How does our load balancer support a DevOps approach?

How does our load balancer support a DevOps approach?

Automation Updated on 3 mins

Many organizations are adopting DevOps development methodologies, enabling them to deliver and update applications more quickly.  But what the heck has this got to do with load balancing?!  I'll let you into a little secret: it's all about automation.

What is DevOps?

The term DevOps was coined by Patric Debois back in 2009 to convey the merging of two traditionally separate IT disciplines – IT development and IT operations. Since 2009 we have seen the emergence of terms like DevSecOps, NetOps, NetSecOps, SecOps, and (most recently) Platform Operations (PlOps!!!) which have all been derived by specialist teams that are embracing the DevOps approach.

Indeed DevOps is a collaborative approach to designing, building, launching, managing, and upgrading apps that involve software engineers, IT operations managers, and a whole host of other IT professionals working together. Through improved collaboration and the removal of traditional working siloes, applications can be developed more quickly and updated often as part of a continuous cycle of innovation, integration, and deployment (CI/CD).

Crucially, DevOps is underpinned by the key principle that everything needs to be automated. The entire DevOps pipeline contains automated integration, testing, deployment, and application performance monitoring.

DevOps for app development

More and more organizations are adopting DevOps as their preferred application development approach, driven by the need to launch sophisticated apps more quickly – and then adapt them repeatedly – to address changing business challenges and seize emerging market opportunities.  The days when developers spent months or even years developing applications that never change once they've gone live, are far behind us.

What are the implications for load balancers?

When adopting a DevOps strategy, organizations will almost inevitably need to introduce new automation tools to help them automate the release process and deliver a high volume of application changes on a frequent basis, as effortlessly as possible.  It is this use of automation that has implications for load balancing, rather than the DevOps strategy itself.

The knock-on effect of DevOps on load balancing can most simply be described like this:

  • DevOps needs automation tools
  • Automation tools need to control load balancers
  • So, load balancers need application programming interfaces (APIs) compatible with automation tools

Let’s look at this in a bit more detail.

1.DevOps needs automation
The whole purpose of the DevOps approach is to enable applications to be upgraded repeatedly and quickly.  In this way, organizations can keep on improving services for users, adapt quickly to unexpected circumstances, and stay one step ahead of their competition.  However, this continuous cycle of ‘develop and deploy’ cannot be easily maintained without the use of automation and orchestration tools, like Ansible and Puppet, that simplify the release phase and remove many hours of manual effort.  

2. Automation impacts load balancers
Automation tools manage and automate many of the repetitive processes involved in software deployments and updates, allowing changes to be made across all constituents in a complex application infrastructure at the same time.  Most enterprise applications comprise of a myriad of pieces (including web servers, application servers, and database servers, all with their own APIs), and automation tools need to be able to connect with and control all of these different components, to ensure that they receive the updates simultaneously and continue to work optimally.  As load balancers are often tightly embedded in large application infrastructures, they too need to be controllable by automation tools.

3.Load balancers need to provide APIs
For an automation tool to be able to control a load balancer (whether it is hardware, virtual or cloud-based), the two technologies need to be able to communicate – and they do this using an API.  So long as the load balancer has a compatible API, the automation tool will be able to send commands to change the way that the load balancer operates without manual intervention, allowing more frequent, faster changes to the way that the load balancer manages application traffic.  Load balancers that have flexible APIs can empower organizations, giving them more control over the continuous and automatic development of their apps.  

Loadbalancer.org is DevOps-ready

All of Loadbalancer.org’s load balancers are supplied with an API that is already compatible with automation tools commonly used in DevOps environments. Market-leading automation solutions such as Puppet can ‘talk’ remotely to our load balancers and make configuration changes as often as necessary, in an automated way, to enable frequent updates to existing applications.  

Consequently, organizations that use Loadbalancer.org products can relax, safe in the knowledge that their load balancers are already DevOps-ready.  So whether they have already embraced DevOps methodologies or are planning to do so, Loadbalancer.org products fit seamlessly within their DevOps world.

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