View All Videos

Deployment management design patterns for DevOps

24

Alex Honor / 

If you are an application developer you are probably accustomed to drawing from established design patterns. A system of design pattern can play the role of a playbook offering solutions based on combining complimentary approaches. Awareness of design anti-patterns can also be helpful in avoiding future problems arising from typical pitfalls. Ideally, design patterns can be composed together to form new solutions. Patterns can also provide an effective vocabulary for architects, developers and administrators to discuss problems and weigh possible solutions.

It’s a topic I have discussed before, but what happens once the application code is completed and must run in integrated operational environments? For companies that run their business over the web, the act of deploying, configuring, and operating applications is arguably as important as writing the software itself. If an organization cannot efficiently and reliably deploy and operate the software, it won’t matter how good the application software is.

But where are the design patterns embodying best practices for managing software operations? Where is the catalog of design patterns for managing software deployments? What is needed is a set of design patterns for managing the operation of a software system in the large. Design patterns like these would be useful to those that automate any of these tasks and will facilitate those tools developers who have adopted the “infrastructure as code” philosophy.

So what are typical design problems in the world of software operation?

The challenges faced by software operations groups include:

  • Application deployments are complex: they are based on technologies from different vendors, are spread out over numerous machines in multiple environments, use different architectures, arranged in different topologies.
  • Management interfaces are inconsistent: every application component and supporting piece of infrastructure has a different way of being managed. This includes both how components are controlled and how they are configured.
  • Administrative management is hard to scale: As the layers of software components increase, so does the difficulty to coordinate actions across them. This is especially difficult when the same application can be setup to run in a minimal footprint while another can be designed to support massive load.
  • Infrastructure size differences: Software deployments must run in different sized environments. Infrastructure used for early integration testing is smaller than those supporting production. Infrastructure based on virtualization platforms also introduces the possibility of environments that can be re-scaled based on capacity needs.

Facing these challenges first hand, I have evolved a set of deployment management design patterns using a “divide and conquer” strategy. This strategy helps identify minimal domain-specific solutions (i.e., the patterns) and how to combine them in different contexts (i.e., using the patterns systematically). The set of design patterns also include anti-patterns. I call the system of design patterns “PAGODA”. The name is really not important but as an acronym it can mean:

  • PAtterns GOod-for Deployment Administration
  • PAckaGe-Oriented Deployment Administration
  • Patterns for Application and General Operation for Deployment Administrators
  • Patterns for Applications, Operations, and Deployment Administration

Pagoda as an acronym might be a bit of a stretch but the image of a pagoda just strikes me a as a picture of how the set of patterns can be combined to form a layered structure.

 

Here is a diagram of the set of design patterns arranged by how they interrelate.

 

The diagram style is inspired by a great reference book, Release It. You can see the anti patterns are colored red while the design patterns that mitigate them are in green.

Here is a brief description of each design pattern:

Pattern Description Mitigates Alternative names
Command Dispatcher A mechanism used to lookup and execute logically organized named procedures within a data context permitting environment abstraction within the implementations. Too Many Tools Command Framework
Lifecycle A formalized series of operational stages through which resources comprising application software systems must pass. Control Hairball Alternative names
Orchestrator Encapsulates a multi-step activity that spans a set of administrative steps and or other process workflows. Control Hairball, Too Many Cooks Process Workflow, Control Mediator,
Composable Service A set of independent deployments that can assembled together to support new patterns of integrated software systems. Monolithic Environment Composable Deployments
Adaptive Deployment Practice of using an environment-independent abstraction along with a set of template-based automation, that customizes software and configuration at deployment time. Control Hairball, Configuration Bird Nest, Unmet Integration Environment Adaption
Code-Data Split Practice of separating the executable files (the product) away from the environment-specific deployment files, such as configuration and data files that facilitates product upgrade and co-resident deployments. Service Monolith Software-Instance Split
Packaged Artifact A structured archive of files used for distributing any software release during the deployment process. Adhoc Release Alternative names

The anti-patterns might be more interesting since they represent practices that have definite disadvantages:

Anti-Pattern Description Mitigates Alternative names
Too Many Tools Each technology and process activity needs its own tool, resulting in a multitude of syntaxes and semantics that must each be understood by the operator, and makes automation across them difficult to achieve. Command Dispatcher Tool Mishmash, Heterogeneous interfaces
Too Many Cooks A common infrastructure must be maintained by various disciplines but each use their own tools to affect change increasing chances for conflicts and overall negative effects. Control Mediator Unmediated Action
Control Hairball A process that spans activities that occur across various tools and locations in the network, is implemented in a single piece of code for convenience but turns out to be very inflexible, opaque and hard to maintain and modify. Control Mediator, Adaptive Deployment, Workflow  
Configuration Bird Nest A network of circuitous indirections used to manage configuration and seem to intertwine like a labyrinth of straw in a bird nest. People often construct a bird nest in order to provide a consistent location for an external dependency. Environment Adaptation  
Service Monolith Complex integrated software systems end up being maintained as a single opaque mass with no-one understanding entirely how it was put together, or what elements it is comprised, and how they interact. Code-Data Split, Composable Service House Of Cards, Monolithic Environment
Adhoc Release The lack of standard practice and distribution mechanisms for releasing application changes. Packaged Artifact  

 

Of course, this isn’t the absolute set of deployment management patterns. No doubt you might have discovered and developed your own. It is useful to identify and catalog them so they can be shared with others that will face scenarios already examined and resolved. Perhaps this set offered here will spurn a greater effort.

 

 

24 Responses

  1. Will says:

    First, great read :) This will prove tangibly useful in my future endeavors. With that said, scanning the table was a little bit difficult because of how the Pattern/Anti-Pattern column is vertically centered in each cell. I only say this because I know it’s something I’ll be referencing many times in the future and it kind of plays tricks on my eyes.

  2. Adrian Howchin says:

    Love the article, it’s a great idea. Any chance of fleshing it out with how you personally use the patterns in real life? (e.g. on a consulting job)

  3. Alex Honor says:

    I would like to expand on each of the patterns, perhaps place them each in their own document or post. Really needs links between them too.

    Use case examples is next on list !

  4. JC Martin says:

    I would suggest an approach similar to http://www.opensecurityarchitecture.org/cms/
    I have started something of that sort for configuration management which is related to to work you describe here. If there is some interest, maybe it’s worth the effort to start a similar repository for this domain. I know that a previous effort on openmanagement.org failed, so … I don’t know if there is much community interest in this domain.

  5. Alex Honor says:

    JC Martin, the http://www.opensecurityarchitecture.org/cms/ approach and site look great. I’ve decided to move the design pattern stuff to a new Google Code project called "devops-toolchain".
    It’s too bad the openmanagement.org effort failed. Not sure how much input I’ll get on the design pattern approach to documenting what is essentially advice and observations. It’s been valuable in my day to day work so there’s something there. Let me know if you are interested in contributing.

  6. Jp says:

    I wanted to thank you for this great read!!

  7. recorder says:

    Totally agree!!A design pattern is not a finished design that can be transformed directly into code. It is a description or template for how to solve a problem that can be used in many different situations. Object-oriented design patterns typically show relationships and interactions between classes or objects, without specifying the final application classes or objects that are involved. Many patterns imply object-orientation or more generally mutable state

  8. Dan Erickson says:

    Your image links appear to be broken. Let me know if you get those fixed. Thanks.

  9. * Keep olive oil in a spray bottle to a lightly coat saut. constipation when my niece asked me to keep her infant daughter while she. Foods to increase sperm count also include raw sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.

  10. SoonHibbsg says:

    Much like people will find lots of medical processes to take off warts, individuals will find a lot of natural processes. These warts are fortunately not contracted through blood, only through skin to skin contact. Like most other warts these are quite hard with an uneven scratchy surface. Warts are caused by a viral infection called Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and a contagious skin disease.

  11. Every weekend i used to pay a quick visit this web page, because i wish for enjoyment, for the reason that this this web site conations truly good funny material too.

  12. ShavonnL06 says:

    Having read this I believed it was very enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this article together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

  13. Also, when you’ve got certain diseases or ailments, corresponding to Lupus, Hyper or Hypo Thyroidism, you’ll be way more predisposed to experiencing premature hair loss and hair thinning, no matter your intercourse.

  14. Take pleasure in in terms of such first-rate include with all the current remember to consider, We have been totally significant! Shield firearms like an pretty intending going back.

  15. EnidBourne says:

    Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it’s truly informative. I’m gonna watch out for brussels. I will be grateful if you continue this in future. Numerous people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  16. TyrellAKDS says:

    If you would like to obtain a good deal from this article then you have to apply such techniques to your won web site.

  17. What’s up to all, how is all, I think every one is getting more from this website, and your views are good for new users.

  18. adore it! really interesting subject areas, I hope the particular inbound feedback and tip are generally similarly positive. Appreciate it regarding discussing facts that may be actually helpful.

  19. Not only does this AAA Five-Diamond resort offer world-class service, you will also find amazing views of the Valley and temperatures typically ten degrees cooler than in the Valley floor below. The Temet Grill has received accolades from several dining associations for its innovative selections such as the dark ale braised tender beef tips, the Australian rack of lamb, or flashed salmon brown sugar mustard rub. Not only will planting the garden together be memorable, but every time she gathers ingredients from the garden she will be reminded of the time spent together as a family.

  20. BoyceMauer says:

    Once your diagnosis is confirmed via your doctor, chances are they will prescribe to you antibiotics. Women tend to get them simply because their urethra is smaller which enables germs to travel into the bladder more quickly. In short – they are very, very safe to give your dog.

  21. The collar bones and ribcage rotates like a rotisserie to bend the upper back forward. Believe me, this technique really works and gives you very fast results. Do you frequently feel a tight and burning sensation at yourshoulderwhenever you click on the mouse.

  22. ChassidMenge says:

    Everything that is illegal, we’ll shoot in blurred images. Research: If you anticipate individuals seeking for your organization or merchandise by heading to an Web search engine, assume about the search terms they would most most likely enter. He again, unconsciously, fantasizes that he can regain a connection with an idealized “other” who represents the all-powerful yet feared and often despised maternal object.

  23. The experiment has been such a success yes, the different castes are living happily side by side that the colony has become a model for other districts in Tamil Nadu. A person will locate it hard being assured with out the positive input and support from other folks. Some of the services provided by Workforce Solutions Alamo include:.

Post a new comment