By Mehul Patel, Sr. Manager, DevOps and Platform Enablement, and Pervinder Sudan, DevOps Lead, VMware
Today, VMware IT leverages VMware vRealize® Automation™ (vRA) and VMware vRealize Code Stream Service™ to allow VMware DevOps to ‘be everywhere’ by enabling public experiences (surfacing functionality/capability as a service with transparent underlying platforms) on our private cloud, as well as offering continuous delivery. These factors drive digital transformation, an important key to success in the ever-changing cloud era.
But first, a little background
VMware IT internal applications consist of many million lines of custom code that run the core business of VMware. The organization was facing a number of challenges to meet the speed of continuously evolving business requirements. The overhead of managing diverse infrastructure was beginning to skyrocket. Plus, to deliver applications with speed, predictability and high quality, availability of consistent infrastructure and application environments was required.
With adoption of DevOps principles, the core IT delivery model was changed to follow an agile methodology that would mitigate the existing challenges. This allowed multiple projects to be executed in parallel.
The VMware IT team started creating vRA blueprints to provision end-to-end instances and environments with the latest code, configurations, and data—then made them available to developers at the click of a button. Blueprints acted as building blocks that can be ‘mashed up’ to create instances for more complex systems. This enabled environments to be consistent at all levels (infrastructure, applications, latest codebase and configurations) when provisioned, and allowed application configurations to be managed programmatically. It also created stable instances that exhibited fewer issues and required less resources for support.
That translated to efficiencies during application development phase, enhancing overall delivery speed to meet demanding needs of business changes. Moreover, VMware IT teams could rapidly reproduce existing instances for real-time incident resolution.
Enabling IaaS using vRA
Thanks to vRA’s deployment scaling capabilities, VMware IT can use the same blueprints for provisioning different-sized environments and quickly scale out existing environments on demand. Reusability of blueprints also allows the team to effortlessly provision similar technology stacks.
vRA has capability to create nested blueprints, enabling our team to easily provision four tier application stacks (webserver, application layer, middleware and backend databases). vRA also has rich tool integration features that allow IPAM, IP netting & subnetting, load balancer integration and associated configurations. There are built-in capabilities to track and manage changes across the application and infrastructure lifecycle. This allows developers to provision complex application-ready infrastructure on demand.
With automation, the IT organization reduced instance-provisioning time from approximately three weeks down to less than a day. This, in turn, allowed VMware IT to reduce the infrastructure footprint from 28 full-scale application instances to less than 10 instances, and dramatically reduce the amount of resources and time required to maintain the environments.
Continuous development and agile delivery with Code Stream Service
Code Stream Service is a release/deployment automation tool that allows developers to leverage vRA APIs to setup/tear down instances on the fly. It automates the software development life cycle (SDLC), accelerates delivery of software projects, and substantially reduces the risk of errors thanks to all-new level of visibility and control. Now continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) that is at the core of VMware’s DevOps strategy is a reality.
Its plugins and APIs allowed VMware IT to seamlessly integrate and automate an array of tools across different phases of SDLC (code scan, build, archive, manage configurations, deploy, validate and test) for a complex application landscape of 400+ on-premise and 100+ Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications. This has been instrumental in the IT organization’s DevOps transformation journey by providing on-demand pipeline execution and deployment capabilities.
Thanks to Code Stream Service, VMware IT’s application deployment automation went up from approximately 70% to 98%. This led to an increased deployment frequency from one major (and one minor) release a month to the ability to deploy on-demand whenever changes are ready. And it allowed the organization to adopt DevOps methodology and have a production-ready codebase at any point in time.
In fact, Code Stream Service has reduced our cost per feature by more than 50%, while improving overall feature velocity. And enabled a centralized collection of DevOps metrics, providing a holistic view of the IT delivery process.
Key DevOps macro-metrics for VMware IT
Combined, vRA and Code Stream Service have empowered VMware IT to meet the pace of ever-changing business and technology needs.
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