Infrastructure Transition to DevOps with Alibaba Cloud — Part 1: Container Services
By Rishu Mehra
DevOps is a technique that goes ahead of a simple implementation of agile practices to manage the infrastructure. DevOps seems to promote collaboration between the development team and operational teams. The main aim is to bring the two closer (in various aspects) by eliminating their barriers due to physical location, organizational functionality, and business goals.
By enhancing the boundaries of conventional developer and operations roles, DevOps can reduce the gaps and SILOs. This enables better business continuity, accountability, and results across business units. The DevOps-agile methodology also helps businesses adapt to evolving requirements quickly and easily. In other words, DevOps is a collaboration between development and operations that focuses on enhancing the efficiency and innovation of delivering products to organizations and customers.
Why Does the Traditional Model Need Changes?
Traditional software development models include the Rational Unified Process, the V model, and the Waterfall model. The modern approach, particularly the Agile method, is significantly replacing traditional development models. There are several challenges that organizations face when implementing traditional software development models:
- Manual mediation
- Inconsistent environments
- Restricted monitoring
- Lack of shared ownership
- Mismatch between expectation and reality
- Obsolete testing practices
To overcome these issues DevOps-agile methodology is required. There are a few tools needed to bridge all the gaps between them and quickly adopt the modern style.
What Tools Are Required to Make the Shift?
DevOps is the usability and functionality of two essential features and their respective tools. The success of DevOps significantly depends on the use of containers, the automation process, and its tools. In this blog, I’ll be describing Container Services.
Containers refer to the solutions that help run the applications while moving across multiple computing environments. One of the most important things to remember is the kernel should be of the same type. The movement could vary from staging to the production environment or from a physical machine to a virtual machine on the cloud. Additionally, containers help in minimizing the conflicts among teams that function on different software on the same infrastructure by isolating the software from its surroundings. Each containerized application runs on a single operating system and shares kernel with other containers, making it lightweight. Containers enable a popular architecture called microservices, which refers to disassembled small parts of an application and replaces the bulkiness of the application.
Benefits of Container Services:
- Facilitates Business Agility: Via containers, development and deployment processes become much simpler and take user experience to another level. This enables businesses or companies to go-to-market, launch their products, or release updates at a much faster rate. It increases the agility of the organization.
- Accelerates Development: Containers allow users to dismantle an application into small and discrete elements called microservices. This minimizes the efforts and time of the pipeline of creation :arrow_right: testing :arrow_right: deployment :arrow_right: integration.
- Optimize Cloud Utilization: Organizations adopting containers and cloud technology rapidly helps utilize cloud services to the fullest. This also allows the cloud environment to deploy several containerized applications on top of a single cloud instance.
- Promotes Service Oriented Architecture: Containerization ensures every individual container runs a single application or process. By doing this, users must enhance the quality of the entire development model.
- Lightweight and Easy to Use: Containers are extremely lightweight. This feature enables managing application components with ease. Moreover, it is possible to deploy them on multiple OSs and VMs.
One of the most popular container services used by developers across industries is Kubernetes. One of the previous blogs I wrote has a detailed explanation of Kubernetes, its features, and its use.
Alibaba Cloud and Kubernetes
To facilitate the use of Kubernetes to manage container applications in Alibaba Cloud, Alibaba Cloud Container Service provides support for Kubernetes clusters. Using the application deployment capability of Alibaba Cloud Resource Orchestration Service (ROS), developers can quickly and easily create a universally available and secure Kubernetes cluster in one-click by using ROS templates.
The Kubernetes cluster consolidates Alibaba Cloud’s storage, network, virtualization, and security capabilities to provide high-performance application management that simplifies cluster creation and expansion.
Kubernetes deployed on Alibaba Cloud facilitates deployment, expansion, and management of containerized applications. It also focuses on containerized management and app development. Kubernetes also offers the following features:
- Self-Healing: In the instance of a container fail, Kubernetes allows admins to restart the container, reschedule, and replace it when the nodes are not responding, automating the process. For containers that do not pass the user-defined health check, Kubernetes automatically deletes them promptly and leaves no room for any vulnerability.
- Load Balancing and Service Discovery: Kubernetes allocates containers their own IP addresses and a single DNS name for a set of containers because it ensures smooth load balancing across them. Developers/programmers also don’t need to worry about modifying their application to use an unaccustomed service discovery mechanism.
The Alibaba Cloud Kubernetes service also ensures:
- Elastic expansion and self-reparation
- Service discovery and server load balancing
- Service publication and rollback
- Secrets and configuration management
Why Kubernetes Is the Preferred Tool?
Kubernetes fulfills all the requirements of building large clusters that run complex applications. The use of Kubernetes also ensures the avoidance of infrastructure scalability and rolling upgrades with time. Additionally, it provides admins/developers a framework to establish the rules of interaction among applications.
Kubernetes also offers a uniform platform for application deployment and management by automating some of the key tasks by reducing manual efforts. Kubernetes also reports health and performance to admins, so they can easily consider the downtime and take actions towards it.
I will cover Automation with DevOps-Agile in the next blog. It will describe Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment as the core features of DevOps and how automation is a significant contributor to the entire DevOps model.
The views expressed herein are for reference only and don’t necessarily represent the official views of Alibaba Cloud.