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Infrastructure as Code: Delivery pipeline and configuration management


20160711_14_3PAR_WALKING_B_0090_60.jpgBy guest bloggers Ingolf Buttig, HPE, and Eric J. Bruno, TBT

With traditional enterprise software deployment, software bugs aren’t the only concern. You need to focus on everything that can go wrong, including servers, network connectivity, operating systems and environment settings, storage solutions, and potential compatibility issues across the board. All of these moving parts represent different IT standards that are difficult to maintain across the different environments used in the development cycle. The infrastructure-as-code approach promises to fix all of this, and HPE Synergy in particular delivers on this promise.

Infrastructure as Code: An Industry View

Infrastructure as code is the practice of managing infrastructure as if it were software code. By replacing endless hardware configurations, an IT team is able to significantly reduce compatibility issues, upgrades, and test cycles. Using code, developers and IT staff work together to guarantee compatibility, performance, and reliability for all environments--from development through production. This IT shift delivers not only cost reduction, but also increased speed, improved execution, risk management, and mitigation through security enhancements.

However, infrastructure as code often requires a cultural shift in many different ways:

— Declarative: Define your IT needs as code, accessible via a standard API
— Functional: Restructure your IT, network, and development teams to combine their efforts and jointly work on deployment pipelines
 Procedural: Leverage tools and automation without wasting and duplicating effort
— Intelligent provisioning: Start with predefined templates and pre-integrated solution stacks

In addition to the added agility and reliability infrastructure as code offers your IT staff, both customers and partners who use it also gain value. This value includes application performance enhancements based on optimized compute, network, and storage performance. More importantly, it also includes enhancements to organization performance, helping to meet growing customer demand more rapidly.

Infrastructure-as-Code with HPE Synergy

HPE Synergy, the industry’s first instantiation of composable infrastructure, uses a layered approach to assemble infrastructure solutions. First, you manage and provision compute modules, storage, connectivity, and other data center resources in a unified way—via code. Second, HPE Synergy supports the integration of third-party and open-source tools, either preconfigured with the system, or customized to your specific tools and needs. For example, HPE Synergy, powered by HPE OneView, provides predefined and repeatable server profile templates with specifics for deploying infrastructure, so you don’t need to start from scratch each time.

These templates begin at the lowest levels and include hardware, firmware, BIOS, a variety of operating systems, environment settings, storage configurations, network configurations, and tools integration. The data for all of these templates is stored in the HPE OneView environment with REST API access for a customizable infrastructure-as-code solution.

Deployment on HPE Synergy

HPE Synergy supports multiple application approaches simultaneously, including legacy application deployment, native application deployment on bare metal, cloud-based virtual machine deployment, and any combination thereof. With its unified API, you use code to abstract every element of infrastructure—including bare metal support—with total programmability from the bottom up.

For legacy and native applications, the focus is typically on the lowest levels of infrastructure. HPE Synergy supports this through code to enable complete automation directly against the hardware. With cloud-based applications, however, HPE Synergy supports template-based deployments, publicly available code for integration into automation frameworks on GitHub, and cloud frameworks such as OpenStack. Regardless, the HPE Synergy provisioning process is straightforward: IT receives the request, chooses a profile based on a defined template, assigns it to the hardware, and initiates the overall provisioning process including bare-metal, operating system and virtualization software setup using an automated process.

Before HPE Synergy, traditional practice included a lot of scripting in multiple languages, with hard-coded knowledge of server details, operating specifics, rigid network setup, storage configuration, and limited tools support. Typically, these traditional IT solutions involved ad-hoc deployments, manual processes and documentation, and single-purpose scripts making them hard to maintain and manage over time. The power of HPE Synergy’s unified API results in one set of scripts, using the language of your choice, for a single delivery pipeline regardless of application type, with plug-ins to integrate standard and custom tools.

For example, you can use popular tools such as Chef and Puppet, combined with predefined HPE Synergy templates to form a repeatable deployment process. Unlike traditional IT or other solutions, with HPE Synergy, you specify the entire hardware and application software configuration as code.

Template-based Provisioning and Self-Service Drive Delivery Pipelines

Automating the provisioning and deployment process for your applications and services can be a huge effort on your own. With HPE Synergy, the automated processes are already built in. Configuration management tools, including HPE Synergy Image Streamer and HPE Synergy Composer, each contain adapters and plugins to integrate with every infrastructure component.

Template-driven profiles save time not only for provisioning and workload composition, but also through self-service deployments, full stack build-outs, and environment tear-downs when no longer needed.

With HPE Synergy, you no longer need to deal with the details of IT infrastructure. Infrastructure as code provides a way to separate the virtual world of applications from the underlying resources, including cloud.

HPE Synergy Powers the Agile Economy

HPE Synergy offers a complete software-defined data center solution for both legacy and modern, cloud-based solutions, merging decades of experience in traditional IT with a modern infrastructure as code solution. HPE’s focus on integration, tools, and processes enables a modern approach to infrastructure composition to satisfy both line of business (LOB) owners and IT.

To learn more about the infrastructure-as-code approach and HPE Synergy, visit: “IDC: Making the case for composable infrastructure”

Ingolf and Eric

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