Archive for the ‘Engineering’ Category

 

Cloud infrastructure supports agile IT endeavors

Monday, August 5th, 2013 by

Companies often seek to use cloud computing technologies in an effort to improve business agility at a lower cost than other technical endeavors. Although hosted environments have an inherent flexibility that lets organizations carry out tasks more efficiently, decision-makers can’t simply deploy one cloud service and expect to reap all the rewards. Instead, enterprises need to ensure the cloud architectures they use have the necessary qualities to support a more agile workplace.

In today’s fast-paced business world, application agility is one of the best characteristics for an organization to have because it ensures employees can access and use mission-critical solutions from virtually anywhere. A recent CIO report report highlighted how leveraging an efficient cloud infrastructure service can dramatically improve efficiency as a result of its easy scalability and automated provisioning. When these characteristics are combined with other critical elements, companies can be sure they have the agile qualities they need to thrive.

Cloud infrastructure supports agile IT endeavors

Cloud infrastructure supports agile IT endeavors

Embrace agile development
In the past, there was one tried-and-true method for application development used by most of the business world. Today, the diversity of the corporate landscape has encouraged decision-makers to pursue strategies that differ from competitors to create room for possible advantages. This demand, coupled with the proliferation of cloud computing and mobile projects, has led to the emergence of the agile development movement.

CIO noted that this mentality is considered the norm in today’s enterprise, although many firms have yet to deploy these strategies effectively. By incorporating an agile development concept into the cloud infrastructure, employees can gain access to the automated tools they need to circumvent old processes that often resulted in unwanted, unused, or inefficient applications.

A separate First Line Software report echoed the importance of including the cloud in an agile development strategy because the hosted technology supports greater levels of service delivery and encourages users to take advantage of its scalable capacity. When enterprises leverage cloud and agile initiatives simultaneously, they can streamlines the creation and deployment process to ensure employees can take full advantage of the tools in a timely manner.

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How Software Defined Networking Delivers Next-Generation Success

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 by

Software defined networking (SDN) is today where the cloud was a few years ago, and their paths are quite similar. As cloud providers innovate, they incorporate new, cutting-edge technology to let users do more with their architectures and enable solutions that were previously impossible. Just as the cloud moved people away from physical boxes and bare metal devices, SDN is allowing developers and architects to divorce themselves from proprietary hardware appliances like load balancers and firewalls.

So, what are the similarities between SDN and cloud? How about abstraction or the movement from physical to virtual?

To get a bit more scientific, I jumped over to Google Trends (which looks at search term volume over time) and did a search for “cloud,” “SDN,” “cloud computing,” and “software defined networking.”

cloud-sdn-trends

The results shown here make it pretty obvious that “cloud” continues to grow and overshadow the other terms. Removing “cloud” shows “SDN” making the same upward trajectory as “cloud” does in the graphic below. (Because people have been shortening the term “cloud computing” to simply “cloud,” it’s logical that the term’s search volume is decreasing.)

snd-cloud-comp-software-defined-network-trends

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GoGrid Proactively Responds to Xen Vulnerability

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012 by

GoGrid regularly reviews, analyzes, and ranks recently published security vulnerabilities as part of its security program. We typically address security vulnerabilities that pose a risk to GoGrid’s digital ecosystem during our regular patch cycle. However, critical security vulnerabilities require immediate action. Such was the case with last week’s security advisory that impacted software such as Xen, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and some versions of Microsoft Windows. You can find specifics of the security advisory here: http://lists.xen.org/archives/html/xen-announce/2012-06/.

vaultThe vulnerability meant a system admin running a 64-bit paravirtualized (PV) guest (such as Windows 2008 R2 or a Linux 64-bit distribution) on a 64-bit hypervisor could gain kernel-level access by successfully exploiting Intel’s SYSRET design implementation. This vulnerability isn’t unique to Xen or even to virtualized environments. In fact, any guest user—that is, someone with non-administrator privileges—with logical access to a stand-alone server running NetBSD, FreeBSD, Microsoft Windows 7, or Windows 2008 R2 can perform a similar exploit against the OS and gain unauthorized access.

GoGrid’s Security team determined that the vulnerability exposed our customers to an attacker potentially gaining access to their virtualized systems. Even more important, GoGrid’s Security team determined the vulnerability was a prime target for a “zero-day exploit”—one that could occur on the same day the vulnerability becomes generally known.

As a result, we took immediate action: We downloaded and tested the patch, engaged on of our outside security firm partners to gain intelligence on how the Black Hat community perceived the vulnerability, scheduled an emergency patch rollout over the weekend, and deployed the security patch across all impacted systems.

On June 18, 2012, GoGrid Security team confirmed that an exploit had been published and is now circulating on the Internet.

We appreciate your understanding and support in allowing us to continue providing you with a safe, secure, and stable environment.

Agile Development at GoGrid with Pallet and Jclouds (Presentation)

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 by

In order to provide a more “rounded” voice on the GoGrid blog, we are going to start having some new authors. To kick off this initiative, I wanted to introduce Paul Lappas, GoGrid’s VP of Engineering and Co-Founder. Paul manages GoGrid’s engineering efforts, technical operations, IT and the technology vision for GoGrid.

Recently, he and some other team members attending a MeetUp in San Francisco at the Twitter headquarters to discuss and present  JClouds and Pallet and how those tools are being used at GoGrid. Here is Paul’s synopsis of Jclouds and the presentation:

“GoGrid is doing some really cool stuff using an automated provisioning technology called “Pallet”.  Pallet is similar to existing automating configuration technologies like Puppet and Chef but with a key difference that it was built specifically to solve the problem of quickly spinning up and configuring groups of servers in the cloud. It support “Jclouds” out of the box and is implemented as a set of libraries for “Clojure” which is a LISP-based programming language that is quickly building steam.  Jclouds is an open source framework developed by Adrian Cole that helps you get started in the cloud and reuse your java development skills, with an API that allows you the freedom to use portable abstractions or cloud-specific features.

GoGrid is working with the author of Pallet (Hugo Duncan) and a key contributor Toni Batchelli to enable the fast deployment of fully functional GoGrid environments for use by development teams for test & dev. It’s a tough problem for most companies, but especially challenging for us considering how complex (and capital intensive) it is to stage an end-to-end GoGrid environment due to the sheer breadth of technologies that span almost all 7 layers of the OSI stack. With Pallet, we are able to treat our “infrastructure as code” and manage the configuration of systems, networks and applications just like we do our source code so that they can be quickly applied to spin-up new environments. But perhaps the coolest aspect is that we are using GoGrid internally to virtualize the individual components! It’s kind of like Inception where there is a grid-within-a-grid. Our teams are still getting their heads around logging into a GoGrid account and seeing virtual representation of physical GoGrid components represented as VM icons in the GUI! Very cool stuff.

The following presentation provides more details of the implementation and was presented at the recent Jclouds meetup at Twitter’s headquarter in San Francisco. Check out future jclouds meetups here:
http://www.meetup.com/jclouds/

Below is the presentation that was presented at the Jclouds meetup: (more…) «Agile Development at GoGrid with Pallet and Jclouds (Presentation)»