12 Tips to Avoid Gridlock in the Cloud | Opinions | ChannelWorld.in

PARTNER HOTLINES

12 Tips to Avoid Gridlock in the Cloud

By David Taber on Apr 04, 2012
David Taber About the author

David Taber

David Taber is the author of the new Prentice Hall book, "Salesforce.com Secrets of Success" and is the CEO of SalesLogistix, a certified Salesforce.com consultancy focused on business process improvement through use of CRM systems. SalesLogistix clients are in North America, Europe, Israel, and India, and David has over 25 years experience in high tech, including 10 years at the VP level or above.

In Star Wars, Coruscant is an entire planet that's a city. And in the movie, traffic flows in three dimensions as everyone flies around - without any accidents. As it's science fiction, there aren't even any traffic jams.
Things aren't so nice in the real world. For a real thrill, try driving in Bangalore or Rome. I've never seen any traffic accidents in Rome (do the FIATs simply vaporize on impact?), but I've been in taxis there that drove on the wrong side of the street, and on the sidewalk, and skidding around on cobblestones.

In the cloud of science fiction, deployment is smooth and painless, verging on pushbutton. This is true for simple applications that don't have a lot of dependencies or interactions with external systems or third-party applications. And it can even be true for complex cloud deploymentifyou do the following:

1. Check for driver's licenses. To avoid deployment traffic jams and accidents, administrative certifications really matter (even more than developer certifications in most cases).
2. Have your scrum teams include a process step for architectural review of proposed changes. Some of the most innocent-sounding changes in access controls, validation rules, and even picklist values can have big repercussions. This goes double if you have more than one scrum team working in parallel.
3. If you can find a configuration management (or at least audit) tool that works across most of your cloud technologies, use it. If you can't, use version-managed documents to keep track of what's changing. Google docs work well, particularly if you archive the docs into static files for archiving on a weekly basis.
4. Have unit tests for all modules that have more than 90 percent test coverage and do assertion testing for major positive and negative test cases. For the core business logic, consider using test-driven development.
5. Run all unit tests and record results every day, even if there is no change to your code. Your SaaS platform or third-party software elements may have changed without your knowing about it. If there is any unit test failure, that goes to the scrum team as their highest priority "story."
6. Use ANT or some similar scriptable deployment system on a regular basis, and try to follow the Continuous Integration (CI) best practices of Agile.
7. Have system-level tests that exercise every external interface with representative test data, and that perform a statistical sanity check on the database (e.g., "do we have 50% new customers since the last test run?"
8. Run all system tests and record results at least once a week, even if there is no change to your code. Not only may the platform or third-party software elements have changed, your system's data may have expanded or changed in ways that invoke code paths in previously-untested ways. Test failures go to the scrum team with highest priority.
9. Have several sandboxes (essentially, one per sub-team) which are frequently synchronized / refreshed. The sync/refresh cycle should be an explicitly scheduled item that becomes part of the scrum-team's agenda.
10. Have system administration configuration control practices that prevent experimental changes from persisting beyond the experiment.
11. Have controls that prevent undocumented changes to either sandbox or production systems.
12. Have controls that prevent changes from being applied directly to production systems.

What to Do in the Real World

Science fiction is fine, but cloud vendors are innovating like mad and it's early days for deployment infrastructure and discipline. The best cloud vendors do a good job for their direct customers, but there's not much they can do for other vendors' technology, let alone open source services.

All too many teams simply haven't put in place the deployment infrastructure and disciplines listed above. If you're in that situation, you need to assess the risk of where you are and prioritize corrections accordingly.

If your team is in immediate trouble (e.g., you can't get a bug-fix deployed), the first priority is to get out of your skid. As with a spin, the rule is to focus on getting control of the situation, not actually getting where you want to go. Then, figure out how to simplify the problem by turning things off, reducing the number of variables. Once you have the fire put out, make sure that deployment infrastructure and practices get prioritized ahead of any new feature development. Why? You've built up a technical debt that has to be paid. Make sure that every new project pays a "deployment tax," so that the deployment infrastructure and discipline are not starved for resources and can step up to the challenge as the number of moving parts increases. Otherwise, you'll never get out of your gridlock situation.

Latest Opinions

  • SMAC: Stay More Agile Constantly

    This year’s Premier100 2015 awards acknowledged the achievements of Indian channel partners who leveraged agile strategies to stay ahead in a world invaded by social, mobile, analytics and cloud computing.

    Yogesh Gupta
  • Becoming an innovative anticipator

    Last month, I talked about why there was never a better time to be an IT professional as the IT maturity curve reaches a new level.

  • Not guilty: Xiaomi's not a very good Apple killer

    The Macalope would suggest that Apple must be a cat what with the number of times it's been purported to have been killed, but a cat only has nine lives so Apple would have to be, what? A dozen cats? A dozen smiling, unconcerned cats, defiantly licking their crotches, because they can?

    The Macalope
  • Oculus: Creating a Rift

    Facebook is currently only pushing the Windows version of Rift. This, more than anything else, will help the Redmond company win the mind share game.

    Balaji Narasimhan
India's Leading VADs

Why Channels Want to Partner With Inflow Technologies

Inflow Technologies’ tie up with 39 vendor companies, an extensive tech portfolio, and a services play, are great value propositions for enterprise channels, says its President and CEO, Byju Pillai.

iValue Creates Real Value for Channels in India

Focused on niche vendor alliances around data, network and app management backed by a robust channel ecosystem marked iValue's success in 2014. What clicked for the seven-year-old VAD?

RAH Infotech Shows Channels the Way Ahead

Mutual trust and long lasting bond with vendor companies and channel partners helps VADs to evolve and succeed in today’s aggressively competitive market. Leveraging competent channel partners and forge niche vendor alliances marks RAH Infotech’s success in 2014.

How Satcom Infotech is Adapting to New Security Landscape

As a leading value added distributor, Satcom Infotech is emerging as an end-to-end security player, helping both customers and partners grow.

How ComGuard Shields Channel Partners

As emerging technologies introduce new threats to the enterprise landscape, they are making channel partners anxious. But VADs like ComGuard are putting their worries to rest. Here's how.

Tech Chat

Collaborating To Outcome Based World: Priyadarshi Mohapatra, Avaya

Priyadarshi Mohapatra, Managing Director, India and SAARC, Avaya, on how IT is transitioning from a keep-the-lights-on role to one that enables customers to deliver results.

The Dawn of the Digital Age: Akhilesh Tuteja, KPMG

The development of digital infrastructure will be a key growth driver for technology and solution providers. 

Paradigm Shift from End-Users to User-First : Parag Arora,Citrix

Parag Arora, Area Vice President and India Head, India Sub-continent, Citrix, says new technologies will force organizations to take a user-first approach in 2015.

Mobile and Cloud Are Gamechangers of the Future: Karan Bajwa, Microsoft

Karan Bajwa, Managing Director, Microsoft India, says, in  2015, organizations will adopt a mobile-first and cloud-first strategy to get ahead of competition.

A Network for the Internet of Everything : Dinesh Malkani,Cisco

Dinesh Malkani, President, India and SAARC, Cisco, talks about IoT and the significant technology transitions in the networking world.

Moving to the Third Platform: Jaideep Mehta, IDC

Cloud and mobility are the two technologies that will fuel the rapid adoption of the third platform in India.

Envisaging a Holistic Security Strategy For 2015: Sanjay Rohatgi,Symantec

Sanjay Rohatgi, President–Sales, Symantec India, says the company has a set of holistic solutions in place to secure organizations from security threats. 

Beating the Bad Guys: Sivarama Krishnan, PwC

Organizations will need to turn inwards to establish robust information security strategies.

Building Capabilities for a Digital Tomorrow: Alok Ohrie,Dell

Alok Ohrie, President and Managing Director, Dell India, on the company’s investments to build end-to-end solutions and delivery capabilities for a digital world.

SLIDESHOWS

CIO Survey: What’s Inside Your Customer’s Mind (Cloud Computing)

A look at the findings of the State of the CIO 2014 survey and the challenges, benefits, and strategies of cloud computing that are keeping your customers on their toes. As their channel partners, here's what you need to know.

CEO Comebacks: For Better or for Worse?

We bring to you six global CEOs who made the idea work, or not.

Datacenters in the Weirdest Places

A peek into some of the most unusual datacenter locations in the world. Here are 13 datacenters that are built in unusual locations like mines, ships, trucks and even a nuclear collidor. Taking about common wisdom, eh?

6 Leaders Who Headed for an Abrupt Exit

The abrupt exit of top leaders of Indian and global tech companies this year, with many of them citing ambiguous reasons, surprised the technology world.

FAST TRACK

Kamtron Systems

Transitioning towards a service-oriented company will boost our growth, believes Kavita Singhal, director, Kamtron Systems.

TIM Infratech

Delivering ‘best of breed’ technologies to enterprises is key to success, says Monish Chhabria, MD, TIM Infratech

Mudra Electronics

A vendor-agnostic strategy helped us sustain business, says Bharat Shetty, CMD, Mudra Electronics.

Systematix Technologies

Our USP is a customer-friendly approach backed by services, says Akhilesh Khandelwal, Director, Systematix Technologies.

CorporateServe Solutions

Our ability to turnaround complex ERP projects in record time is what gets us customer referral, says Vinay Vohra, Founder & CEO, CorporateServe Solutions.

KernelSphere Technologies

We are emerging as an end-to-end systems integrator, says Vinod Kumar, MD, KernelSphere Technologies.

Uniware Systems

We constantly validate emerging technologies for first-mover advantage, says Vergis K.R., CEO, Uniware Systems.

Astek Networking & Solutions

An innovative approach helps us stay successful, says Ashish Agarwal, CEO, Astek Networking & Solutions.

CSM Technologies

Our approach is backed by innovation and simplicity, says Priyadarshi Nanu Pany, CEO, CSM Technologies.

EMC PARTNER SHOWCASE

Partnering for Profitability

Atul H. Gosar, Director, Network Techlab, shares how the company’s association with EMC has provided it with a competitive edge and a wide customer base, leading to increased profitability.

Sponsored Content

Promising Pipeline

Venkat Murthy, Prime Mover, 22by7 Solutions, shares how EMC brings in competitive edge by enabling technology, GTM and lead generation, helping 22by7 acquire new customers and retain old ones.

Sponsored Content

Powerful Performance

Deepak Jadhav, Director, VDA Infosolutions, says initiatives by EMC around training and certification have helped the company’s staff improve its performance and enhance customer experience.

Sponsored Content

Performance Booster

Rajiv Kumar, CEO, Proactive Data Systems, says that the solution provider’s association with EMC has helped expand its customer base and added value to existing offerings.

Sponsored Content

Pursuit of Profitability

Santosh Agrawal, CEO, Esconet Technologies, shares insights on how the systems integrator’s association with EMC has spelled sustained success over the years.

Sponsored Content

Non-Performance is Not an Option

Nitin Aggarwal, Director, Trifin Technologies, shares insights on how the association with EMC has helped the system integrator stand out and empowered its personnel to deliver consistent performance.

Sponsored Content

SOCIAL MEDIA @ CW India
SIGNUP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

Signup for our newsletter and get regular updates.