The Rising Demand of Developers in The Cloud, SDN & NFV Era

In modern world, this is the era of cloud and its related technologies. In recent years there’s been a lot of discussion about cloud, and cloud storage, like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud as well as private and hybrid cloud.

A cloud environment allows us to access information, application, and data of all types by connecting hardware or devices online. Cloud environment is accessed as a service in a shared way rather than a product. Individual Users and group of people can access and share their data in a cloud from any part of the world.

The Future of Cloud Computing

There are many potential opportunities and capabilities with cloud computing and the technology behind it. Cloud computing can open a complete new realm of opportunities, services, platforms, applications, and even more. There are hundreds and thousands of opportunities beginning to form as the future of cloud computing starts to really take off.

Michael Corrado, World Wide Marketing Manager with Hewlett Packard Enterprise says, “The future of cloud computing will most likely represent a combination of cloud based software products and on premises compute to create a hybrid IT solution that balances the scalability and flexibility associated with cloud and the security and control of a private data center.

In the current cloud market, the benefits of leveraging the infrastructure of a large cloud provider can be beneficial in many ways. The cost structure works like a utility which provides for an operating expense model with no upfront infrastructure costs.”

According to Forbes report released in Apr, 2017, Cloud computing is projected to increase from $67B in 2015 to $162B in 2020 achieving an annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19%. Cloud platforms are empowering new, complex business models and orchestrating more globally-based integration networks in 2017 than many technical analysts and advisory firms predicted. Increased Cloud Services adoption in mid-tier and SMBs, leading researchers such as Forrester are adjusting their forecasts upward. The best form of check of any forecast is revenue.  According to Amazon’s latest quarterly results show that AWS attained 43% year-over-year growth, contributing 10% of consolidated revenue and 89% of consolidated operating revenue (Columbus, 2017).

According to Forbes in Feb, 2017, Global cloud IT market revenue is predicted to increase from $180B in 2015 to $390B in 2020, attaining a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17%. Global cloud market revenue is predicted to increase from $180B in 2015 to $390B in 2020, attaining a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17%. In the same period, SaaS-based apps are predicted to grow at an 18% CAGR, and IaaS/PaaS is predicted to grow at a 27% CAGR (Columbus, Global Cloud Predicted To Reach $390B By 2020, 2017).

Cloud Architecture

As cloud requirements and adoption are increasing day by day, trained manpower is also required to manage cloud platforms either it public, private, hybrid, or a multi-cloud environment. To build a cloud architecture, it should have:

  • Heterogeneous support system that can leverage the latest hardware, virtualization, and software solution, but they should also support existing infrastructure of a data center.
  • Service management system where an administrator should have a simple tool for measuring service offerings to productize the cloud computing environment.
  • To be dynamic in Resource management and workload where a cloud can be truly on-demand and elastic.
  • Reliable, available, and secure
  • Integrate with data center management tools by using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
  • Complete visibility and reporting in performance and service level perspective
  • Provide interfaces for administrator, developer, and end-user

Role of Developers in Cloud Computing/Architecture

Cloud Computing is changing the lives as developers are building applications for cloud platforms using virtualization, converged, hyper-converged, SDN, NFV technologies. In modern days, the data center infrastructures are converged and hyper-converged and we don’t have to wait for hardware to be provisioned and configured. Companies of all size are moving towards cloud in greater quantities while cloud service providers remain to grow their operations to support additional workloads. Both ends of the cloud computing have immense plans to hire talented folks.

Cloud automation is an essential building block for the cloud computing architype. Basic purpose of automation in cloud computing is to make all activities fast, efficient, and as hands off as possible via various automation or orchestration tools that installed directly on the virtualization/cloud platform and controlled through a native interface.

Developers play very vital role in automation and orchestration of cloud architecture such as DevOps Engineers. DevOps is a cloud automation role that represents the merger/combination between operation and deployment. The role often is responsible for managing the infrastructure through version-controlled source files that can be used to recreate Cloud platforms in hours and minutes rather than spending weeks and days under the traditional model.

DevOps is more achievable in these days with the ease of automation for infrastructure, making it an accepted choice for developers and system managers with scripting skills.

Tools for automating the Cloud Platform

Any type of cloud either public, private, or hybrid, it represents a huge architecture in the form CPU, memory, and storage; automation tools will come in handy to manage all this. In any cloud architecture, there are two main reasons for automating the infrastructure. First, DevOps, Sys Admins, and IT pros need to automate as many tasks such as application performance and management, log management, and monitoring as they can. Second, automation makes the complex and diverse environment management easy and allows rapid scaling.

Cloud infrastructure automation tools can be classified as automation type based such as scripting, automation, and orchestration, and architecture based such automation tools for AWS, tools used for Google Cloud, and also for MS Azure. Following are 10 commonly used automation tools used in cloud automation and orchestration, their key features and pricing either paid or free.

  1. Ansible @ansible

Ansible is a comparatively simple cloud platform automation tool that automates configuration management, application deployment, cloud infrastructure provisioning and intra-service orchestration. It devours hundreds of modules that guarantee the support of multiple cloud platforms including Google, AWS, Splunk, and NetApp. Ansible allows administrator to centrally manage your cloud infrastructure using role-based permissions, visual dashboard, and job scheduling.

Key Features:

  • Designed for multi-tier deployments
  • No requirements of additional security

Pricing:

  • Ansible Tower Self Support– For SMBs. Costs $5,000/100 nodes and $10,000/250 nodes per annum.
  • Ansible Tower Enterprise– For Enterprises. Costs $10,000/100 nodes per annum.
  • Ansible Tower Premium– Best for mission-critical DevOps with 24×7 support. Costs $14,000/100 nodes per annum.
  1. Chef @chef

Chef is best-known and comparatively old cloud infrastructure automation tool. It can scale easily up to 5,000 servers to manage. It enables constant delivery and configuration management. Chef enables IT pros and cloud/DevOps engineers to automate the deployment and management of infrastructure by converting infrastructure to code.

Key Features:

  • Automated security and compliance testing
  • Dashboards for management, auditing, and troubleshooting
  • Reusable definitions are employed for tasks automation
  • Predefined resources are used as building blocks or can be defined your own
  • Feature of testing code on an isolated environment before deploying to production

Pricing:

  • Chef Basics– Free.
  • Chef Hosted– $72/node per annum for min 20 nodes.
  • Chef Automate– $137/node per annum.
  1. Puppet @puppetize

Puppet delivering and operating software to its clients including NASA, Intel, Salesforce, Uber, Verizon, and Sony and also supports Huawei Cloud solutions. Puppet Enterprise agents are pre-installed on Huawei CloudEngine devices, allow clients to get their Huawei devices under Puppet Enterprise control from Day One.  Its easy-to-read language streamlines the process for your infrastructure and apps should look like.

Key Features:

  • Control, visibility, and automation of changes of cloud applications and infrastructure
  • Customized code writing or selection from the thousands of freely available modules

Pricing:

  • Puppet Enterprise Free– Up to 10 nodes.
  • Puppet Enterprise Standard – $120/node per annum
  • Puppet Enterprise Premium – Contact to Puppet for pricing.
  1. Appcore @appcore

Comprehensive cloud infrastructure management tool used Private Cloud infrastructure management. It simplifies cloud infrastructure configuration, resource management, and automated provisioning.

Key Features:

  • User friendly interface
  • Ensure true on-demand functionality

Pricing:

Request a quote to Appcore

  1. CFEngine @cfengine

Another pretty fine tool for automating cloud infrastructure. It is responsible to automate complex, enterprise scale and mission critical infrastructure. Major clients of CFEngine including Intel, Samsung, LinkedIn, Chevron, Panasonic, Comcast and Deutsche Telekom.

Key Features:

  • Written in C and configuration change can be deployed on very large scale up to 50,000 servers in just 5 minutes
  • Stable and matured solution can be used in very large environments
  • Dashboard for real time reporting.
  • Encrypted communication

Pricing:

  • CFEngine Community Edition– Free
  • CFEngine Enterprise Edition– Request a quote
  1. Cisco Prime Cloud Automation @CiscoSP360

Cisco Prime Cloud Automation provides operational agility, responsiveness, efficiency and complete user satisfaction. It can also be integrated with enterprise’s non-Cisco infrastructure, operational and service management tools.

Key Features:

  • User-friendly web portal
  • Streamlined provisioning of resources for complex cloud environments
  • A dashboard available for lifecycle management, consumption control, and resource status
  • Greater ability to make real-time changes with enhanced visibility and discovery

Pricing:

Request for a quote

  1. Citrix Cloudportal Services Manager @citrix

Citrix CloudPortal Services Manager is a comprehensive tool that used to streamline scaling and provisioning processes of hosted workspaces that improve operational productivity and reduce management costs.

Key Features:

  • Manage hosted services including cloud desktops and applications
  • Single interface for scaling, provisioning, and entertaining customers
  • Delegated cloud-based administration to save time and money
  • Simplified procedures via workflow approval

Pricing:

Request for a quote

  1. Jenkins @jenkinsci

The leading open source automation server, Jenkins is a Development & Operations (DevOps) is a leading open source automation tool for used for monitoring jobs in cloud platforms.  It provides number of plugins for building, deploying, and automating projects. This engine allows DevOps teams to integrate development changes easily.

Key Features:

  • Provides independent Java-based package ready to execute with multiple operating systems including Windows, Mac OS X, and other Unix-based OS
  • Constant integration and delivery
  • Easy to manage and configure using web interface
  • number of plugins in Update Center

Pricing:

FREE (Open Source)

  1. SaltStack @SaltStack

SaltStack launched in 2011 is an infrastructure automation software that is easy, scalable, and fast. It delivers an active communication bus for orchestration, configuration management, and remote implementation.

Key Features:

  • Support Multi-cloud orchestration
  • Prompt assessment of security policies
  • Constant integration and deployment of code
  • Efficient data management using data filtering and event aggregation
  • Support both agentless and resilient agent

Pricing:

  • Salt Open– Free
  • SaltStack Enterprise– Request for a quote
  1. ServiceNow Cloud Management @servicenow

ServiceNow Cloud Management is a tool that streamlines and automates the full cloud services development. It drills down costs and optimizes resource utilization. It speeds up provisioning, approvals and provision requests. It manages cloud infrastructure professionally and constantly and also ensures security and compliance.

Key Features:

  • Can manage multiple public and private cloud platforms
  • Full access and control of cloud services and resource management
  • Self-service and self-provisioning with predefined configurations for clients

Pricing:

Request for a quote

  1. Elastic Cloud Server

Elastic Cloud Server (ECS) is a Huawei Cloud DevOps solution provides you to attain scalable cloud servers by self-service at any time to form a secure, flexible, reliable, and efficient application platform to ensure the stable and continuous running of processes. It decreases time to minutes that required to acquire and boot new server instances, and permitting you to quickly scale-up and scale-out capacity, as computing requirements are change.

Key Features:

  • Service availability
  • Secure
  • Auto Scaling
  • Easy to use

Pricing

ECS – CNY 32.5 = $5/month

 

Scripting Languages for Cloud Automation/DevOps

Scripting languages are also used to automate cloud jobs. Following are some commonly used scripting languages used to automate cloud processes.

  1. PowerShell

PowerShell is a Microsof .NET framework based scripting tool used for Microsoft Windows environments. It uses four different approaches for systems administrators to provide automation control over the virtual environment.

PowerShell has the ability to execute independent programs invoked from PowerShell itself, rather than the Windows user interface (GUI). Then, it has a scripting language that can be used to create individual scripts called “cmdlets.”; specialized PowerShell commands used to automate the jobs. PowerShell is the key tool which DevOps teams used to systematize and control the Windows enterprise platform.

  1. Bash

Bash is a Linux based widely used Unix shell that offers the scripting language used to automate procedures on thousands of Linux servers around the globe. Bash has the capability to make it an automation dynamo in the world of Linux. Bash can also execute commands from a file called a script.

  1. Perl

Perl is a language that mainly focus on application development. Even with some restrictions, and a heaping helping of oddness, Perl has become frequently used tool for advanced web applications. The main purpose of Perl’s popularity is that it is very good at working with text and text objects that are stored in databases.

Perl is a language frequently used for scripts that hold larger applications. Those scripts are involved in automation of application, but mainly used as tools to build the applications.

  1. Python

Python has become a multipurpose language in virtual infrastructure. It is used to build cloud platform projects such as OpenStack, and also provisions web applications via frameworks such as Django. Python is a friendly language with a wide range of usages.

Wrap Up

Cloud automation/orchestration or DevOps depends on two critical pieces: Software development and operational automation. In this article, we’ve only discuss operations automation, and each of these requires programming and programming tends to need a programming language. For those who are trying to make a career in DevOps or automation engineers, the question of what languages should they learn for each side of the equation is key.

According to Forbes report, revenue is predicted to increase from $180B in 2015 to $390B in 2020, and as per predictions, 60% of all IT jobs will be cloud based by 2020. Due to heavy spending and adoption of cloud computing, demand of developers in Cloud, SDN, and NFV is increasing. If you are interested in building cloud applications and their automation, you will have to learn and excel in gaining experience in one or more tools mentioned above. In this article, We’ve discussed future of cloud computing, its architecture, role of developers in cloud computing, and some important tools and scripting languages which are helpful for building cloud applications and automating the environment.

Bibliography

Columbus, L. (2017, February 11). Global Cloud Predicted To Reach $390B By 2020. Retrieved from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2017/02/11/global-cloud-spending-predicted-to-reach-390b-by-2020/#60e83da21085

Columbus, L. (2017, April 29). Roundup Of Cloud Computing Forecasts, 2017. Retrieved from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2017/04/29/roundup-of-cloud-computing-forecasts-2017/#41481b5331e8

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