Newsletter: Spring 2020

Posted by Sean O'Shaughnessey on Mar 3, 2020 9:15:00 AM
Sean O'Shaughnessey
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Spring is about to come! In much of the country, it has been a mild winter, but most of us are ready for a bit more warmth and a bit more sunshine. Don’t worry, there still might be time to hit the ski slopes though before you put on your swimsuit and sandals.

New Pricing

We are excited to announce that we have re-worked our pricing to make it more accessible to more companies. In fact, we have introduced a FREE offering so that small companies or single departments can implement Infrastructure as Code without spending any budget dollars! You can check out our incredibly aggressive pricing at https://www.agilestacks.com/pricing. We have now eliminated any reason for you to jump in and start using Agile Stacks SuperHub, the most complete Kubernetes ecosystem management platform on the market.

The Day 90 problem - extending Kubernetes throughout the enterprise

Agile Stacks continues to innovate on ways that we can help you manage the growing complexity of the Kubernetes ecosystem. Later in this newsletter, we cite a few articles that discuss the challenges of scaling up your Kubernetes deployment. We refer to this problem as the Day 90 problem of Kubernetes.

It has become easier to deploy Kubernetes into your environment. Most companies will then put a “tiger team” of developers and operations people together to work out some of the issues with the first couple deployments and solve the Day 0, Day 1, and Day 2 problems with Kubernetes adoption. After those early few implementations, companies are starting to hit brick walls. The challenge isn’t with Day 0, 1, or 2, where everyone has a lot of assistance and patience; the challenge is Day 90 where now you want to deploy a Kubernetes-based ecosystem to many development teams. With the increased usage, companies start to hit the complexity of this powerful tool.

Agile Stacks helps with that Day 90 problem. We can help ease the transition to a DevOps or GitOps process that allows you to treat your Infrastructure as Code. There are several resources later in this newsletter for you to explore or you can simply reply to this email and we will help you.

Making Developers More Productive

Until recently, developer experience with Kubernetes was still too complicated, and that complexity contributes to the Day 90 that we referred to above. In addition to configuring Kubernetes, there are many questions that don’t have a simple answer: 

  • How do I develop my code locally using Infrastructure as Code?
  • How do I test my code against a flexible and responsive architecture?
  • How do I efficiently debug my code? 

To address these challenges, Agile Stacks has created developer workflow automation best practices based on Skaffold, Hub CLI, VS Code, and Harbor. We have developed a tutorial to walk you through this process and teach you how to work faster. Please step through our “Developer Workflow on Kubernetes - Local Development with Skaffold” tutorial at https://docs.agilestacks.com/article/4b2q2dcof9-development-workflow-on-kubernetes-with-skaffold.

We hope that you enjoy this newsletter. Please make sure you scroll to the bottom to read the comments from John Morada, our Vice President of Marketing.

 
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Ad firm gets Kubernetes management boost from Agile Stacks - Beth Pariseau via TechTarget

With a small staff of engineers responsible for all of IT, a digital advertising firm needed help to smooth out the learning curve as it migrated from Mesosphere to Kubernetes.

A digital advertising firm found a balance between the ease of a fully managed service and the control of consultative enterprise support in a Kubernetes management startup as it moved away from Mesosphere two years ago.

Instead, Ferguson met the CTO of a startup, Agile Stacks, at a San Diego industry group, and decided to become an early adopter of the firm's software and services for Kubernetes management and DevOps pipeline integration with the container platform, despite the fact that the company and product were in their early stages.

"There is more to Agile Stacks than just being Kubernetes experts," Ferguson said. "They also are DevOps experts, so they can support us in building our apps, our pipeline, our build tooling, to deploy properly into that environment."

As Zeeto moved from Mesosphere to Kubernetes on AWS, Agile Stacks provided some prepackaged scripts for deploying containerized apps onto the container platform via Jenkins, connected with HashiCorp Vault for secrets management, and used Terraform and AWS CloudFormation for infrastructure as code (IaC) deployment. Agile Stacks also provides monitoring software and services along with managed upgrades for Kubernetes, but its support went beyond a typical Kubernetes managed service, as it also consulted on issues outside the container platform.

For example, Agile Stacks engineers and scripts helped Zeeto deploy the Istio service mesh and troubleshoot its notoriously finicky setup for blue/green and canary application deployments. The company also helped Zeeto resolve complicated root cause analysis for a compatibility problem between MongoDB, Kubernetes and AWS Linux nodes that caused MongoDB to lose connectivity to Zeeto's apps every few days. Finally, Agile Stacks helped set up Zeeto's Kubernetes environment on AWS Spot Instances, instead of Reserved and On-Demand Instances, which cut cloud infrastructure costs. Continue reading

Introducing AgileStacks to Your Cluster

While AgileStacks can deploy Kubernetes clusters into the cloud provider of your choice, sometimes all you need is the Stack management without the cluster deployment. AgileStacks can manage any Kubernetes cluster that is version 1.11 or newer.

In this tutorial, we explain how to:

    • Import an Amazon EKS Cluster 
    • Import a Microsoft Azure AKS Cluster
    • Import a Google GCP Cluster
    • Import a Vanilla Kubernetes Cluster

Continue reading

A Case Study: With Kubernetes, the sum is greater than the parts for Zeeto.io

When it comes to automating a deployment pipeline, Agile Stacks delivers. Just ask Matt Ferguson, the CTO of Zeeto.io. The powerful combination of AWS services and native Kubernetes gave Matt and his team the assurances of running enterprise AI workloads to meet Zeeto’s growing customer needs. 

Zeeto chose to implement Kubernetes with Agile Stacks and was impressed with the results. Infrastructure as code made it easier to automate, reduced human error and configured infrastructure more quickly and effectively. Auto-scaling improved efficiency and ensured that Zeeto was only using the resources they actually needed when they needed it. Continue reading

When to go big with a Kubernetes cluster(?) | Part 1

In this three-blog series, let's figure out the strategic preparation and tactical automation that you need. We understand Kubernetes is powerful yet it takes some effort to get there. You need to start by answering three big questions from your management:

    1. So what's the point of all this?
    2. How much is this going to cost?
    3. How are we going to have to change?

Continue reading

Infrastructure Workflow - Creating Stack Templates

Stack Templates are the cornerstone of reproducible and composable stacks (clusters). You can learn more about the principal parts of the AgileStacks' system here. Stack templates are automatically generated and saved in Git repository, allowing you to manage, configure, and implement change control for your infrastructure as code.

In this short tutorial, we'll walk you through the Stack Template creation and deployment process. Continue reading

Infrastructure Workflow - Deploy Kubernetes with Hub CLI

Hub CLI is a powerful and easy to use tool for infrastructure automation. It is also an interface to SuperHub (API). SuperHub is an infrastructure automation service to deploy and manage software stacks - in the cloud and on-prem. You can manage, configure, and implement change control for your infrastructure-as-code using the SuperHub.

In this tutorial, you are going to deploy a Kubernetes cluster on AWS using Spot instances and cluster autoscaling for cost optimization. The cluster will be integrated with DNS, TLS via Let's Encrypt, and SSO via Okta. Continue reading

 
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Container Security Concerns Impacting Deployments - Sagar Nangare via Container Journal

The primary benefits of Kubernetes cited by survey respondents are faster application development and deployments (39%), application stability (32%) and environmental portability (19%). In fact, 29% of respondents said that more than 50% of their applications are already containerized. It’s not clear how much or even whether a lack of expertise is holding back Kubernetes' adoption. One-third (33%) of respondents cited internal skills shortage and a steep learning curve (28%) as the two biggest inhibitors of Kubernetes adoption within their organization. Continue reading

Agile Stacks thoughts: With Agile Stacks SuperHub we help companies overcome the complexity and the skills shortage of managing Kubernetes and allowing companies take advantage of those benefits such as faster application development, deployment, stability, and portability. 

Kubernetes Security Plagued by Human Error, Misconfigs - Sydney Sawaya via SDxCentral

Sixty-one percent of respondents cited misconfigurations as the source of risk they’re most concerned about ....With the prevalence of misconfigurations across organizations, security must shift left to be embedded into DevOps workflows instead of ‘bolted on’ when the application is about to be deployed into production....However, if security concerns continue inhibiting business innovation, does that fall on businesses for neglecting security practices or the market for not providing them with the tools to confidently secure their deployments? Continue reading

Agile Stacks thoughts: We understand this issue and it is why we believe that automation is the key to success. By treating your Kubernetes ecosystem as a "stack" and automating its management, Agile Stacks SuperHub dramatically reduces the chance of misconfiguration mistakes that open companies up to security vulnerabilities.

Five Surprising Ways Enterprises Are Putting Kubernetes To Work - Murli Thirumale via Forbes

About five years have passed since Google handed over control of Kubernetes, its open-source container management platform, to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. Since then, Kubernetes has quickly become the leading container orchestration solution on the market. A 2019 survey ... revealed 87% of respondents were running applications in containers, with nearly 90% of them running them in production.

Here are five surprising ways enterprises are leveraging Kubernetes and providing insight as to how the platform might evolve in the near future.

    1. On-prem use as well as the cloud
    2. Deploying stateful apps as easily as stateless apps
    3. Full control over app lifecycle management
    4. A new control plane for infrastructure (in the data center and cloud)
    5. A rapid enabler for AI

Continue reading

Agile Stacks thoughts: We have understood since our founding that Kubernetes was going to revolutionize the way applications were built, deployed, and managed. We created SuperHub to help companies simplify the complexity of Kubernetes and especially the Kubernetes ecosystem.

Algorithmia: 50% of companies spend between 8 and 90 days deploying a single AI model - Kyle Wiggers via VentureBeat

Moving models into production remains a challenge for most organizations, according to Algorithmia. At least 20% of companies of all sizes say their data scientists spend a quarter of their time deploying models, owing to pervasive scaling blockers like sourcing the hardware, data, and tools and performing the necessary optimizations. Versioning and reproducibility of models — which affect key processes like pipelining, model retraining, and evaluation — is yet another tall order for many. Continue reading

Agile Stacks thoughts: It is unfortunate that so many companies are being bogged down with deploying AI models. Agile Stacks SuperHub helps eliminate this time bog by rapidly deploying the stack of tools needed to easily run an AI model on a Kubernetes deployment. The lesson learned here is that by using our SuperHub, data scientists can move faster and spend time adding value to their companies.

Kubernetes Container Management Is Not Application Management - Kevin Crawley via Container Journal

Container “management” is missing two major aspects of delivering applications that meet service requirements. The first gap is performance management; specifically, performance monitoring of the services running in Kubernetes. The second is a lack of understanding of how a specific set of services, hosts, deployments, and pods contribute toward the overall composition of a specific application. There’s a little chicken-and-egg problem there, but the salient point is that the orchestration system manages resources across containers—not applications and not application performance.

Orchestration certainly makes containers more malleable and enterprise-ready, but without visibility into application performance, service owners can’t prove (or even know) how well the application is actually servicing customer needs. To answer that question, the operations, DevOps, and/or development teams must have a way to tie application performance directly to Kubernetes (and Kubernetes orchestrated applications). Continue reading

Agile Stacks thoughts: We agree with the author. We believe that this is why you need to manage your Kubernetes ecosystem as a "stack" so that you can begin to get the value and benefit of understanding your Kubernetes and application deployments.

 
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Linux Foundation member summit 20

 

The Linux Foundation Member Summit
March 10 - 12, 2020 in Lake Tahoe, California

The Linux Foundation Member Summit (formerly Open Source Leadership Summit) is the annual gathering for Linux Foundation member organizations. More info

KubeCon EU20

 

KubeCon and CloudNativeCon Europe 2020
March 30 - April 2, 2020 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s flagship conference gathers adopters and technologists from leading open source and cloud native communities in Amsterdam, The Netherlands from March 30 – April 2, 2020. More info

Google Cloud Next

 

Google Cloud Next '20
April 6 - 8, 2020 in San Francisco, California

Bringing together some of the brightest minds in tech for 3 days of networking, learning, and collaboration. Experience the magic of Google Cloud Next alongside IT professionals, developers, executives, and Google experts. More info

Red hat summit
Red Hat Summit
April 27 - 29, 2020 in San Francisco, California

Open source means choice, and your choices reveal many possible paths. Wherever you want to go, Red Hat® Summit can show you the way. More info

Ingram micro cloud summit

 

Ingram Micro Cloud Summit 2020
May 12 - 14, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida

By helping you plug into The Power of More, Ingram Micro Cloud Summit 2020 is designed to give you more of everything you need to achieve success in cloud and beyond. More info

Gartner summit

 

Gartner Enterprise Architecture & Technology Innovation Summit
May 18 - 19, 2020 in Orlando, Florida

As digital transformation unfolds, enterprise architects and technology innovation leaders must pinpoint the business areas in which today’s rapidly changing technologies can deliver new value now and tomorrow. More info

Glue Con

 

GlueCon 2020
May 20 - 21, 2020, in Broomfield, Colorado

GlueCon is a developer-oriented conference focused on providing the latest in-depth technical information, presented in a format that fosters community. More info

agile devops west

 

Agile + DevOps West
June 7 - 12, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Agile + DevOps West brings together practitioners seeking to accelerate the delivery of reliable, secure software applications. Find out how the practice of agile & DevOps brings cross-functional stakeholders together to deliver software with greater speed and agility while meeting quality and security demands. More Info

DockerCon20

 

DockerCon 2020
June 15 - 18, 2020 in Austin, Texas

DockerCon 2020 is a 3 day technology conference, where customers and community come to learn, share and connect with each other. Level up your skills and go home inspired and ready to invest and implement your containerization strategies. More info

linux open source summit

 

The Linux Foundation Open Source Summit North America
June 22 - 24, 2020 in Austin, Texas

Open Source Summit North America (OSS NA) is the leading conference for developers, architects, and other technologists – as well as open source community and industry leaders – to collaborate, share information, learn about the latest technologies and gain a competitive advantage by using innovative open solutions. More info

hpe discover 2020

 

HPE Discover 2020
June 23 - 25, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Three inspirational days of excitement and insights to advance your enterprise. Experience hands-on demos, empowering sessions, networking opportunities and expert breakouts about our most advanced Edge-to-Cloud, AI and Security developments. Come for the insights and connections of HPE Discover 2020, stay for the energy and fun of Las Vegas. More info

Oreilly AI con

 

O'Reilly Artificial Intelligence Conference
September 14 - 17, 2020 in New York, New York

Organizations that successfully apply AI tools and strategies compete more effectively. Make plans to join us at the O'Reilly AI Conference and chart your business transformation. More info

interop 2020

 

Interop
September 21 - 24, 2020 in Austin, Texas

Interop is more than a conference; at its heart is a like-minded community of IT practitioners and advocates who are passionate about helping their peers and fostering the next generation of technologists. More info

KubeCon na 2020

 

KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2020
November 17 - 20, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts

More info to come

 
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John_Morada(masked)

Kubernetes will be six years old this summer. It is amazing how we went from open source alpha to a stable release in five years. To put it in perspective, Java went from a 3-person project in 1991 to a 1.0 release in 1996. And the impact Java has on software engineering in unfathomable. Our reflection (and in some cases, an inflection) on how Kubernetes will be a game changer is very much the same. In these six short years, our industry has come a long way, yet teams still struggle.

Being simple. Building it fast. Or making it easy aren't in the current virtues of Kubernetes. But that's fine in the software maturity curve since we all know it can only get better from here. Think about the first time you had to install a 1.0 JDK. It wasn't really even stable until 1.0.2.

A recent survey points out the issues of security, upgrades, and Kubernetes' complexity are rising to the top as organizations try to migrate to a complete Kubernetes infrastructure (https://diamanti.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Diamanti_2019_Container_Survey.pdf).

This year, survey respondents continue to cite infrastructure integration (26 percent) and deployment (21 percent) among their most significant challenges. Getting a container environment up and working with the infrastructure you already have requires substantial expertise.

Management complexity is the top challenge in adoption, with almost a third of the respondents. The container environment is new to most teams in the mid-market. Enterprises have been on the container bandwagon a while now but their size makes implementation a challenge. Compounding these challenges is the pace of technological change. Technologies are evolving quickly, while the management tools, aside from Agile Stacks SuperHub, are relatively immature.

To underscore this complexity, the famous CNCF Cloud Native Landscape (https://landscape.cncf.io/) now contains 1,338 technologies with a market cap of $15.6T and funding of $68.52B.

All of this complexity makes it more challenging to address what we call the Day 90 problem that we explained in our opening comments to this newsletter. That problem is not the challenges that you face on your first Kubernetes deployment, but the difficulties of getting that fifth or tenth or twentieth application going.

Agile Stacks is here to help. As you have read above, Agile Stacks SuperHub, which simplifies the management of the Kubernetes ecosystem. We have now introduced multiple tutorials to help you get started with our technology, and we have restructured our pricing to eliminate any barriers of entry. In fact, for first implementations or small companies, our product is now free to use or with a minimal investment. I encourage you to go to our pricing page (https://www.agilestacks.com/pricing) to see how little it costs to start using our complexity-removing technology.

Don't feel alone on the Kubernetes journey, please reach out to us at sales@agilestacks.com, because we've made it a point to help you.

John Morada, VP of Marketing

Topics: DevOps First, DevOps Automation, Startup, Infrastructure Automation, Kubernetes, Newsletter