Explore Autonomous Cloud Management at an Autonomous Cloud Lab

The path to Autonomous Cloud Management (ACM) and NoOps is a transformational journey that reaches all parts of an organization. It fundamentally changes how teams and tools work together with a common goal: deliver software faster, more frequently and with a higher degree of quality. If you want to read more about what ACM is and how it came to be, please check my other blog post where I talk about the concepts and Dynatrace’s own journey.

A state of ACM and NoOps is not something you can buy off the shelf or by combining a set of “cloud tools”. It is a mind shifting change that improves on the way companies build, test, deliver and release software, introducing new technologies and changing how existing technologies are used.

Does this all sound a bit overwhelming? Not sure where to start? Want to dip your toe in first and test the water? We at Dynatrace understand that. For these reasons, and to educate you, we have developed a five-day immersive Autonomous Cloud Lab (ACL) which will walk you through some of the key concepts of what it means to not only talk ACM but also walk it.

What is an Autonomous Cloud Lab?

This lab is organized to happen in one of our tech competencies centers around the world – or privately on your premise – where you and likeminded ACM enthusiasts can go through the paces in an all-encompassing lab environment. You’ll be introduced to modern software architecture concepts, containers, feature flags, CI/CD pipeline tools, container orchestration tools, runbook automation tools and much more.

What does an ACL look like?

During the Lab session, we cover the ACM building blocks and show you how you can make ACM happen in front of your own eyes so that you become the master of your ACM destiny. The typical agenda looks like this:

Autonomous Cloud Lab agenda
Autonomous Cloud Lab agenda

ACM Concepts covers what ACM is, what it means for organizations and why we are striving towards it. It also talks about our own history and how we implemented ACM.

Cloud native concepts and technologies is where we look at the tech stack that we’ll be using during our little journey towards ACM. It answers questions like “what are containers” and “how do I use Kubernetes”?

During the monolith to microservices with feature flags lab we’ll take an existing monolithic application and show you how you can start converting an existing application to microservices by breaking it apart and using feature flags to release your enhanced services to your users.

Following on from that, our developing microservices lab session will demonstrate best practices you can leverage for microservice development.

At the core of ACM is a world-class monitoring solution and during the Monitoring as a Service with Dynatrace lab we show you how you can make monitoring a part of your software delivery DNA. During this session you’ll also see how you can automatically monitor an entire Kubernetes cluster with almost zero effort, make sure that your entities are automatically correctly named and tagged, and add extra meta information to further improve the richness of the monitoring data.

Once your application environment has been properly monitored, you can put it to good use. During the Performance as a Self-service lab you’ll learn how to make performance part of your delivery pipeline. Other areas covered during this session include:

  • Ensuring that every build that gets released into your environment is properly, and automatically vetted for performance.
  • Add quality gates where you can compare the monitoring data that is retrieved from Dynatrace and define how your software should behave in each part of the delivery life cycle.
  • Then, based on your results, you’ll be given an automatic green – or red – light and stop problems before they reach production.

How can you take the next version of your app and release it easily, quickly and with confidence to production? Do you want to keep using a replacement strategy with huge downtimes while you bring up your new application? What if you have to revert? Answers to these questions can be found in the Deploying applications to production using modern deployment patterns lab where we discuss hot topics such as blue/green and canary deployments.

Let’s face it, change is inevitable, and here at Dynatrace we encourage it. How else would you move forward? Failure is inevitable as well.  Therefore, you should engrain the ability for software to recover in case of an unfortunate event in our software development and delivery processes. In our Auto-remediation through runbook automation session we take a look at how you can deliver software to production with the foresight that your changes might cause a negative effect on your application.

The Unbreakable Pipeline lab session will bring all these concepts together. During this session, watch an application that has a performance degradation introduced during development get stopped before being promoted to production by the use of automatic quality gates. For this same application you’ll then enable a feature flag at run time in production which causes an increase in failure rate which then gets reverted automatically by our runbook automation platform launched by Dynatrace’s AI.

While the first four days of our ACL will focus on techniques, technologies and process of how to get to an ACM world, the Keptn Framework section handles how this framework can automate the automation. How do you ensure that your build pipelines are as agile and easy to change as the applications that you’re trying to deploy? In the end you want to ensure that you’re able to take any supportive tool in your pipeline and replace it with something else when necessary.

How can you improve the way your operations team handles incidents and communicates with different stakeholders? How can you make monitoring an even more engrained part of your teams? These are questions answered during the Virtual Operations section of the ACL where you look at linking Dynatrace with Slack; using the Dynatrace Davis assistant and look at how the Dynatrace UFO can make your organization always aware of the state of your applications whether they are in development, staging or production.

To drive things home, on the last portion of the ACL we will look at how we can get your organization on a path towards ACM. We challenge you throughout the ACL to think of an application or a team where you could implement ACM concepts and during the Project section, we start with the first steps: building an Autonomous Cloud Plan.

Where to go from here

As you can see, achieving ACM is not a one-day job. By breaking it down into smaller pieces however, it is something that your organization can easily achieve. Together with Autonomous Cloud Architects to guide you, the ACL is a perfect way to get introduced and explore your vision towards ACM.

Want to learn more or interested in attending an ACL? Registration is super easy! Just go to the Dynatrace University ACL Page and sign up for the session of your choice. You can also check out what customers have to say about attending an Autonomous Cloud Lab by watching this short video.  And if you’d like to organize a private ACL session, get in touch with your Dynatrace representative to learn more.

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