Jenkins: invest in the infrastructure, not just the tool

Jenkins: invest in the infrastructure, not just the tool

Jenkins has built a reputation as arguably the most popular build automation tools – with over 1,650,000 global users at the time of writing. With an unparalleled plugin ecosystem, Jenkins supports project build, deployment, automation and practically every tool within your delivery pipeline.

Its increasing popularity has seen a broader range of teams, with varying degrees of technical skill, adopting Jenkins as their driver to Continuous Delivery.

Due to their lack of technical knowledge, these teams require a more bespoke user interface. Enter Blue Ocean, a plugin that introduces a new user interface that makes Continuous Delivery more accessible to this new audience, without sacrificing any of the power of Jenkins.

Whilst this is an impressive use of the platforms, other organisations haven’t been quite as successful as integrating secondary technologies and are struggling to get the results they expect Jenkins to deliver.

Identifying the challenges

When it comes to digital transformation or change programs, issues are more likely to appear when businesses fail to invest in the processes that enable them to get the most out of the tools they choose.

“The tool selection process can be long and protracted. So, when a business settles on a tool, the temptation is to begin using it as soon as possible” says ECS Digital Founder and Managing Director, Andy Cureton.

By neglecting to invest in the infrastructure to support Jenkins and failing to implement best practices for usage and training, businesses are diminishing their chances of a successful implementation.

This is also true when businesses choose to select only parts of Jenkins to implement, rather than in investing in the tools as a whole. Here are some of the most common challenges we find:

Fixing the problem

Making sure that your implementation is architected to support your business from the outset is a key way to avoid the above issues. Here are two real examples that illustrate not only the business challenges, but the solution we have implemented to overcome them:

Example 1: We were engaged by a leading UK financial institution to assist with an issue around the creation of jobs in Jenkins. Upon arrival, we found a monolithic Jenkins instance running around 6,000 jobs. After closer investigation, we discovered that over 5,000 of these had been created by a single individual – an issue caused by a lack of understanding of up-to-date best practice use of features and processes.

To solve the issue, we identified configuration and installation practices that were outdated, and introduced a new roadmap to the team. This roadmap showcased best practices and new processes to follow. We also introduced a new feature to assist with increasing the workflow output. This allowed the tech team lead to create seven templated jobs, replacing the 5,000+ jobs created from the two initial seed jobs.

Example 2: We were brought onboard to help a global integrator of communication products and services for multinational corporations. This was the company’s first Continuous Integration (CI) project in Asia Pacific and received SAT sign-off late last month.

Using open source Jenkins and additional services such as the configuration of Perforce, we successfully delivered the CI implementation. We also had engineering capabilities onsite to provide continuous support during the knowledge transfer and troubleshooting sessions with the client’s project team. This has enabled the client’s team to embrace Jenkins full capabilities, including the infrastructure that supports the tool.

What are my next steps?

You get out of a tool what you put into it so it’s important to take the time to secure the processes around Jenkins. As Andy Cureton says, a process that works for 10 people may also work for 100, start creaking for 1,000 and completely fail for 10,000”.

If your business is currently using, or is thinking about using Jenkins, we highly recommend investing time in learning the ins and outs of the tool, so you can drive the most value and avoid projects unravelling as you scale.

This March, we are offering hands-on Cloudbees Jenkins training courses in Singapore to help teach you the basic principles; from how to set up, configure and administer Jenkins, to learning about Declarative Pipeline using Blue Ocean Editor and the Blue Ocean text editor.

Be quick! This course sells out fast:

Register now

Kok Hoong WaiJenkins: invest in the infrastructure, not just the tool
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How to go from good to great with Jenkins and ECS Digital

How to go from good to great with Jenkins and ECS Digital

With an unparalleled plugin ecosystem, Jenkins supports project build, deployment, automation and practically every tool within your delivery pipeline. Owned by CloudBees, Jenkins currently has 1,650,000 global users, and is arguably the world’s most loved open source build servers. But with so many features, many users stick to the basics without tapping into the rich value streams Jenkins has to offer.

This infographic takes a look at some of the features you should be paying attention to and how ECS Digital can help you get the most out of your Continuous Integration (CI) software:

Official Jenkins Training

As well as being the Cloudbees’ Service Delivery Partner of the Year, ECS Digitals are also authorised training partners, offering a range of official Jenkins training courses for all skills levels. We are currently  running a 4-day official training course in Singapore from the 25th to 28th March.

If you are interested in learning about Continuous Integration concepts, project build, deployment, automation, and practically every tool with your delivery pipeline, register for our training course.

Here at ECS Digital we’re always happy to talk about what we do, why and how. If you’re interested in finding out how we can help you, please do get in touch.

Kok Hoong WaiHow to go from good to great with Jenkins and ECS Digital
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Why learning for future innovation is an essential skill 

Why learning for future innovation is an essential skill 

There are few parts of our lives that haven’t been fundamentally changed by the growth of technology over the past few decades – and nobody knows this better than Information Technology (IT) professionals. In fact, if you work in IT there’s a good chance that your job didn’t even exist ten years ago. But technology isn’t only changing the IT world: it’s changing almost every facet of the way we live, work and interact. 

How you approach this level of change on a daily basis can either be the catalyst for boundless innovation or a serious detriment to the success of your business. In this blog, we’ll take a look at why being prepared to learn for future innovation can be the best defence against stagnation in an ever-changing market. 

Learning for future innovation requires specific techniques and agility 

Learning for future innovation is a very different process to learning for something that already exists. Learning for an existing technology is more straight-forward because the method you choose is already tried and tested. Learning for future innovation, by contrast, seems almost self-contradictory.

While it’s certainly no walk in the park, there are ways to make this easier, and at the rate that technology continues to drive our world forward, there will be an ever-increasing number of topics to cover. And, if the mounting evidence is to be believed, most of us have been taught how to learn ‘wrongly’ throughout our lives. For professionals who are serious about learning future technologies, it’s vital to be able to adapt to a variety of working conditions, learning styles and environments in order to think outside the box and innovate more easily than the competition. 

Everybody learns in their own way; no two learning styles are the same. 

Every person has their preferred learning style, and what works for one person might be totally ineffective for the next. Here are the most common learning styles: 

  • Elaborative interrogation: Being able to explain why an explicitly stated fact or concept is true – in other words, repeatedly questioning the facts or pushing the concept to its limits 
  • Self-explanation: Explaining new concepts in the context of existing information, or explaining the necessary steps taken during problem solving. 
  • Summarisation: Summarising information in various lengths, to study from later 
  • Highlighting/underlining: Marking the pertinent sections of a text or piece of work to be revisited later 
  • Keyword mnemonic: Using keywords and mental imagery to associate verbal materials 
  • Imagery for text: Forming a set of related mental images from text materials while reading or listening 
  • Rereading: Restudying text material again after an initial reading, often several times 
  • Practice testing: Self-testing or doing practice tests on the material that needs to be learned 
  • Distributed practice: Implementing a schedule of practice that spreads out study activities over time, with the objective of forming a long-term understanding 
  • Interleaved practice: A schedule of practice that mixes different kinds of problems, or a study programme that mixes different kinds of material within one single study session 

Having an understanding of the different learning styles and how they differ from one another isn’t only a good way to find out which works best for you, it’s also a valuable tool for understanding how the other members of your team may prefer to learn. Ultimately, working as a team means being able to translate new information into a format your colleagues are able to understand is as important as being able to understand it yourself. 

DevOps courses in Singapore 

Whether you’re a DevOps veteran looking for a new opportunity for innovation or an aspiring newbie, ECS Digital Singapore offers a comprehensive selection of training courses that cover everything from DevOps basics to advanced tips and tricks.  

Having spent over 12 years implementing DevOps in organisations around the world, we have adopted a variety of learning styles to ensure what we teach can be easily absorbed by those wishing to learn.   

In our experience, one of the most effective styles for developing skills in new technology and tools is face-to-face sessions. With this in mind, we have partnered with Singapore Management University to deliver an interactive three-day course designed to give you a better understanding of the DevOps methodology.  

If you’d like to find out more about developing your DevOps understanding and skills further, visit our training page to find out more about our Adopting DevOps course in Singapore. 

Kok Hoong WaiWhy learning for future innovation is an essential skill 
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Learning DevOps: Theory versus Practice

Learning DevOps: Theory versus Practice

DevOps is notoriously difficult to define.

There are many reasons for this, not least of which is that it’s not simply a skill, a tool or a process – it’s a combination of all three. More specifically, it is how these three factors interact to bring about a change in the way software is delivered. For this reason, learning DevOps is a tricky thing to talk about.

Knowing the theory behind good DevOps practices is essential, but without any practical knowledge, you’ll quickly find yourself out of your depth in your organisation’s DevOps journey. As Alfred Korzybski put it, ‘the map is not the territory’. But that doesn’t mean you should jump head-first into DevOps without any kind of roadmap.

In short, mastering DevOps requires both a solid understanding of the theory that underpins it, as well as the ability to handle the reality of DevOps in practice. In this blog, we’ll look at what this means for learning DevOps.

Theory provides the foundation, practice allows for innovation.

In a strange way, learning DevOps is similar to learning how to play an instrument: you could spend years studying the theory and learning how to read music, but if you never sit down to practice, you won’t have any idea how to actually play a piece of music. In the same way, learning the fundamentals of DevOps lays the groundwork, but without practical experience, you’ll very quickly find yourself out of your depth.

A significant part of success with DevOps relies on innovation – the theory might show you how to accomplish something, but there is no ‘one size fits all’ DevOps solution. With practice, you’ll be able to refine and adapt the theory to create a variation that suits your organisation perfectly.

By no means is this a recipe for success. You may get some broken chords along the way, but the key is to learn from your mistakes and improve. As Elon Musk – CEO of Tesla and SpaceX – says “If you’re not failing, you’re not innovating enough.” Ultimately, having a good handle on both the theory and practical application of DevOps is essential for organisations that pride themselves on innovation.

What is DevOps theory, and where do I learn it?

The way we see it at ECS Digital, DevOps consultancy consists of three components: people, processes and tools – in that order.

DevOps theory is concerned with the first two: people and processes. Because DevOps makes some fundamental changes to the way people within the organisation collaborate, getting a handle on the theory behind it requires completely rethinking the nature of a software company from the ground up. At its core, DevOps is influenced by the principles of agile software development – continuous delivery and integration. Shorter delivery times and working in sprints are the legacy of agile development’s influence on DevOps.

There are many resources for learning about DevOps theory all around the internet, from blogs, to social media portals, to training videos on sites like Vimeo and YouTube. However, more in-depth training focuses on theory and practice in equal measure, since mastering DevOps requires an understanding of both as two sides of the same coin. 

What is the best way to learn about DevOps in practice?

The final component of DevOps in ECS Digital’s view are the tools that underpin the software delivery processes and bring DevOps to life. Defining exactly what a DevOps tool is can be problematic, since there are many aspects of the practice that can be augmented with a huge number of tools. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for different organisations to use entirely different combinations of tooling depending on what works best for them.

Typically, DevOps tools can be grouped into some core categories:

  1. Configuration Management – tools like Ansible, Puppet and Chef make it possible to manage and automate infrastructure as code;
  2. Application Deployment – tools such as Automic and Jenkins provide the framework for continuous integration;
  3. Delivery

Learning which of these are most valuable to your cause comes with experience of the tools themselves. The DevOps training offered by ECS Digital Singapore provides the theoretical foundations and then introduces the practical concept with some of the leading tools.

DevOps courses in Singapore

Whether you’re a DevOps veteran looking for new opportunity for innovation or an aspiring newbie, ECS Digital offers a comprehensive selection of training courses in Singapore that cover everything from DevOps basics to advanced tips and tricks.

Not only do we have 12 years’ experience implementing DevOps in organisations around the world and in a myriad of different industries, we have partnered with Singapore Management University to deliver an interactive three-day course designed to give you a better understanding of the DevOps methodology.

If you’d like to find out more about developing your DevOps understanding and skills further, visit our training page to find out more about our Adopting DevOps course in Singapore.

Kok Hoong WaiLearning DevOps: Theory versus Practice
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Singapore is not DevOps ready but ready for DevOps

Singapore is not DevOps ready but ready for DevOps

DevOps is a culture that has been exponentially gaining popularity in its application and adoption in many European and American based companies. In spite of its popularity though, much of Asia is slow on its adoption, and Singapore is no different. In spite of this however, as a globalised city, Singapore is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the experience of the matured DevOps markets and spread it throughout the region.

What is DevOps?

Before any company can adopt DevOps, it is important to pinpoint what DevOps is, and just as importantly what it isn’t.

‘DevOps is automation and Infrastructure as Code’. No, it isn’t. It’s not a team either

Having automation doesn’t make an organisation “do” DevOps anymore than having a car makes one a driver. In both examples, the tool is certainly critical, but it’s part of it rather than the whole idea.


In addition to the above misconception, one very common misnomer of DevOps is having a “DevOps team”. There is no such thing. There can be a team dedicated to maintenance of the automation tools and the maintenance of the pipeline, but there is no team that is “doing DevOps”. If there exists such a thing within the organisation than they are doing DevOps wrong.

The culture of DevOps

As this subtitle indicates, DevOps is a culture. It is not a tool, it is not a team and it most certainly is not a passing fad. DevOps is the logical extension of the popular Agile methodology.

While the Agile methodology can, and has, fill entire books, for brevity, the key principles are “collaboration, flexibility and adaptability”. DevOps is all about continuous feedback and the dissolution of programming silos (groups) to encourage cooperation and quicker responses. This is carried out through the automation of as many processes as possible.

Credit: Atlassian

The above infinity figure is very popular when describing DevOps. While the specific details of each section may differ from organisation to organisation, its essence remains the same; DevOps is a concept that loops back onto itself, providing a continuous process.

Developers keen on reducing overhead and improving their processes is one thing, but management must also

Continuous Integration is all about developing a pipeline that integrates the code into the shared repository often and triggering the various automated tests and builds to ensure functionality, i.e. ‘if it breaks, you will know.’ The results of these builds and tests are fed back to the developers, which allows to fix the problem, if any, or move on to other work. This facilitates the quicker feature development and reaction to market changes, which all organisations strive for.

Why DevOps?

As has been established, the DevOps philosophy has many benefits when being adopted. However, how does any of that actually help the organisation?

This is where the unparalleled flexibility and adaptability of DevOps bears fruits. The reduction of development cycle times from months to weeks, even days for the more ambitious organisations, offers an unprecedented ability to react to market forces and competitors. Rather than scrambling around in a bid to mimic what rival companies have made, it becomes possible to become a market leader, pushing new releases and updates within weeks when the market is still fresh.

Even within the organisation, the culture would bear fruit. The smoothening of the development process through automation frees up resources that can be better spent elsewhere, such as actual problems that need addressing instead of facilitating the work of others.

Automated testing allows developers to identify issues with minor code commits immediately, and with no overhead from needing to create test cases or environments. On top of that, this has the side benefit of preventing the compounding of bugs and issues to be discovered on “deployment day”, with entire weekends burnt debugging the now massive code merges.

How Singapore is not DevOps ready but ready for DevOps

Many companies in Singapore still suffer under the misconceptions of what DevOps is and isn’t. Without a strong push from the government or a market disruptor, there is no strong impetus for organisations to innovate or change. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. This status quo won’t remain as is however; change is the only constant. Eventually, companies will be forced to adapt or be left behind.

That being said, that companies and teams in Singapore are trying to integrate the DevOps culture is a good sign and a step in the right direction. As the regional hub and the gateway of many companies into the region, Singapore can easily lead the region with its established technology foothold and infrastructure.

Bringing newcomers up to speed

Regardless of the organisation, on-boarding of newcomers is a significant drain on resources. From the initial probationary period, to familiarisation with company culture to training in the usage of company tools, each step can be a challenge to succeed. Let us at ECS digital help you do so. The flexibility of our courses can be custom-suited to the tools and frameworks used by your organisation. Not only will students walk away with a clearer understanding of what DevOps is, but they will have a foundation of what it means to your organisation and how the philosophy and tools facilitate this.

Kok Hoong WaiSingapore is not DevOps ready but ready for DevOps
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DevOpsDays Beijing 2018

DevOpsDays Beijing 2018

The DevOpsDays conference took place on 5th May at Empark Grand Hotel. It is the second run in Beijing with 2017 being the first. There seems to be a significant drop in attendance as compared to 2017 but it still garnered a good crowd of an estimated 600+ professionals. 

This year, the DevOpsDays China core organising committee is planning to host the second DevOpsDays Shanghai event in August and the first DevOpsDays Shenzhen event in November. Looks like they will eventually reach out to more cities in the near future.

The morning session of the conference comprises talks like “Journey from Enterprise Architecture to DevOps” and “The dirty parts of DevOps” that are delivered to the whole audience while the afternoon session is made of 3 tracks, namely, Finance, Internet and DevOps Practices.



I attended the Finance track that is made up of implementation stories sharing and talks like “Digitalization: DevOps Design and Thinking” and “Release Fast or Die!”. The finale was anchored by Jez Humble with his talk on “what i learned from 4 years sciencing the crap out of devops”.

Another highlight for DevOpsDays Beijing 2018 is the official launch of the Chinese edition of The DevOps Handbook written by Gene Kim, Jez Humble John Willis and Patrick Debois. Accordingly, the team of translators took about one and a half years to complete this translation work! A commendable effort to benefit the Chinese community. 

Through the use of Wechat, the organisers are able to connect with event attendees through live updates of event information, sharing of official photos taken during the event and conducting of lucky draws via real time games. Even theslides from all speakers and video recordings were shared out within 48 hours of event closure. A truly effective use of Wechat to engage with people and who knows, Wechat might one day become an integral part of China’s DevOps solutions.

From conversations with the some of the participants at the conference, it is observed that organisations in China are generally faced with similar challenges that organisations in other countries in the region are also facing. In particular, smaller organisations or startups are more willing to experiment with new concepts and hence they might be the ones that are spear-heading the initial DevOps movement.


Large organisations are merely adopting a sit-back-and-watch-first approach, with a lack of strong mandate and support from higher management. Eventually when success stories start to build up sufficiently, these big boys will surely take DevOps more seriously.

Generally, China is catching up very fast in promoting DevOps adoption. As observed by one of the speakers, there has been multi-fold increase in the number of job advertisements for DevOps related positions over the past one year. He even jokingly advised participants to start changing their job titles to increase their market value. In time to come, China may well be the “Big Brother” of DevOps in the APAC region. 


We’d like to thank the organisers of DevOpsDays Beijing.  It was a great event and we hope to see everyone again in the upcoming meet ups and DevOps events.


If you’d like to get in touch with us about how we can help you implement DevOps in your business, just click the link below.

Kok Hoong WaiDevOpsDays Beijing 2018
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