Jim Metzler — Vice president of Ashton, Metzler & Associates
Jim Metzler is founder and vice president of Ashton, Metzler & Associates, a consulting firm that focuses on leveraging technology and talent. Jim has managed networks at two Fortune 500 companies, directed and performed market research at a major industry analyst firm and led a consulting organization. Jim’s current research interests include application delivery, software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV).
As an enterprise, deploying and maintaining your own private cloud platform is not how you win the race. You win the race by building a great business focused on applications. But today, every company in the industry is becoming an app company. To increase your competitiveness, you need to be able to rapidly develop and prototype new apps and reduce your time to market. Some of the application types include:
- A simple application with a specific function (e.g., DB or LAMP stack) deployed on a single virtual machine (VM) or a complex application that spans multiple VMs, creates private networks and security groups, and has multi-tiers.
- A cloud-native application with 12 factor functionality or traditional enterprise application.
Currently, your app deployment model may be based on creating individual VMs using a Vanilla OS image, managing scripts or a VM template. This is problematic as it places constraints on you with legacy practices that you use today for the deployment, configuration and operating of applications.
So, what is required to supercharge these apps? There are 4 key elements:
- Choice of deployment model
You should be able to deploy the app from a variety of deployment options best suited for your business needs:
This could be through an application store with pre-existing templates or using configuration tools like Chef, Puppet or Ansible. With an integrated CI/CD platform like Jenkins, developers should be able to build and deploy test, staging or production clusters using the latest code from the corresponding private or public Git repository. Finally, one should be able to deploy custom apps starting with base-images from an image library itself.
- Self-service and multi-mode app deployment
Users should be able to perform app lifecycle management operations on demand via all modes such as UI, API and CLI. These operations include:
- Self-service app deployment and deletion
- Continuous integration, testing and deployment of apps
- Application scaling, archiving and restoration
- Self-operating and self-healing cloud infrastructure
IT can be much more efficient if they do not have to constantly deal with underlying cloud infrastructure changes, like compute, storage and networking, or management software health monitoring, restarts and upgrades. Ultimately, the IT admins should become application architects instead of only dealing with infrastructure.
Many people equate cloud infrastructure to plumbing; an action that is always needed but one that should not have to be performed on a day-to-day basis. That analogy does not bring out a critical aspect of infrastructure: agility. I think of it as a vehicle for application deployment; one that carries your applications and delivers agility to developers and IT. A hard-to-maintain vehicle can hinder the speed of your business. What you really need is a vehicle that gives you agility without the burden of day-to-day maintenance. Cloud infrastructure, with all these complex layers, should be self-healing and operational so users can focus on building your apps.
- Choice of developer environment
Users can be more productive if they have easy access to application language and development environments of their choice, such as Python, Go, Node.js, Java, C, or Ruby.
ZeroStack’s zApp Store provides users with all of these capabilities for single-click and highly customizable application deployments.
zApp Store allows you to rapidly build and deploy applications that drive engagement with your customers. It manages all of the activities related to deploying apps, allowing you to focus on a single goal: building great applications that help differentiate your business. The zApp Store is included with ZeroStack’s zero-touch private Cloud Platform, which includes self-healing infrastructure, cloud management software and self-service consumption. This helps you focus on apps, not on infrastructure.
Go here to learn more about how the zApp Store can turbo-charge your private cloud application deployment.