Making Applications Cloud Agnostic
July 18, 2016

Joan Wrabetz
Quali

In the last few months a half dozen startups in the cloud application migration space have been snapped up by larger vendors and cloud providers (e.g. Cliqr acquired by
Cisco, ITapp acquired by ServiceNow, ElasticBox acquired by CenturyLink). This sudden interest in application migration is perhaps surprising given all the buzz around containers. Aren't containers going to make application migration a problem of the past? Clearly the answer is "No!" Let's examine what makes application migration so important and difficult.

Application migration is increasing in importance for a number of reasons. One key reason is the growth of Hybrid clouds. While almost all enterprises are using the public cloud, almost none of them are using public cloud exclusively. This means that some of their applications are migrating to the cloud. This step also necessitates that these apps be capable of running in more than one public cloud because most large organizations prefer not to create a dependency on a single cloud provider. At the same time, some applications are not moving to the public cloud, which means that they are moving to a private cloud environment. This means that application migration is important to almost all organizations, regardless of where they are migrating to.

At a time when software development groups are trying to move to DevOps, they are faced with developing applications for legacy, as well as these new and different environments. DevOps drivers cause organizations to look for ways to automate the software development, test and deployment processes. Whatever these processes are, they need to work in all of the cloud and datacenter environments that applications are targeted for.

The combination of hybrid cloud and DevOps requirements has led to an increased interest in application migration. The companies that have been acquired shared a common capability for creating an application template that could be deployed in different infrastructure.

A core tenant of application deployment that is agnostic to infrastructure is the need to create an application template that carries meta data about the application's requirements that can be interpreted for deployment to multiple cloud or virtual environments. This template carries information that is not available with containers. Containers do help to make applications portable so that the application image can run in many different cloud environments, but they do not carry the information about which cloud to target, application unique requirements, and post-deployment configuration.

Smarter firms provide application templating as part of its cloud sandboxing software. Sandboxes are used to create a complete replica of a production environment, from network to applications and hybrid cloud configuration. As part of this replica, a template for each application type that allows the application to be deployed in different sandboxes with different virtualization or cloud configurations using the same template should be included. This template should be designed to allow complete flexibility of deployment since it is used in development and testing and is incorporated into an automated DevOps process. In addition, as part of sandboxes, applications are automatically connected to networks so the application template needs to provide enough information to enable network connections to be orchestrated automatically.

These types of application templates follow a modeling approach. The application template includes:

■ A data model for the application that allows the users to describe a structure for the application.

■ A set of attributes that are used to provide additional information about application requirements such as CPU, memory, etc.

■ Deployment path that includes the list of virtualization or cloud environments on which this app can be deployed.

■ The template includes a pointer to the location and type of image for each deployment path.

■ Driver that enables automated control of the app after it has been deployed.

Application templates are key to describing applications in a way that is cloud agnostic and also enables automation for DevOps. The software that creates these templates has become a critical component for many cloud providers and DevOps solutions, whether for development and test, like sandboxing software, or for production deployment.

Joan Wrabetz is CTO of Quali.

The Latest

September 20, 2018

The latest Accelerate State of DevOps Report from DORA focuses on the importance of the database and shows that integrating it into DevOps avoids time-consuming, unprofitable delays that can derail the benefits DevOps otherwise brings. It highlights four key practices that are essential to successful database DevOps ...

September 18, 2018

To celebrate IT Professionals Day 2018 (this year on September 18), the SolarWinds IT Pro Day 2018: A World Powered by Tech Pros survey explores a "Tech PROactive" world where technology professionals have the time, resources, and ability to use their technology prowess to do absolutely anything ...

September 17, 2018

The role of DevOps in capitalizing on the benefits of hybrid cloud has become increasingly important, with developers and IT operations now working together closer than ever to continuously plan, develop, deliver, integrate, test, and deploy new applications and services in the hybrid cloud ...

September 13, 2018

"Our research provides compelling evidence that smart investments in technology, process, and culture drive profit, quality, and customer outcomes that are important for organizations to stay competitive and relevant -- both today and as we look to the future," said Dr. Nicole Forsgren, co-founder and CEO of DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA), referring to the organization's latest report Accelerate: State of DevOps 2018: Strategies for a New Economy ...

September 12, 2018

This next blog examines the security component of step four of the Twelve-Factor methodology — backing services. Here follows some actionable advice from the WhiteHat Security Addendum Checklist, which developers and ops engineers can follow during the SaaS build and operations stages ...

September 10, 2018

When thinking about security automation, a common concern from security teams is that they don't have the coding capabilities needed to create, implement, and maintain it. So, what are teams to do when internal resources are tight and there isn't budget to hire an outside consultant or "unicorn?" ...

September 06, 2018

In evaluating 316 million incidents, it is clear that attacks against the application are growing in volume and sophistication, and as such, continue to be a major threat to business, according to Security Report for Web Applications (Q2 2018) from tCell ...

September 04, 2018

There's a welcome insight in the 2018 Accelerate State of DevOps Report from DORA, because for the first time it calls out database development as a key technical practice which can drive high performance in DevOps ...

August 29, 2018

While everyone is convinced about the benefits of containers, to really know if you're making progress, you need to measure container performance using KPIs.These KPIs should shed light on how a DevOps team is faring in terms of important parameters like speed, quality, availability, and efficiency. Let's look at the specific KPIs to track for each of these broad categories ...

August 27, 2018

Protego Labs recently discovered that 98 percent of functions in serverless applications are at risk, with 16 percent considered "serious" ...

Share this