DevOps and Cloud at NI


Published on

My presentation at the October Agile Austin DevOps SIG about how we implemented DevOps on my team at National Instruments - techniques we used and lessons learned.

Published in: Technology
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • Just kidding about the black holes.
  • Why What does it stand for?Well, we suggested a bunch of domain names (like, natch) but management and product marketing ended up just picking something deliberately innocuous and semi-meaningless. “wsc” doesn’t really stand for anything, though you can plausibly create backronyms for it – “Web service.. Computers, or something!”
  • I trust you’ve all seen UI Builder by now. If not,
  • Running in browser (can also run out of browser).Can save files to cloud or to local disk.Compiles happen in the cloud.
  • And it’s purty. We’ll use it in the demo!
  • A “cloudlet” is a term we made up, it’s a single product instance running in the cloud.
  • “Send it to the cloud!” Using the cloud should be extremely simple in your GUI.
  • You will notice the standard framework that this shares with UIB – we have created a cloud framework to supply cloud apps with the various things they need.
  • Would You Like To Know More? news – the Internet of Things is a hot Web trend! Bad news – of 2009. Mach schnell!
  • PIE: Would You Like To Know More?
  • So who wants to guess how many cloud servers we have?
  • DevOps and Cloud at NI

    1. 1. National Instruments
    2. 2. DevOps and Cloud at NI Ernest Mueller Cloud Systems Architect, LabVIEW R& @ernestmueller
    3. 3. The Short Form We built a DevOps team to rapidly deliver new SaaS products and product functionality using cloud hosting and services (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) as the platform and operations, using model driven automation, as a key differentiating element. With this approach we have delivered multiple major products to market quickly with a very small staffing and financial outlay. 3
    4. 4. National Instruments (aka “NI”)• 30 years old; 5000+ employees around the world, half in Austin, mostly engineers; $873M in 2010• Hardware and software for data • acquisition, our graphical dataflow LabVIEW is embedded design, instrument control, and test programming language used by scientists and engineers in many fields 4
    5. 5. From toys to black holes 5
    6. 6. Genesis• Our hardware and software product strategy started to spawn software-as-a-service ideas – some from customer demand, some from internal drivers• There were existing product to Web integration points but these were uncoordinated and poorly maintained• LabVIEW R&D greenfielded an internal group in 2009 to serve as an internal ISV for hosted services, the dotCom team, seeded by a couple key folks from IT 6
    7. 7. Challenges• Lack of close R&D/IT relationship• Traditional siloed IT department (programmers split by business unit, infrastructure split by technology)• Low organizational agility – 6 weeks to get a server• Uptime problems from complexity and silos• On premise data centers at power/cooling capacity• R&D primarily experienced in desktop software and specialized, dedicated hardware, not server/Web scale• Consensus driven environment 7
    8. 8. More Challenges• IT software releases painful – quarterly for ERP, monthly for Web – Web often having 80+ release items, many manual.• Production issues (availability, performance, security) would persist for months on average awaiting resolution• Waterfall system development process created friction against dev teams uptaking agile methods• Software often not designed with any service management goals in mind• Dev teams frustrated with low throughput of changes/requests from systems team 8
    9. 9. Now, Discover Your Strengths• Strong base of “best and brightest,” motivated employees• Culture of innovation and “do it yourself”• Large Web presence ( with extensive in house programming and operational experience• Entrepreneurial internal environment• Significant reinvention/retooling effort going on in R&D• Increasing focus on system sales and quality (performance, reliability, security) over yet-more-features 9
    10. 10. DevOps Ideation• We had developed a Systems Development Framework we used with dev teams, but it was an inherently waterfall model• Velocity conference began to spread Ops best practices and catalyze innovation in 2008• OpsCamp Austin (Jan 2010) introduced us to the Visible Ops book and the “DevOps” term. “Hey, so that’s what we’ve been trying to do!”• Able to move forward quickly with more confidence 10
    11. 11. Sidebar: What Is DevOps?• When I say DevOps, I mean:  Developers and operations staff both included as part of the project team – NOT developers throwing over a wall to QA who throws over a wall to operations  Developers and operations staff collaborating on service design, development, testing, release, and management – availability, capacity, security, etc. all need work at design time and have obvious operational requirements 11
    12. 12. Starting Fresh - Blessing and Curse Everything was new, so we had to simultaneously develop: • Products • Team • Process • Systems • Code • Operations • System Automation 12
    13. 13. The Products (“Hosted Services”)• Customer facing:  LabVIEW Web UI Builder (2009)  LabVIEW FPGA Compile Cloud (2010)  Technical Data Cloud (2011)  More in progress!• Internal facing (NI product teams are the customer):  Cloud Framework  Cloud Hosting  Operations 13
    14. 14. LabVIEW Web UI Builder• Write a LabVIEW(ish) app, save it to the cloud and run it there.• Build and deploy it to an embedded target and hook it up to Web services to give it a sweet UI• Also, an experimental testbed for LabVIEW changes• Freemium model – use it for free, packaging and deploying your app to a target requires a license (compiles run in the cloud) – try it at• Silverlight RIA, back end on Amazon Web Services – EC2, S3, SimpleDB; Java/Linux/Apache/Tomcat and .NET/IIS/Windows 14
    15. 15. 15
    16. 16. 16
    17. 17. LabVIEW Web UI Builder Cloudlet WebLV WebLV CompilerBrowser Services Security Web Server Project Services Data Internal Auth Db Routing Services License Db PIE LDAP Load Install Mgmt File DNS Gateway Balancer Services Server Server 17
    18. 18. LabVIEW FPGA Compile Cloud• LabVIEW FPGA compiles take hours and consume extensive system resources; compilers are getting larger and more complex• Implemented on Amazon - EC2, Java/Linux,C#/.NET/Windows, and LabVIEW FPGA• Also an on premise product, the “Compile Farm” 18
    19. 19. LabVIEW FPGA Compile Cloud NI Hosted Compile Service User Login & Rights management Links to user account & support 19
    20. 20. Technical Data Cloud• “I just want to upload my sensor data directly to the cloud, man.”• REST and LabVIEW API that lets you upload and retrieve discrete and waveform data• Welcome to the Internet of Things• Being built on Microsoft Azure – specific bits TBD, all .NET and LabVIEW 21
    21. 21. Cloud Framework• Platform that makes the magic happen by providing base plumbing for developers of SaaS apps• Core Services - reusable Web services and facilities• ILLS (internal login & licensing services) – distributed user repo and licensing, complete with feed from Oracle and self service user portal; Java/Tomcat, OpenDS LDAP, mySQL• PIE (Programmable Infrastructure Environment) – sets up systems for you, autoscales, deploys code; uses an XML model and runtime registry; Java – more on this later!• Building out a core platform? Didn’t that slow velocity? No. 22
    22. 22. The Team• DevOps!  Application architect  Systems architect (me)  2 developers  1 system automation developer  Operations lead  2 follow-the-sun operations staff in Malaysia• Work with other R&D product development teams  Different orgs (LabVIEW, non-LV software, hardware)  Geographically distributed (Austin, Aachen, Bangalore, Singapore) 24
    23. 23. The Process• Agile!• All systems work used the “developer” tools and systems as part of DevOps collaboration philosophy  Revision control (Perforce)  Bug tracking (HP Quality Center)  Specs and reviews (Atlassian Confluence wiki)  Task tracking and burndown (JIRA/Greenhopper -> TFS)• All members collaborate on all aspects of the product• Test driven development – well, ideally 25
    24. 24. The Systems• Cloud!• After a quick cost assessment and experimentation, decided on Amazon EC2 as our initial hosting platform, added Azure later due to business relationship• Needed control and agility we wouldn’t be able to get internally – dynamic requirements, fast scaling• Needed Linux and Windows both for software support• Using multiple point SaaS providers for functionality (If it’s not core, outsource it!)• Agility and time to market far outweighed cost efficiency 26
    25. 25. Code• REST!• All REST-based Web services• Multiple tech stacks - cloud and systems mgmt code mostly in Java, product code mostly in C#/.NET• Key cloud app architecture concerns – multitenant, parallel, asynchronous, loosely coupled, APIed, instrumented, resilient in dynamic/ephemeral environment• Developers deliver tests, monitoring, system model with their service 27
    26. 26. Operations• The “secret sauce”!• Not just ticket handling or “keep the lights on.” Focus on delivering value to the customer and developer.• Provide performance management, availability, systems management, incident handling, security, log management, monitoring, rapid deployment• Inspirations: O’Reilly “Secret Sauce” paper, Velocity conference, Visible Ops book, Transparent Uptime blog 28
    27. 27. Sidebar: What Is Operations?• Operations is a domain of expertise within IT systems management that involves the planning, design, deployment, operation, security, maintenance, monitoring, tuning, and repair of applications and systems.• Includes: systems engineers, systems administrators, release managers, support techs• It is a set of knowledge used across lifecycle phases 29
    28. 28. System Automation• PIE!• The “Programmable Infrastructure Environment”• XML system model defines systems, services, code installs, runtime interaction• Runtime registry for systems info and eventing• PIE autobuilds the runtime system from the model – provisioning, software installs, monitoring integration• Perform orchestration and control on many instances of dynamic environments 30
    29. 29. 31
    30. 30. Results• Win!• A continuous pipeline of products delivered quickly• LabVIEW Web UI Builder went beta in 2009, 1.0 in 2010• FPGA Compile Cloud went beta in 2010, 1.0 in 2011• Technical Data Cloud going beta in 2011• Unqualified happiness with cloud, DevOps approach• Not innovation vs. reliability – new approach gets both! 32
    31. 31. Bottom Line• Operations is no longer a basic facilities-like “gate” – many modern applications (our cloud applications, for sure) require extensive systems engineering for functionality, customer satisfaction, and profitability 33
    32. 32. Residual Challenges/Lessons Learned• Culture change – building collaboration, mutual respect, and trust among globally distributed dev teams, ops, and others (QA, security, etc.)• Educating developers on operational issues and vice versa• General agile challenges (large teams, global teams)• New agile infrastructure challenges (what does unit testing mean for my environment build, and how do I do that?)• Maintaining vision through rapid change• Cloud-compatible tooling still emerging• Selling the products; product manager collaboration 34
    33. 33. Where do we go from here?• Continue to evolve PIE to add better orchestration, treat data as a first class citizen• Move to full continuous integration and deploy-on-demand, necessitating intense investment in testing• Uptake of Microsoft Azure (mostly complete) as an additional cloud provider• Private cloud integration; OpenStack/virtualization• More SaaS products! 35
    34. 34. Discussion! 36