DevOps

3 Lessons From VMware’s Multi-Cloud Academy (With a Little Help from an Electronic Superstar)

VMware Product Marketing Lead, Harsh Singh referenced VMware’s inception during a recent webinar, “Launching the Multi-Cloud Academy with IaC (Infrastructure as Code).” In 1999 VMware launched its first product, Workstation 1.0. Workstation spawned virtualization and the ability to run multiple operating systems as virtual machines on a single computer. It was a game-changer.  

VMware blossomed alongside the data center industry, which was undergoing massive change. “In a typical data center model,” Singh explained, “when an app developer wants to deploy, they write a ticket, which goes to the admin, who gets a server.” The admin then provisions software, along with networking, patching and load balancing. That process works fine with one server. But with 100 or 1,000? “That becomes cumbersome,” he continued.  

A few years after VMware debuted, Grammy award-winning electronic duo Daft Punk released its own pioneering work: the album Discovery. Like Workstation, Discovery was a trendsetter. Both VMware and Daft Punk used automation to deliver freedom, proving to their respective industries that it was possible to focus on innovation rather than minutiae. 

In the webinar, Singh, along with colleagues Mandy Botsko-Wilson, Chris McClanahan and Ryan Schneider, expounded upon some lessons the industry can learn from VMware and its infrastructure as code (IaC) approach.  

Today’s software leadership, from developer on up, can learn a lot from VMware’s Multi-Cloud Academy and the surprising musical source about how to unencumber themselves and unleash reliability, consistency and speed.  

Lesson 1: Automate for harder, better, faster, stronger software 

As Principal Architect, Mandy Botsko-Wilson mentioned, “there’s a software component to just about everything today.” Check engine light on? Your car is doing some diagnostics under the hood. Thermostat switching seamlessly from heat to cool? Software, again. To keep all these systems running smoothly, car and smart home companies employ armies of developers.  

Developers ensure software functions properly in various environments, including development, integration, test, quality assurance and staging. Along with writing software, developer teams constantly examine clues about system performance and determine why failures happen when they do. Inevitably, companies scale to accommodate more customers or product features. When this happens, the processes of checking in code and checking off a list of procedures to avoid snafus becomes more tedious.  

Botsko-Wilson noted that to contend with these changes, “developers are working faster, stronger and at greater scale than ever before.” Developers probably feel caught up in the lyrical loop of Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”:  

Work it harder, make it better
Do it faster makes us stronger 
More than ever hour after hour 
Work is never over

Daft Punk

To escape procedural purgatory, developers need infrastructure to meet them where they are. For that, automation is the best way forward. Infrastructure as code (IaC) allows teams to automate all the assumptions and configurations different environments require. Automation lets developers make changes at scale without being bogged down by sniffing out the origins of code clashes.  

Lesson 2: Capitalize on the face-to-face collaboration of DevOps  

Developers used to write code, test it and hand it off to the operations team. Ops teams then figured out how to run the code. This siloed relationship created plenty of back and forth and unresolved issues. Like the Daft Punk song, “Face to Face,” what the teams needed was better communication. 

It really didn’t make sense 
Just to leave this unresolved 
It’s not hard to go the distance 
When you finally get involved face to face

Daft Punk

Eventually, the practice of DevOps — where developers and operations teams work face to face — was born. DevOps is a fairly common practice today. Yet as organizations scale their software operations, they’ll need even tighter collaboration for the speed, reliability and scale that modern software demands.  

IaC provides those benefits by helping DevOps teams automate software operations. Automation is especially helpful because it cuts the deployment cycle down to a matter of hours when it used to take days. 

Nothing like a little face-to-face communication and automation for delivering software at scale. 

Lesson 3: One more time, because incremental improvements are key 

The Daft Punk classic “One More Time” shows just what you can achieve through repetition, by doing something one more time. Software organizations can take note. Although it’s tempting to tackle every challenge at once, teams are better served by focusing on incremental progress. Solving one small problem, one more time, is the best way to achieve efficiency.  

Ryan Schneider, an education engineer at VMware for Tanzu, explained how important incremental change is in software development. “Performing at a high level on day one is much different than on day 90,” he said, in part because there’s so much more running on the infrastructure on day 90. “It’s important to account for that in schedules and realize it doesn’t magically happen.” Instead, high-level performance three months after initial deployment depends on teams working together to incrementally improve.  

“It takes time, and if it doesn’t happen right away don’t feel bad. You’ll incrementally get there, and you’ll see a benefit from each step along the way.” 

Just one more improvement, one more time is the best way to unleash the benefits of IaC.  

IaC helps everyone think logically, a development too long in the making 

Songwriting and code writing both require specific skills. It’s nearly impossible to create an engaging end product without the appropriate know-how. Botsko-Wilson believes that the most important skill is “the ability to think logically, to piece everything together.”  

Director of Technical Product Management Chris McClanahan, expanded on her idea. “Logically, you have to build things in a certain order. Knowing this block of infrastructure needs to go before these other two” is crucial for software development and delivery at scale.  

Thinking logically suits the concept of IaC so well because it’s the very ethos of provisioning infrastructure as you would software. IaC lets teams automate procedures along the software-development pipeline, reducing complexity. Like Daft Punk’s Discovery finale, “Too Long,” suggests, thinking logically removes the burden of scaling from the shoulders of developers and frees them to create and innovate. 

At last, the long wait is over, the weight is off my shoulders 
I’m taking all control, yeah 
My, my mind is set so free, I’m where I want to be 
To get the best of me

Daft Punk

Enhance your Multi-Cloud journey today! 
 
Want to dive deeper into this topic? Last month we launched our new Multi-Cloud Academy on VMware Customer Connect Learning. The Academy is designed to help you understand multi-cloud solutions. Topics include Infrastructure as Code as well as how to leverage VMware Cross-Cloud™ infrastructure, management, and applications. Throughout the academy, you will find solutions and product training to help you build your knowledge regardless of where you are on your multi-cloud journey!

To learn more valuable lessons from VMware experts, check out the webinar replay, read about the launch or visit the brand new Multi-Cloud Academy

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