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Tag Archives: devops

A Tale of Modernization: Stopping Bank Robbers as a Service (20 Billion Times to Date)

Pirates. Pick pockets. Bank Robbers.

What do these have to do with applications modernization?

Well, bank robbers have turned digital, and this article is about modernizing one of the most successful systems used to stop them.

Stealing credit card numbers, emptying online bank accounts and stealing identities is now big business for thieves and consequently a big area for software companies and banks to collaborate and stop them. Cybercrime and malware have become such an issue that, according to Gartner, the web fraud detection market (where RSA competes) grew 35% in 2010 and 25% in 2011.

RSA is in the business of stopping banks and their customers from being robbed (among other things). Their technology has protected people, businesses, and financial institutions from online fraud for almost 20 years. Their Adaptive Authentication solution is deployed at over 8000 companies, used by over 200 million people, and has protected over 20 billion transactions to date. To jump on the “everything as a service” bandwagon, Adaptive Authentication is literally embarking on a project to “Stop Bank Robbers as a Service.”

We had the opportunity to catch up with the RSA engineering team that is developing this next-generation service using a wide range of VMware capabilities, including VMware vCloud Suite and vFabric. We learned that VMware virtualization infrastructure management, application performance management, automated provisioning, and application servers are already providing benefits along with improved runtimes, and got a peek into how they plan to do the financial side of IT business management using VMware tools.

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Understanding the Difference between Spring Insight Developer & Insight Operations

Every developer knows Byte Code Instrumentation (BCI) is useful. It automates how you instrument your code, and let’s you see exactly how data is being transferred and manipulated within your application. The level of detail is essential to writing and debugging good code.

The Spring Framework has its own BCI tool, called Spring Insight. It comes in two flavors: Spring Insight Developer Edition (Insight) and Spring Insight Operations (Insight Operations). It is also bundled with AppInsight as part of the vFabric Application Performance Suite, and currently only works on Java/Spring code, a fact that is open to change with the upcoming Split-Agent Architecture.

So what is the difference?

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How it Works: VMware’s Own Internal Self-Service Cloud

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One of the hottest new products in the vFabric portfolio is vFabric Application Director.

Many at VMware are excited about it simply because of what it means to our everyday work life. Earlier this year, we published a story on “How VMware IT Reduced Provisioning Time by 80% Using vFabric Application Director and More.”

Now that number is up to 90%. Here’s an overview of what the business workload lifecycle management implementation looks like under the hood.

As shared in the earlier post, our goal was to automate the end-to-end application life-cycle management in a private cloud and eventually across the clouds. Automation by definition speeds things up and makes them less error prone, but in this case, it also meant that VMware’s IT organization could decouple itself from the everyday operations of the app and product teams it serviced. This split between IT and DevOps is a goal for many organizations today who are looking to be more agile, save money and maintain strong IT governance.

To achieve it, VMware IT automated several key processes across organizations including:

  • Cloud & Catalog Management
  • Workload Blueprint Design
  • Workload Automation
  • Self-service Portal
  • Change Management

Naturally, we looked first to eating our own dogfood and built these processes on top of several VMware products including VM Studio, vCloud Director, vFabric Application Director, vCenter Orchestrator and Service Manager.

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How IT Will Come Out On Top of The Cloud

Virtualization is about to change the game again in the datacenter. As the modern computing world has become comfortable with cloud computing, their appetite is accelerating for it, and doing so rapidly. In fact, Gartner recently reported that spending on public cloud services will be $109 billion this year, up from $91 billion from last year’s spend. And it will nearly double to $207 billion by 2016. That’s a consistent increase of over 20% each year, and the fastest growing area of spend according to their predictions

And guess what? Some of them are in your business, and you probably don’t even know it. Analysts are calling this trend “shadow IT” where end users decide to implement their own CRM solution with a simple credit card swipe. Or where a business unit decides to build and test an app on Amazon instead of internally on your infrastructure. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has data that shows large enterprises (averaging $500MM in revenue a year) “leak” as much as 30% of their IT budget outside of IT’s purview and ledger. Not only do these costs surprise the CIO, but they also fall outside of IT’s ability to govern, secure and maintain compliance. And of course, when things go wrong, IT is drawn into help troubleshoot a solution they have little knowledge of, exhausting resources very quickly. Continue reading

5 Ways IT Benefits From The New Cloud Operating Model

It’s official. IT’s investment in the cloud is accelerating. Gartner recently reported that spending on public cloud services will reach $109 billion this year, up from $91 billion from last year’s spend. That’s an increase of over 20% in one year, and the fastest growing area of spend according to their predictions.

How is IT coping with such a dramatic shift in resources? At VMware, we are seeing an organizational shift that we are calling the Cloud Operating Model that is capitalizing on this effort. The Cloud Operating Model is both an organizational change and a technology evolution. On the organizational side, IT retrenches and focuses on building out a private cloud that is cost competitive to public clouds, provides end user services that attract apps to stay in-house, and can support a larger server-to-admin ratio. Application and business teams, presented with readily available infrastructure and armed with sophisticated app management and provisioning tools, transform themselves into DevOps—literally Development-Operations—that now have full control of application lifecycles including developing, running and managing their apps. While IT still provides services to DevOps, they actually become untangled from each other’s day-to-day operations.

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2 Ways Fast/Big Data Impacts the IT Org Structure

Though my background includes time as both a developer, architect, and CTO, much of my time today is spent discussing applications with senior IT executives. I manage an application development division of a national VAR and focus on the vFabric stack from top to bottom. One of the challenges I face is trying Screen shot 2012-08-08 at 10.48.39 AM
to provide application-centric consulting services to operations/infrastructure teams who (a) don’t really own the decision of app software infrastructure and/or (b) don’t understand it and, (c) worse in some cases, don’t care. Recently, I’ve come to love my job for two primary reasons:

1. “Cloud” technologies are forcing the Operations teams and the Application teams to “share” responsibility for overall IT efficiency. The cloud concept of an on-demand, elastic infrastructure is knocking down political walls and silos that have evolved over the past decades in IT. This is no more evident than at VMWare, where vFabric and vSphere product lines are starting to blur (e.g. vCenter –> vCloud Director –> Application Director). Finally, I have something to talk to the Infrastructure folks that gets them excited! Perhaps it is the needed automation of infrastructure that brings Ops to the Aps side. Or, perhaps it an elastic architecture that brings Aps over to the Ops side. In any event, the two teams are brought together and work together more in cloud solutions.

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How to Achieve Continuous Provisioning (CP) for Agile Development

The development practice of Continuous Integration has become a de facto standard for development teams trying to become more Agile. The benefits of Continuous Integration are extremely impactful and much has been written on the topic.  By automating the building and testing of software, a development team creates a repeatable and consistent build process.  By extending this process into the concept of continuous provisioning, a development team extends the same type of repeatability and consistency to application deployments.  If the up-front cost of automating the build and deployment of an application is nothing compared to the time and cost savings to be incurred, then why does automation stop there?  Why do most development teams still need to wait for the underlying infrastructure to be provisioned?  Why do developers and operations teams manually install and configure middleware (application servers, databases, etc)? 

This article will illustrate to teams how continuous provisioning can be leveraged during development.

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