DevOps and Continuous Delivery at the Edge

To keep pace with technology, engineers must be able to conduct quick deployments in a safe, reliable and repeatable way. DevOps and continuous delivery (CD) help to support a more responsive and flexible, quicker time-to-market across the software delivery cycle; an increasingly important asset in a market in which IT departments are squeezed to achieve a quicker pace of innovation.

For years, development and operations were kept separate with developers focused only on code, and operations on keeping the code running. The disconnect between departments typically led to long QA cycles and production deployments happening only infrequently (this still happens in many companies, particularly larger ones). However, developers, frustrated with production not updating their code quickly enough, began to write software that would automate operational tasks, and operations personnel began to contribute their knowledge back into the software written by the developers. The resulting new field has been dubbed DevOps.

DevOps enables a blurring of boundaries between development and operations and accordingly, quicker application lifecycles; shorter, more efficient QA sessions; and a significantly larger number of deployments.

DevOps and Continuous Delivery at the Edge

As developers gain more control over the provisioning of IT resources and everyday operations, they require more flexibility, transparency and visibility than traditional CDNs can offer.

Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) software pipelines are useful in managing environments in which the risk of instituting changes is significant by turning the changes into smaller, verifiable units. This is essential for edge computing as a lack of physical access can make it difficult to mitigate problems. Small incremental changes lessen the risk of a major flaw being introduced to the whole system. Instituting changes in this way means that any problems can be rapidly detected and prevented before having a wider impact.

Netflix’s CD platform, Spinnaker, provides a good example of CD at the edge. Now open source, Spinnaker is a multi-cloud CD platform, which integrates DevOps and CD at the edge. It was initially developed internally within Netflix to enable development teams to release software changes with confidence. While it was being developed, the head of the Edge team at Netflix was working on a separate deployment management process. The two team leads realized that they were both aiming to conduct fast deployments in a safe, reliable and repeatable way and decided to fuse their projects to make a “continuous delivering infrastructure management platform”. Changes to applications in Spinnaker can now trigger a redeployment of the complete server fleet.. as a result of “Spinnaker’s use of immutable infrastructure in the cloud”.

Other organizations are following suit. Just recently, GitHub Actions was launched. Actions allow developers to go beyond just hosting code on the platform to also run code, allowing developers to automate their workflows from a task as simple as creating notifications all the way to building a full continuous integration and delivery pipeline. Sam Lambert, GitHub’s Head of Platform, described Actions to TechCrunch as “the biggest shift we’ve had in the history of GitHub”.

Why DevOps Teams Prefer Section

Section is unique among CDNs and Application Delivery Controller solutions in having been specifically designed to accelerate, scale and secure websites with the complete development cycle in mind.

Furthermore, Section is is the only CDN and/or Application Delivery Controller solution to offer delivery of a complete DevOps suite, including:

  • Configuration as code
  • Worldwide configuration change propagation and cache clear, which happens instantly
  • Real time diagnostics and insights
  • Total integration with typical application development workflow
  • Modular software options to deploy and upgrade path control (all modules have consistent configuration-as-code and diagnostics capabilities)
  • Software options include image optimization, server-side multivariate testing, Varnish Cache, 3 different WAF modules and more
  • Choice of where Section runs e.g. either as a CDN and/or behind the firewall as an Application Delivery Controller

The flexibility and transparency Section can offer in facilitating DevOps and CD at the edge is second to none. Through the utilization of container technology (Docker and Kubernetes at the core), Section architecturally differs from every other CDN and/or Application Delivery Controller solution in the market.

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