiencies for internal teams by allowing them to scale, accelerate their pace of development, and achieve more predictable cloud pricing while reducing downtime.
What Problems Does DevOps Solve and How Do These Enhancements Help?
DevOps makes it easier for teams to configure and automate workflows, tap into real-time testing and performance monitoring, and extend their operations to the edge.
The enhancements to the platform help developers in three key ways:
Build search and update capability: Most businesses deploy multiple domains (e.g. globally, across different languages, country variants, etc.) and copy the master code and modify it for different properties. But when you have ten different copies of deployment script, there’s a higher propensity for error. The search and update capability enables a more efficient way to rule out errors and ensures that all of the same policies are applied to them.
Faster activation time: When it comes to global activation and synchronization, it previously took us 45 minutes to propagate changes globally. Now, Akamai offers a 10-minute activation for any API or cloud configuration change, and the application deployment is simplified for both web and security content. This includes the ability to purge any existing content using cache tags. For instance, if a developer needs to make a wholesale change to their application, they can do so using one script, applied globally where that change is relevant based on the tag, and remove content individually in a matter of seconds.
Operate with greater visibility: You can get information from basic analytics platforms about traffic and end-user performance. However, the gap in understanding has been, what happens on the CDN? Do I have all of my geographies actually imposing the same latency? We deployed the DataStream capability to provide visibility into the middle mile, in real time. This allows developers to see how applications are performing across the middle mile and any areas where they might want to tune the CDN policies, enabling DevOps engineers or SREs to be more agile and make informed decisions without having to redeploy.
How Do These Enhancements Help DevOps Become More Secure?
Akamai expanded its portfolio of adaptive security capabilities in order to enhance protections while enabling businesses to deliver seamless user experiences. New offerings can intelligently serve or block access to content with a fully integrated Virtual Private Network (VPN) and Domain Name System (DNS) proxy detection service. Intelligence added to Akamai’s Token Authentication capabilities extends coverage for browsers and devices that do not support cookies and also makes it more difficult to play back stolen content. Finally, standard TLS addresses the need to deliver HTTPS at massive scale while providing a customer-branded SSL certificate, all of which are critical for large broadcasters and streaming TV providers.
Additionally, to address the growing threat of increasingly sophisticated bots, Akamai has continued to develop technologies designed to improve visibility into malicious botnet activities on customer sites as well as those targeting other businesses. Updates include enhanced detections and improved self-serviceability, enabling customers to finetune their own settings for advanced bot detection and deploy agile defenses against fast-evolving automated threats.
What Are Some Use Cases You Anticipate These Enhancements Facilitating?
Organizations that are looking to innovate faster and increase release velocity will benefit from these enhancements. When there are many teams working to manage application deployments and related CDN configurations they can contribute their changes to a central build, and test those changes in an isolated environment. They need to make changes to their configuration very quickly while targeting specific content with those changes while real-time visibility into the network performance and the user experience throughout can offer these teams greater agility, faster time to market, with greater ability to troubleshoot errors should they arise.
What Are the Most Common Failures You See in The Implementation of DevOps and How Do These Updates Help Mitigate the Failures?
Eighty-five percent of companies today have a hybrid cloud strategy, but many have begun to realize that the cloud brings significant challenges to security, operations, and cost management. Cloud migration introduces complexity that can slow app deployments, cause cost overruns, and expose businesses to previously unknown security risks. Many development teams that are responsible for building and deploying applications in the cloud or in hybrid cloud architectures find themselves bogged down designing custom solutions to allow them to operate safely and effectively. This time spent exposes cost overruns and can drag out project timelines, it causes teams to focus on non-core activities rather than developing new capabilities and exposes skills gaps in their organization for dealing with this architectural complexity.
What Are Your Concerns with The State of DevOps Today?
Security and governance are seen as impediments to the agility DevOps require and, therefore, have become an afterthought in the race to roll out new apps and updates. This could result in exposure in the form of a significant data breach and, ultimately, massive fines or fallout in the user community. The industry needs to reconcile how controls can enable agility, not restrict it so that we can redouble efforts in scale with an eye toward security.
What’s the Future of DevOps?
Although we can’t predict the future, we see that the need to help teams move even faster will continue. They will require integrated tools and APIs to achieve smooth and consistent operations. With greater visibility, they will continue to focus on increasing release velocity but also on delivering reliable customer experiences without haphazardly exposing vulnerabilities. These requirements will only become more critical as complexity increases and security threats grow and become more varied.
What Do Developers Need to Know About Your Enhancement that Will Help Make Their Lives “Simpler and Easier?”
These updates were designed to help DevOps teams support their businesses' cloud migrations, via enhanced content, API and application protections, digital experience acceleration, and help with driving agility among development teams. These features also enable internal teams to reduce downtime while accelerating their pace of development. Ultimately, the goal of these platform enhancements is to make sure DevOps teams are supported in the way they want to be supported.
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