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How Best to Integrate Cloud Foundry into Your Existing Ecosystem By @Gidrontxt | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps

Like Docker, Chef, Puppet and all enterprise IT, Cloud Foundry can only be effective if control and visibility are maintained

How Best to Integrate Cloud Foundry into Your Existing Ecosystem
By Ron Gidron

As someone who has been dedicated to automation and Application Release Automation (ARA) technology for almost six years now, one of the most common questions I get asked regards Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).

Specifically, people want to know whether release automation is still needed when a PaaS is in place, and why. Isn't that what a PaaS provides? A solution to the deployment and runtime challenges of an application? Why would anyone using a PaaS then need an automation engine with workflow and orchestration capabilities to run their release and operations in a PaaS environment?

The interesting thing for me is that this question seems to arise with every new piece of enterprise technology. For example, four or five years ago we used to get asked the same questions about the new wave of configuration tools that started appearing at the time - Puppet and Chef mostly. Everyone thought that the deployment and release problem was solved.

We were asked this question when Docker first made its splash and everyone thought containers alone would provide the answer, and we still sometimes get this question today. By the way, we have an action pack for Docker and we have long supported Chef, Puppet and Ansible.

These days, Cloud Foundry is gaining in popularity for two main reasons that make it a good choice to build applications on:

  1. Its stand-alone capability - it is not tied to a specific infrastructure provider (such as AWS Beanstalk for example).
  2. Its support for higher level application constructs out-of-the-box (i.e., the router, authentication and login components etc.).

The problem is that people are too often drawn to think of it as a panacea, just like we did for Infrastructure as Code and containers. Those of us that have been here long enough might even remember the old industry term "utility computing" from the ‘90s...

So where is the catch? I wouldn't say there is so much of a catch to PaaS or containers, it's more that in reality we always face constraints and trade-offs. When containers came about there was a lot of naivety in the news around the great portability they offer. Everyone seemed to think they could just wrap their big ugly applications in a Docker container and everything would be hunky dory. However, pretty soon it became clear that "there is no free lunch".

I'm not just playing devil's advocate and picking holes in everything. After all, it's these very technological advances that fuel and support the amazing advances of our times such as the app economy, the Big Data revolution and the emerging Internet of Things revolution. They all rely on a strong and flexible "back end" and make the scale at which we operate today possible. What I am saying is that complexity doesn't go away, it just moves (from networking in the ‘70s, to infrastructure in the ‘90s, to Cloud in the ‘00s and our current applications in 2016).

Coordination, orchestration and automation intelligence is something humans are always going to need to, and should direct. There are always external dependencies (see TASC explain why they needed Automic to manage their new Docker-based application on AWS), cross-application meta data, organizational processes and other things that "get in the way" of automation and are not covered by the platform.

With PaaS we have to consider the issue of loss of control and visibility. This is where Automic comes in - layering automation and orchestration above and across applications and software delivery tools chains enables the adoption of newly architected applications and services. It integrates them to the existing backend of applications and enterprise processes in a scalable and automated way.

Put simply, we are the glue that connects the pieces, and the most convenient point of control for application delivery and automation throughout the lifecycle and operational stages of the application. You can find the Cloud Foundry Action Pack on our Marketplace.

Read the original blog entry...

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Automic, a leader in business automation, helps enterprises drive competitive advantage by automating their IT factory - from on-premise to the Cloud, Big Data and the Internet of Things.

With offices across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, Automic powers over 2,600 customers including Bosch, PSA, BT, Carphone Warehouse, Deutsche Post, Societe Generale, TUI and Swisscom. The company is privately held by EQT. More information can be found at www.automic.com.