Elephant Seal Vista Point, San Simeon CA — Lawrence Manickam

Choosing the Right Vendor for DevOps — Kuberiter

DevOps = Cloud + Containers

DevOps mandates applications to have agility, speed to market and consistent deployment patterns in the application release management pipeline.

There are many companies like Kuberiter today to provide DevOps services to customers. The terminologies are redefined once again.

Examples:

The term ‘On-Premise’ may be your own Public Cloud environment space. It is not necessarily a data center building/room that you enter by swiping your badge.

The term ‘Managed Services’ doesn’t mean a physical device management by the vendor. It can also be a Software Repository because Infrastructure is code in DevOps.

It is important to evaluate several vendors, understand their terminologies and choose the right fit for your DevOps Road map.

Selection Point 1: Vision

A specific organizational skill should be observed in candidates when interviewing them. How closely they are related to the Organization (Project) Vision? An EA was interviewed for a client project once and he possessed right technical skill sets. He was rejected. The hiring manager asked me to give an explanation. This was my answer ‘He doesn’t believe in our vision therefore he is not suitable’.

The same is applicable for the DevOps vendor selection process. Does the vendor understand your vision and commit to follow? It is essential to fine tune the DevOps vision and mandate in every possible way before you sign the contract.

Selection Point 2: Bring your Base Product

50% of DevOps pipeline configuration work is common across organizations. Fundamentals are the same.

Examples: Integration of Git, Artifactory, Build tool and Public Cloud.

Learn to ask the hard questions. It’s a red flag if a vendor says that they have to develop your DevOps toolchain from the basics. The procurement process of an organization should mandate the DevOps vendor to bring the base product that fulfill the minimum criteria.

How fast the vendor can develop the remaining 50% of your unique DevOps toolchain requirements? How to measure and monitor the progress of that utility development while working to develop and deploy the applications in Production?

Selection Point 3: Cloud Native

The vendor must support the ‘Cloud Native’ version of DevOps toolchain products.

Few vendors provides their own Kubernetes distribution to make the DevOps process efficient and they may have right reasons for it. However, it locks your environment with their software distribution. The customized Kubernetes software may stop you from progressing further when it comes to other tool integration, introducing new features and affect the ‘Speed to Market’ concept of DevOps.

Ensure the vendor product suite adheres to the CNCF (Cloud Native Computing Foundation) standards without any modifications then you are good to go.

Selection Point 4: MultiCloud

Organizations are moving towards MultiCloud rapidly in 2018. I expect more Organizations will have one form of MultiCloud implementation for their business in 2019 and beyond.

A DevOps vendor must support MultiCloud.

The application pieces spread across multiple clouds in the form of Microservices so the DevOps toolchain. There is no need to have a separate DevOps pipeline for each Cloud and it may make things worse. Especially for CI/CD, they have to come with minimum two choices such as Jenkins and Spinnaker. It will enable the organization DevOps practice to have fail over, introduce new features and also integrate the deployment with Cloud provider CI/CD (Example: GCP uses Spinnaker).

Selection Point 5: Image Management

Containers have become the default standard of DevOps. It is no longer a Jenkins/Maven combination. Image Management is the key (I can write a separate article for Image Management).

MultiCloud, Hybrid Cloud and Federated Kubernetes Clusters increases the Containers traffic in the network that makes I/O expensive. It also poses security risks, poor management of application versions and abandoned containers.

Does the vendor have private registry that support MultiCloud? Do they provide an utility that copies containers across Clouds, Availability Zones and Regions? Does the product have Container Caching and a service catalog that have vetted containers to support your business?

Selection Point 6: Operations Management

IT Operations is not just about managing Production Systems with those P1 tickets. In the DevOps toolchain, availability is the key factor for all services. For example, an hour failure of your Jenkins service affects the productivity of several developers and further delay your application deployments.

The vendor must have a fail over strategies built into their product offerings. For example, Kuberiter supports Jenkins UI sits behind a load balancer with shared elastic file system. The failure of one Jenkins node doesn’t affect the application build process of our customers.

Does the vendor product monitor the availability of the DevOps toolchain OR have add-ons to connect with your existing monitoring system? Does it send alerts to your email or IM systems such as Slack? Do they provide a metrics and monitoring dashboard?

Repository Integration API’s must be the key component of any vendor DevOps product. More than ever before, organizations uses Git based repositories, Artifactories, Cloud Storage (Example: S3 Bucket) with their DevOps toolchain. Does the vendor support all major repository integration API’s?

Deployment Management have become sophisticated in Kubernetes and Cloud world. Especially deployment models such as Canary Deployment, Rolling Updates and Blue-Green deployments are frequently used to provide 99.9% up-time.

Does the vendor automate the above deployment methodologies? Do they have package management system such as Helm Chart to make the deployment experience better?

Selection Point 7: Roadmap

Today’s challenge for companies is resources shortage. The unemployment rate is low and employers are forced to innovate new methods and strategies to hire and retain the resources.

A DevOps vendor must have a clear Roadmap for their product line that support your business. It’s a red flag when a vendor asks why you don’t use Docker Swarm instead of Kubernetes. Meaning, they may have difficulties in giving continuous Kubernetes support if signed the contract.

Does it have a clear plan to support the evolving DevOps ecosystem? Does it have the resources to deliver? How stable the Roadmap is in terms of timelines, product suitability and new features addition?

Kuberiter fulfills all the above. Our product suite has a clear Roadmap to support the evolving ecosystem.

Kuberiter’s strengths are rapid development and price (No vendor can beat our price).

We are not bureaucratic. Just me and few excellent developers to observe customer orders and deliver as promised. I can also provide a dedicated resource with a backup for major accounts behind our SaaS model.

I put together a comparison chart for few DevOps vendors including us. This chart may have 10–15% data errors since we don’t find time to look at all features or our trial account is restricted to their sand box environment or differences in terminology usage.

I’m open to update any inaccurate data in the chart if I hear back from any vendor representative.

Lawrence Manickam is the Technical Founder of Kuberiter Inc, a Seattle based Start-up that provide JDK Services (Jenkins as a Service, Docker as a Service and Kubernetes as a Service) for MultiCloud.

Please subscribe at www.kuberiter.com to try our DevOps SaaS Services.