DevOps automation has come a long way. As we’ve shifted from a monolith to a distributed, microservices architecture and from hosting our applications on-prem to the cloud, there’s now a booming ecosystem of DevOps tools to help us build CI/CD pipelines and do automated testing. It’s never been easier to develop and deploy an application, the series of steps sometimes referred to as “Day-1 operations.”
There are also DevOps jobs for teams that operate cloud applications running in production environments. These jobs include security operations (SecOps), on-call duty and troubleshooting, customer support, and building infrastructure and tools to support internal product development teams. These important responsibilities are often referred to as “Day-2 operations.”
But Day-2 operations for cloud based applications is still a hard and unsolved problem.
With the shift to micro services and cloud native applications, we’ve encountered the following challenges:
- Applications are becoming more distributed therefore it’s a lot harder to manage them and understand the overall state of your system
- Applications are being deployed to production many times per day so understanding what has changed and what is the impact of that change is much harder
- The number of tools involved in developing, deploying, monitoring and supporting those applications is enormous. Most of them are siloed and disconnected.
- Shift from centralized IT teams that handle Day-2 operations to more distributed/decentralized developer teams working together with DevOps and SecOps teams to manage their own applications. The ownership has moved to the teams, with the "you built, you run it" approach
Building a workflow automation platform for cloud-native operations
While working at ServiceNow over 7 years as VP R&D and later as Global Chief Architect, I observed how ServiceNow was able to leverage its low-code/no-code platform to completely transform the IT industry, quickly becoming the gold standard management platform for centralized IT teams.
But if we look at how modern development and platform teams operate today, there isn't any equivalent version of ServiceNow for cloud operations. Instead, every team has to stitch and build their own solutions.
This has major drawbacks for developer productivity. Ad hoc scripts and manual actions lack repeatability, leading to additional developer toil every time a new workflow must be built. Furthermore, without a purpose-built platform to manage workflows, DevOps and SecOps lack full governance and control into all the unmanaged scripts used across different teams.
These are the biggest challenges facing cloud operations teams today:
- Teams write and use scripts that are unmanaged, lack governance and cannot easily be reused by others. This is an even greater problem at scale, when teams are managing multiple clusters and multi-region environments.
- There is no easy way to troubleshoot incidents and remediate them, so most teams still have manual playbooks that are stored in wiki pages
- Teams are missing out-of-the-box best practices and ready-to-use automations, and no one wants to reinvent the wheel
- Developers want to be self-sufficient, but there is a great deal of friction and delays as developers wait for DevOps and SecOps teams to manually process permission requests and approval flows.
Why low-code/no-code automation is the future of modern DevOps
I strongly believe that taking a low-code/no-code approach is the future for modern DevOps and SecOps teams. Automation is the only way to address the shortage of skilled cloud operators and the rapidly increasing complexity of modern cloud-native infrastructure.
We designed Blink to streamline cloud operations by giving DevOps and SecOps teams:
- Interactive automations
Automate complex workflows. Troubleshooting workflows are difficult to automate and require human assistance. Blink simplifies the process of building interactive automations, making it easy to create multi-step workflows with automated steps and/or human actions with instructions that simplify on-call duty, troubleshooting, auto-remediation, and alert enrichment.
- Collaborative workspaces
Organize your cloud operations. Instead of running unmanaged scripts across different environments, DevOps and SecOps teams need private and collaborative workspaces where they can organize all their scripts and internal workflows and share them with other developers.
- Self-service catalog
Enable other developers. Blink gives teams a modern system-of-action for cloud operations. Adopting a low-code/no-code workflow platform enables teams to create and manage self-service apps, removing the friction and delays of manual approvals processes or waiting for a new environment to be set up. Furthermore, by automating these workflows, cloud operations teams can better ensure compliance with customer SLAs.
Here are some examples of workflows that can be added to a Blink self-service catalog:
- Creating a new micro service
- Asking for a cloud resource creation
- Asking for cloud permissions
- Asking for temporary elevated permissions to solve production problems
- Automating vulnerability triage and remediation
- Fetching logs from production systems
- Running health checklists
- Running queries and actions against a production environment
- Running queries and reports about cloud billing
Get started with Blink today
Blink helps cloud operations teams achieve flow in their everyday work, by making it easy to create automated workflows across the cloud tools they use every day. The impact of adopting a low-code/no-code platform like Blink is happier, more productive DevOps and SecOps teams and more reliable, resilient cloud operations.
The best part? The low-code/no-code future for cloud operations is available today. Sign up to create a Blink account.