While working for a managed service provider, even in the early days when people started talking about DevOps, Benjamin Brial saw three problems: the difficulty in hiring people with such skills, which persists today; difficulty communicating because both sides are talking differently; and difficulty in working together because their concerns are different.
Lots of frustration because developers keep opening tickets and the ops team is afraid to give developers access to automation for fear that they will break things.
At the same time, he discovered he loved Kubernetes dearly, even if the managed provider’s customers would simply pick up their cloud provider applications without any refactoring.
“When it comes to moving to PaaS (platform as a service), which was an OpenShift at the time, we always see the same situation. They always have a reason [not] continue on Kubernetes, you know: ‘We don’t have people to make applications anymore.’ Or ‘it’s too complicated.’ ‘It’s going to take too long.’ And finally, ‘it works with cloud providers [as it is], ‘even if they pay more. … Because they rise and change. If you don’t refactor, you will pay more than your traditional hosting, ”he said.
“I see that we really need these people to work together, in a better way, in this kind of DevOps world that no one understands. You know, there’s someone working on DevOps and the 99% of the rest of the world doesn’t understand what’s going on. “
Brial, the former Red Hat EMEA cloud manager, created Paris -based Cycloid in 2015, a hybrid cloud management platform to help organizations smooth the path between dev and ops teams and enhance skills in DevOps to the employees they already have.
Addressing Hurdles in DevOps
In Puppet’s 2021 State of DevOps Report, a survey of 2,650 IT, development and information security professionals found that 83% implement DevOps skills, to some degree. However, only 18% of respondents work for organizations with highly modified and automated DevOps processes in place.
In fact, 80% of organizations have not measured DevOps adoption, a number that hasn’t changed in four years. And the biggest barrier to adopting DevOps continues to be more cultural than technical.
Among its findings are that the most modified organizations in Puppet’s DevOps models use a platform model that enables self-service and current automation for developers and curates the developer experience.
Personal Service and Management
The Cyloid platform consists of a service catalog where the DevOps professional determines the infrastructure for the different environments and the management applied to the workloads at those sites. This allows self-service for developers who plan to deploy to those sites, although they don’t have to understand all the small details under those deployments.
Cycloid uses the concept of stacks, which is a way to build and organize your infrastructure as code. You create a generic description of your application that you will use in all projects and environments. This is a type of catalog service where users use only certain parameters that can be configured based on their needs.
Associated with a stack, a config or configuration spells out the details to be used in a particular environment. It uses the LEMP stack example (Linux, NGINX, MySQL, PHP) where the stack outlines all the common elements between all the environments where it will be used, for example, IaC server where you installed Nginx web server and PHP, connected to a database.
A pipeline is basically a stack, describing its workflow, how to create the application and how to automate and orchestrate the deployment of new releases.
Meanwhile, the config The YAML file spells out the details for a particular environment, such as dev, staging, prod, which in the LEMP example can vary with the number and size of servers to be created.
The use of projects can be the same clampbut the config may vary. Stacks and configs are stored as git repositories, whether public or private.
It creates a catalog of options that respond to different needs that can be applied seamlessly across projects and teams to ensure best practice. Its Service Catalog feature offers a selection of stacks created by its community, as well as a place to store reusable resources you’ve created for your team.
It created StackCraft, a WYSIWYG cloud visualization tool that lets you drag and drop your desired cloud configuration and see and interact with abstract resources. Once you’ve got everything to your liking, StackCraft will generate a Terraform infrastructure file as code (IaC) that can be used to create the infrastructure with your cloud provider of choice.
Stackforms gives DevOps engineers and solution architects a way to hide management while giving users self-service options for key environments with customizable HCL or YAML-based widgets. Users simply see what is relevant to their work without having to deal with preset nuts and bolts underneath.
It allows project managers without specific IT manufacturing skills to create and configure IT environments according to management rules predefined by IT: preferred cloud (s), regions , virtual machine type, size, etc.
“By offering a catalog of configurable resources through a one-stop-shop, the CIO provides a way to fully control IT and the associated costs”, concludes Guillaume Renaud of Orange Business Services at JDN.
Strong Open Source Culture
The company has three open sourced projects:
TerraCognita automatically turns existing cloud infrastructures into Terraform code based on community -developed Terraform providers. For now, it works on AWS, GCP and Azure but integrations for Alibaba, VMware and OpenStack are in the works.
This is the basis for Cycloid’s Infra Import tool, an infrastructure-as-code generator that converts manually deployed cloud infrastructure into Terraform files and associated Git modules. Once this is converted, you can create stacks to reuse and implement technology management using Terraform best practices.
InfraView presents the infrastructure in a visual way to help people without special knowledge see different resources and how they relate to each other. It uses tfstate or HCL files to generate a graph specific to each provider, showing only the most relevant resources.
Using a command-line interface, InfraCost uses a Go library to estimate the cost for cloud projects before they go live. It is intended to be imported and used by programs (API or standalone) with access to a database compatible with MySQL and the internet.
Very often IT leaders discover the value of cloud projects when they get in charge. Companies like Harness and Unravel Data have launched cost estimation tools, as well as providers, such as Amazon Web Services ’AWS Cost Explorer.
“With your solution architect or your DevOps, you design your application, and then you’ll probably know how much it costs. But it takes a lot of time, a lot of effort for everyone,” Brial said.
Cycloid uses the service catalog to set costs according to the pattern being deployed, a cost that will change as variables change.
“We want to bring to this world, the ability to have some cost estimates before you deploy the project in a simple way,” he said.
Using Existing Tools
While there are a variety of hybrid cloud management platforms out there, including CloudBolt, Morpheus Data, VMware vRealize and Cisco CloudCenter, Brial said Cycloid’s closest competitors are the do-it-yourself built platforms of companies within. Those require a lot of work and maintenance and generally end in failure, he said.
Customers or potential leads tend to compare Cycloid to GitHub or GitLab, even though Brial says they are not direct competitors. His problem in particular with GitLab is its path towards replacing the tools that companies already use. He insists that won’t work because there’s nothing better than open source. And businesses are increasingly willing to talk about federation-incorporating what they already have.
“Maybe they have [just taken] three years to include Jenkins, in good and bad things with Jenkins. You can’t come in and say, ‘I’m going to replace the Jenkins because I did something better.’ Not allowed. You don’t just close the topic; they do not want to open again, ”he said.
One of its big projects for the next quarter is to develop an inventory manager to be a source of credibility, in terms of what is being used in the cloud provider. That’s not as simple as it sounds, he explains. It also strives to integrate with key IT service managers such as ServiceNow to define workflow and project management.
His 50-year workforce is now completely far away. It also recently opened an office in London.
“We have a strong organization where we believe the traditional top-down no longer works. If you want to have people committed… we’d rather give them power, and work together than have them work for me. And it’s a big difference, I believe, [but] challenge din yan, ”he said.
Its customers include Orange Business Services, Swiss hospitality service provider Hotel Spider, and global Atlassian consultancy Valiantys.
“With over 120,000 virtual machines under management, 2,400 DevOps expert books, and 70 data centers in five locations, our situation is a delicate, time-consuming puzzle,” explains Pierre-Emmanuel Klotz, head of managed services at Orange Business Services. .
“Cycloid acts as a foundation for all of our tools, bringing visibility to show us things we didn’t know before, and the frameworks to make the most of things we didn’t master before. With Cycloid, we can move four times faster across projects and accommodate existing tools, or any tool our customers want to use, instead of forcing them to adapt to a new set of tools, standards and solution. “