Dell Technologies industry experts post their thoughts about Containers for workload solutions.
Enterprise Software Installations: Evolution of Full Automation
Thu, 23 Jul 2020 18:21:01 -0000|
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Is there an evolution underway that is changing Enterprise Software and how it’s provisioned? I think so. Enterprise applications have traditionally been difficult to install and provision. There were pre-requisites, configuration requirements, post-requisites and other steps that took days to figure out. In many situations it required a team of administrators or consultants to complete the installation. Both options were expensive and time consuming.
Virtualization, including automation and orchestration, has advanced installations and provisioning through the use of templates. A virtual machine template is the main image of a virtual machine with all the components and configuration settings necessary to easily create a copy of that VM. Virtual Machine templates provide a means to provision copies of a virtualized application quickly and efficiently. This approach streamlined how applications could be quickly provisioned in the company. Next, application storefront web portals further transformed application provisioning into self-service operations for end users, reducing the burden on IT even more.
To further examine the deployment of VM templates, let’s take a look at Day 0, 1, and 2 of the deployment process:
Using VM templates to automate the business accelerated application provisioning and consistently delivered a reliable outcome. VM templates advanced the way in which applications were provisioned. Although virtualization with its automation and orchestration solved many challenges, a few important challenges remained:
Now what if companies that created the enterprise application moved to an approach in which there were no installations required? Consider the capability to deliver the application as an image that can be opened and used, remarkably like a VM template. Linux Containers are different from virtual machines in several important ways:
Popular public Container registries like Red Hat Quay and Docker Hub enable the business to download application images. These images can then be placed into a local private registry for the company, enabling them to quickly deploy the application over the local area network. Let’s look at how the use of Container images can change the Day 0, 1, and 2 activities:
Shifting responsibility for the installation from an IT professional to the company that developed the software transforms Day 0 activities. The complexity of software installation is replaced by downloading the image. The company that developed the software takes responsibility for creating a reliable application image, so Day 0 activities become lighter weight.
The challenge of scaling a self-service portal can also become more manageable. New application images and updates to existing images can be downloaded, tested, and placed in the local private company registry. Prioritization may still be necessary but the capability to quickly make new or updated applications available is facilitated by the company that developed the software.
This is another evolutionary jump as the complexity of installation shifts to the company that developed the software. The primary benefit is a substantial time savings as the company using the application doesn’t have to invest in installing the software. Dell EMC provides these white papers that show how you can start taking advantage of Containers:
This solution shows how the use of Oracle Database in containers, Kubernetes, and the Container Storage Interface (CSI) Driver for the Dell EMC PowerFlex family (previously known as Dell EMC VxFlex family) transforms the development process. Using orchestration and automation, developers can self-provision an Oracle database, thereby increasing flexibility and productivity while saving substantial time in creating a production copy for development and testing environments.
This solution highlights the power of implementing SQL Server 2019 Big Data Cluster technology hosted on Dell EMC VxRail hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). In the solution use case, we integrate SQL Server 2019 RDBMS, SQL Server Big Data Cluster, MongoDB, and Oracle RDBMS to create a unified data analytics platform. SQL Server 2019 scale-out storage and compute clusters, and new data virtualization techniques are the enabling technologies. This SQL Server 2019 Big Data Cluster solution also benefits from the simplicity of a complete, yet flexible, validated Dell EMC VxRail HCI platform with Kubernetes management and storage integration.
In this white paper, we designed our use case to parallel the steps that customers take to deploy a SQL Server Big Data Cluster. Throughout the use case discussion, we describe important steps, design considerations, and outcomes. The discussion is not intended to outline step-by-step deployment actions but, instead, to provide guidance to make your Big Data Cluster solution successful.
Designing and configuring a resilient VxFlex architecture was our initial step. Because Big Data Clusters are business-critical, we designed a VxFlex architecture with multiple controller nodes and hyperconverged nodes so that there was no single point of failure. Performance was not a key consideration because VxFlex enables massive scale-out with the addition of nodes. One of the many advantages of VxFlex nodes is that customers can choose between using a bare-metal infrastructure or implementing virtualization. In this use case, we used VMware vSphere virtualization to increase manageability and security.
This solution shows how the use of SQL Server containers, Kubernetes, and the Dell EMC XtremIO X2 Container Storage Interface (CSI) plug-in transforms the development process. Using orchestration and automation, developers can self-provision a SQL Server database, increasing productivity and saving substantial time.
Additionally, Dell EMC provides an entire section on the Info Hub dedicated to Containers, featuring technical papers on these topics: