Disaster Recovery with Containers? You Bet!

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Overview

In this article we will discuss the benefits containers bring to business continuance, reveal concepts for applying containers to disaster recovery and of course show disaster recovery of a live database between production and DR OpenShift environments. Business continuance of course is all about maintaining critical business functions, during and after a disaster has occurred.  Business continuance defines two main criteria: recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO). RPO amounts to how much data loss is tolerable and RTO how quickly services can be restored when a disaster occurs. Disaster recovery outlines the processes as well as technology for how an organization responds to a disaster. Disaster recovery can be viewed as the implementation of RPO and RTO. Most organizations today have DR capabilities but there many challenges.

  • Cost – DR usually is at least doubles the price.
  • Efficiency – DR requires regular testing and in the event of a disaster, resources must be available. This leads to idle resources for 99.9% of the time.
  • Complexity – Updating applications is complex enough but DR requires a complete redeployment where the DR side almost never mirrors production due to cost.
  • Outdated – Business continuance only deals with one aspect,  disaster recovery but as mentioned cloud-native applications are active/active so to be effective today, business continuance architectures must cover DR and multi-site.
  • Slow – DR often is not 100% automated and recovery is often dependent on manual procedures that may not be up to date or even tested with the latest application deployment.

I would take these challenges even further and suggest that for many organizations business continuance and DR is nothing more than a false safety net. It costs a fortune and in the event of a true disaster probably won’t be able to deliver RPO and RTO for all critical applications. How could it when DR is not part of the continuous deployment pipeline and being tested with each application update? How could it with the level of complexity and scale that exists today and not 100% automation?

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OpenShift on OpenStack 1-2-3: Bringing IaaS and PaaS Together

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Overview

In this article we will explore why you should consider tackling IaaS and PaaS together. Many organizations gave up on OpenStack during it’s hype phase, but in my view it is time to reconsider the IaaS strategy. Two main factors are really pushing a re-emergence of interest in OpenStack and that is containers and cloud.

Containers require very flexible, software-defined infrastructure and are changing the application landscape fast. Remember when we had the discussions about pets vs cattle? The issue with OpenStack during it’s hype phase was that the workloads simply didn’t exist within most organizations, but now containers are changing that, from a platform perspective. Containers need to be orchestrated and the industry has settled in on Kubernetes for that purpose. In order to run Kubernetes you need quite a lot of flexibility at scale on the infrastructure level. You must be able to provide solid Software Defined Networking, Compute, Storage, Load Balancing, DNS, Authentication, Orchestration, basically everything and do so at a click of the button. Yeah we can all do that, right.

If we think about IT, there are two types of personas. Those that feel IT is generic, 80% is good enough and for them, it is a light switch: on or off. This persona has no reason whatsoever to deal with IaaS and should just go to the public cloud, if not already there. In other words, OpenStack makes no sense. The other persona feel IT adds compelling value to their business and going beyond 80% provides them with distinct business advantages. Anyone can go to public cloud but if you can turn IT into a competitive advantage then there may actually be a purpose for it. Unfortunately with the way many organizations go about IT today, it is not really viable, unless something dramatic happens. This brings me back to OpenStack. It is the only way an organization can provide the capabilities a public cloud offers while also matching price, performance and providing a competitive advantage. If we cannot achieve the flexibility of public cloud, the consumption model, the cost effectiveness and provide compelling business advantage then we ought to just give up right?

I also find it interesting that some organizations, even those that started in the public cloud are starting to see value in build-your-own. Dropbox for example, originally started using AWS and S3. Over last few years they built their own object storage solution, one that provided more value and saved 75 million over two years. They also did so with a fairly small team. I certainly am not advocating for doing everything yourself, I am just saying that we need to make a decision, does IT provide compelling business value? Can you do it for your business, better than the generic level playing field known as public cloud? If so, you really ought to be looking into OpenStack and using momentum behind containers to bring about real change.

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Containers in Large IT Enterprises

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Overview

As this will be the last article of 2017 I wanted to do something different and get away from my typical how-to guides (rest assured I will continue doing them in 2018). Over the past year, I have engaged in a lot of conversation with many large organizations looking to adopt or increase their container footprint. In this article I will share my thoughts on what I have learned from those discussions. We will discuss the impact of containers in large IT organizations. Understand the difference between container technology and container platform. Look into the integration points a container platform has into the existing IT landscape and finally discuss high-level architectural design ideas.

This article should serve as a good starting point for IT organizations trying to understand how to go about adopting container technology in their organization.

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OpenShift Enterprise v3 Lab Configuration: Innovate Faster, Deliver Sooner

Overview

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OpenShift Enterprise v3 by Red Hat is about building and running next-gen applications. If we look around, we have seen startups in virtually every market segment, turning the competitive landscape upside down. Startup companies like NetFlix, Spotify and Uber have literally pushed the incumbents to the brink of extinction and overtaken entire industries in a very short period of time. How have they been able to rival incumbents 100 times their size? The answer is simple, by bringing innovation to the market faster, much faster. Complacency and overcoming previous successes are very challenging for incumbents. It is much easier for a startup to innovate than an existing company with a degree of legacy. OpenShift v3 will level the playing field and provide organizations the appropriate tooling to rapidly reduce their time-to-market.

OpenShift v3 allows organizations to deliver innovation faster by:

  • Maximizing time developers actually spend developing
  • Enabling efficient clean hand-offs between Dev & Ops (DevOps)
  • Automating development pipelines and continuous integration / delivery
  • Increasing speed of innovation through more frequent experimentation
  • Providing state-of-the-art enterprise grade container infrastructure

In this article we will look at how to setup an OpenShift lab environment and get started on the journey to faster innovation cycles.
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