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Last Saturday, I was talking with one of our Attune customers about their needs and that led to a very useful conversation on the improvements we can make to our Attune package. The customer expressed some features that would be useful for them and I decided that we need to implement those features in Fluxboard (™), our visual dashboard that helps organizations to own their IT. But it got me thinking about papercuts, and how DevOps can be thought of as the business practice of paying attention to the papercuts. When I first came to college being any good Asian son that rebelled against doing medicine I joined the program for computer engineering at UT, although at the time I had the secret agenda to switch to Physics after my first semester. But that did not happen because I fell in love with programming. I saw it as a medium to fuel my creativity, solve problems, feel that spark of getting it. At that time there was no such thing as a papercut, because everything was new, everything was learning, and the systems were not extremely complex. As my career progressed, I worked on many projects, and I felt that my learnings were stagnating. I needed that high, but I found it harder and harder to find. I was feeling less like an artist, and more like an artisan. I spent too much time dealing with trivialities, the same trivialities again and again. And each of those like a papercut took its toll on me. And programming, something that I love, something that I’m good at, became painful. And my productivity suffered as a result. Each of those papercuts was expensive, for myself and my employers but at the time I didn’t understand just how expensive it was.
Customers cite knowledge and responsiveness as key factors in deployments Austin, TX (PRWEB) January 20, 2015 Flux7, an IT consulting firm helping businesses use Amazon Web Services to improve business agility, today announced the company has won the 2015 Modern Impact Awards, Best AWS Consulting Partner. The editors of TechTarget’s Data Center Media Group note the company’s skills are especially prized when it comes to automation and scripting, as well as big data analytics. Unlike many IT services organizations, Flux7 has achieved rapid growth during 2014. The growth is due in large part to a strong demand from organizations seeking to build new or expand on existing AWS infrastructure with the aim of accelerating their cloud projects with short-term consulting from experienced cloud architects. “Our primary focus on customer success has paid off,” said Aater Suleman, Flux7 CEO and co-founder. “As a practice, we always do what it takes to ensure that the customer’s project succeeds. It’s inspiring for the Flux7 team that this focus is appreciated by our customers as shown through the course of our work with them and the awards process. And, this resonates with our efforts to meet our customers’ goals, improve their productivity, and bring some really amazing solutions to market.” Flux7 solutions help organizations to own their IT, avoiding managed services contracts. By using DevOps and automation strategies, Flux7 creates self-managing and self-healing environments, optimizing AWS infrastructure and training internal IT teams to manage their own infrastructure. Flux7 won in the category of “Best AWS Consultant or Integration Partner” of the 2015 Modern Infrastructure Impact Awards. This category was open to consultants and integration partners helping enterprise customers with strategic planning, including cost realization, step-by-step application identification and migration, and other services related to Amazon Web Services.
For several years, that’s been the challenge for both developers and businesses. And the pressure to condense the dev and test life cycle has only increased. Andy Jassy at AWS re:Invent 2014 described the dev test cycle as a “flywheel that you can inject energy into that allows companies to be able to build more quickly for their customers.” For businesses, getting the most out of those skilled developers with high salaries is key to successfully meeting customer demand, scaling and reaching new markets in an efficient manner. Luckily, tools and capabilities to harness the power and functionality of the AWS platform have also improved. And thought leaders in various industries are sharing their own strategies that achieve rapid product development lifecycles. And setting up optimized developer workflows has its practical challenges, including: Establishing a full-production database Managing cloud (AWS) dependencies Trouble-shooting service addressing The key, however, to efficient developer workflows rests in reducing the number of manual steps and preventing context switches as much as possible. This calls for continuous integration process and testing. Creating a Continuous Integration System Setting up continuous integration with Jenkins or CircleCI are well understood ways to implement the agility and process that continuous integration and delivery brings to a dev team. By providing quick feedback to the developers from QA, as well as production, the developers not only become more productive, but also have actionable metrics. This can instill a culture of continuous improvement among the development teams. For developers, an AWS-based continuous integration process adds agility. This approach allows them to experiment more and “fail” safely. They can commit code with less fear of breaking things. Frequent check-ins can reduce the time spent in merging branches. At re:Invent, AWS announced a new service called AWS CodePipeline.
Last week was AWS re:Invent 2014, the annual Amazon Web Services conference. Every year, the event brings with it the newest announcements in Amazon cloud products, services and strategies. This year’s event, as expected, marked the release of several technologies that continue to showcase Amazon’s dominance in the public cloud space. New Cloud Services for Enterprises One of the themes among the announcements was a continued focus on the enterprise market using the cloud. The perceptions about the public cloud have been rapidly changing. Most large companies are moving workloads and applications to the cloud. Doing so allows them to take advantage of the agility and flexibility cloud infrastructure has to offer. But, there have been some gaps in Amazon’s coverage. Especially in regard to providing the control and audit that large companies need. To improve the ability to audit resources and actions, Amazon has introduced AWS Config. This feature provides a history of various resources and any changes made to these resources. Amazon also announced Service Catalog, available during early 2015. AWS Service Catalog aims to solve the problems that top-level IT departments face when ensuring various parts of companies are conforming to organizational requirements. Access can be granted by user, group, department or cost center, and can be limited to specific resources. Big Data Deployments Get High Availability Database Access There were other interesting announcements, some of which impact the management of big data deployments. The first among these was Amazon’s announcement of a new cloud based database engine fully compatible with MySQL. It’s called Aurora, a truly cloud native DB engine offered at a tenth of the cost of traditional DBs. It is built from the ground up for high availability (HA) and pay-for-what-you-need usage.
It’s been a busy and eye-opening week at Amazon Web Services re:Invent 2014 for the Flux7 team. Keynotes. New products and services. Lots of discussion about strategies and tools to include DevOps for enterprises and DevOps for small businesses in your infrastructure plans. Even some fun and excitement. The Venetian in Las Vegas has been very inviting. Like much of the industry, we have been making the rounds at re:Invent and discussing best practices as well as new ways to build efficient, self-managing cloud infrastructure and create business agility. We’ve been keeping a keen eye on “what’s next” at this annual confab for AWS partners and customers. There’s much to discuss and share as we move forward on our mission to create a production-ready environment for those companies using or moving to AWS. We’re looking to give you a full update and recap, as well as our observations, thoughts and insights, once we hit the ground (running … fast) back in Austin, Texas. It’s all about making sure you get the AWS infrastructure for your business needs to scale and become agile, without managed services and in-house maintenance teams. Here’s what an efficient AWS infrastructure would offer your business: Automated Infrastructure Management: As mentioned in this post, one of the rules to drop and start thinking cloud is to stop thinking servers as pets and view them as cattle instead. In a nutshell, the idea is to replace a faulty server with a new server rather than trying to fix the fault consuming unwanted time and resources. Using Amazon CloudFormation templates is feasible and easy to create entire environments as automated processes by setting up a deployment script. This also leads to using push-button deployment features by spinning an environment with just one click.
Amazon Web Services’ re:Invent conference this week in Las Vegas will have something for every cloud provider. The Flux7 team is there in full force building on its strong AWS Advanced Consulting Partner relationship. We’re there to soak in all we can to continue successfully helping launch startups into a self-managed mode of business agility. Each team member’s eyes are wide open and ears finely tuned to the developing conversations that will be forged and shared And, it’s a good thing, too. There are those depending on us to do just that. One of our customers recently told us that he’s not going to this year’s re:Invent. We obviously asked why. He said, he doesn’t have to, because we are. Now, that’s a testament of satisfaction and confidence in the AWS consulting we have been diligently bringing to the table! Tech Teachings to Fireside Chats So, here’s what we’re excited about at re:Invent 2014: [click on the session title below to learn more about each one] Black-Belt Networking for the Cloud Ninja. This expert-level networking discussion is ideally suited for Flux7 to attend. Many of our cloud solutions have been focused on creating robust architectures. So, we are looking for this session to take our AWS networking skills to the next level. From One to Many: Evolving VPC Design. Now, this session encompasses an important part of our newly-available Cloud Attune architecture, which we addressed earlier in this blog. It’s a great opportunity for us to better understand the features and flexibility of Amazon VPC architectures and the complex design requirements that come along with it. Especially as clients are adopting this more and more. See How Amazon Redshift is Powering Business Intelligence in the Enterprise. This could be ground-breaking for us and our clients.
As we approach the Super Bowl of Amazon Web Services, our thoughts quickly turn to the cloud advantages you need to keep your dev team focused on your business. And to those that meet customer demand with secure, scalable and compliant infrastructure using AWS automation tools.
As I’m flying from Austin, the home of Flux7, to the Silicon Valley, my immediate thoughts are honed in on the session I’m sharing this week at the Internet of Things Expo in Santa Clara. I’ll be discussing how Docker helped our client Horan & Bird quickly advance the development of its IoT app. It’s a really good story. And one I hope you have a chance to hear at the conference. If you won’t be attending, you can read about it here. But, as my jet mates and I soar above the clouds over Nevada, my thoughts are also wandering to other significant events, both recent and upcoming. Changing Mindset of Cloud Migration Turbulence aside, I’m pondering the great turnout we had a couple of weeks ago at the Cloud Austin meetup. What a great event. I want to thank Karthik and the other organizers for supporting and leading such a growing group of savvy techies always yearning for more and more. I presented to members there on how web development teams can become more efficiently productive using Amazon Web Services. I shared my AWS crash course and some real- world scenarios that have helped shape our way of thinking and cloud architecture. We focused on how the mindset about cloud migration is changing for both developers and managers. You can check out the presentation here. Bring Great Ideas to Market with Cloud Advantages Then, that leads me to thinking about our recent announcement. The one exclaiming the availability of Cloud Attune, a part of a three-pronged service that starts with an AWS assessment and ends with you self-managing your cloud infrastructure. We designed this service to help businesses get the functionality they need, without getting locked into managed service contracts.
This is the story of rapid deployment of an ecommerce store using Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Bitnami. Our Flux7 AWS Migration consultants installed Magento and hosted it on AWS. But first, some background: Undoubtedly, an ecommerce business directly depends upon its website’s uptime and ability to handle heavy traffic. It’s ability to manage random traffic spikes in special-case scenarios. Ready-made online store platforms providing a web portal, logistics and easy-payment processing often solve the problems for the businesses willing to sell online. However, for complex products sold online which require more options in product configuration and selectability, there’s a need of a comprehensive ecommerce solution, such as Magento. And, that goes hand-in-hand with a promising host environment, can easily scale during the portal’s hour of need with either predictive-based services on running campaigns or in case of any sudden, overloading event. AWS solves a lot of challenges using Magento in regard to scalability as an ecommerce website behaves spontaneously. You never know which one of your campaigns may go viral socially and everyone is behind your stock until the last piece is sold. Why Use AWS AWS is considered the leader in cloud-based services, because it has matured during the years in its web service offerings. It has a strong ecosystem of third-party vendors, tools and partners. Put simply, Amazon is tough to beat for its cost, stability and robust tool set. With more than 35 major services and with more than 925 sub-services and features, AWS offers a wide range of benefits.
October 21, 2014—Austin, TX | Flux7, an IT consultancy focused on delivering cloud migration, application development and process optimization solutions using DevOps-based approaches, today announced the availability of Cloud Attune, a new service focused on helping startups, incubators and venture capital companies to develop production-ready cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Flux7’s cloud architecture expertise, provided by AWS-certified consultants, helps growing organizations to minimize risk and increase business agility to meet new opportunities while postponing hiring of specialized staff. “Working with Flux7 brought key AWS expertise to our team, sped our overall product development, and helped us to meet a number of short-term business opportunities while improving business agility for the long-term by improving our time to market,” said Mark Troutfetter, vice president engineering at Pristine, a company pioneering Google Glass solutions for healthcare. Startups and incubators that are aiming to optimize an existing cloud solution to better scale, be more cost efficient, or meet compliance requirements benefit from Cloud Attune services. Cloud Attune also helps organizations with basic AWS setups turn their infrastructure into a production-ready environment. “Incubators, venture capital firms and startups need solutions that minimize risk and foster growth,” said Aater Suleman, CEO of Flux7. “Access to proven expertise that is provided at a clear, simple price — with no surprise fees — helps these early stage companies to bring great ideas to market.” Often, young companies must prioritize the hiring of developers who can deliver great front-end customer experiences. AWS architecture knowledge, a skill in high demand, can be difficult and expensive to hire, yet can provide considerable benefits to the business.
This week, Flux7 is enthusiastic about speaking at three notable conferences. That’s a new record for us. It’s also an increasing (and welcome!) challenge. Our team is becoming recognized as experts and leaders in Docker, IoT and the cloud infrastructure … all of which are needed to support agile business and development projects, like yours. Our engineer, Anubhav Sinha, presented this past weekend at PyCon India in Bangalore. Anubhav (@dockerbook) is an instrumental part of several of our Docker projects. At the conference, he presented how Docker can help improve web developer productivity. You can review his slides here. Flux7 CTO Ali Hussain (@Ali_A_Hussain) is presenting a workshop called “The Coming Internet of Things (IoT) and Developer Challenges.” It starts at 12:15pm, October 2, at the Cloud Developer Summit presented by @cloudassn in Austin, Texas. And, not to be left out, later in the week, Flux7 CEO Aater Suleman (@FutureChips) appears at the @pytexas PyTexas 2014 event at Texas A&M University. He will speak from 1pm through 4pm, Friday, October 3. His presentation is entitled “3 Hours to Docker Fundamentals: Jumpstart Your Docker Knowledge.” Click here so we can send you the slides from this presentation Docker Is Key In all three of these presentations, Docker plays a key role. It can be a valuable part of a DevOps tool set. And, it can be used either in conjunction with a configuration management tool or even standalone. We want to mention that we’ve found Docker is well-suited for eight primary use cases. You can read about them here. What’s more, Docker is an essential part of our three strategies for startups to fail fast, fail cheap, and get agile. IoT on the Rise We recently noted that IoT projects are taking off.
Cloud based infrastructure and IT self service models have made it incredibly easy for developers and operations to spin up servers and meet fluctuating business needs. This elasticity is great for business agility and is a quintessential DevOps goal, but there is a dark side of easily obtained infrastructure that can work against company efficiency. For many businesses, their cloud infrastructure needs are lumpy. There are distinct peaks in compute needs that can be mapped to any number of reasons; a marketing campaign goes live and causes a spike in web traffic, an analytics or simulation project must scale to crunch data, or perhaps an event occurs, such as a training or user conference, where additional scalable infrastructure is needed. Often the focus is preparing for this spike and avoiding the associated risks of failure. And following this spike, businesses are often busy responding to the outcomes the spike drove such as more leads, adjusting development, or preparing for the next event. It’s during this time when businesses are exposed to unnecessary costs from resources that were fully utilized but have since become unused. We were recently contacted by a large software vendor to address the specific problem of unused infrastructure. By automating the process of decommissioning servers after use, the company hopes to reduce a significant amount of wasted spend. The idea is to provide users with the option of extending a lease if needed, but otherwise to automatically go through a process of dropping the compute needs after a certain date. A similar problem occurs in businesses which have distinct phases. An organization may have very different compute needs in the research and development phase, vs the build or execution phase.