DevOps Playground – Hands On with CloudBuild

DevOps Playground – Hands On with CloudBuild

Led by our very own Michel Lebeau, this Playground explores the fundamentals of a CI/CD pipeline using CloudBuild.

Over the session, we walk guests through how to create a basic build config file that defines the steps and parameters needed for CloudBuild to perform your tasks.

We also look at how to build and test a golang application, and then finish off the Playground by deploying the application using Google Cloud App Engine. And then we prepared this video so you can give it a go from the comfort of your home!

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Interested in attending our next DevOps Playground in London? Follow us on Meetup to receive a notification about the next event.

Check out the Meetups we have at our other global locations:

You can also find all the information and resources you need about DevOps Playground sessions, upcoming events and past events on our website: https://devopsplayground.co.uk

Michel LebeauDevOps Playground – Hands On with CloudBuild
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DevOps Playground – Exploring Metrics with Prometheus

DevOps Playground – Exploring Metrics with Prometheus

Singapore’s last DevOps Playground was exploring metrics gathering with Prometheus. The event was hosted at the Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI).

The DevOps Playground community in Singapore is growing and this was our biggest attendance in Singapore to date! Thank you to everyone who supported us.

In this playground, we provide you with a better understanding of the monitoring capabilities of Prometheus and how those statuses can be easily displayed in a Grafana dashboard.

Follow the video above and you’ll begin to see how easy it is to set up a new Prometheus Server and use it to gather metrics from several applications.

We walk you through installing and configuring a Prometheus instance to monitor the following:

  1. Server hardware and kernel related metrics
  2. Instrumenting a Go application

The steps needed to complete this playground can be found on our Github repo:

https://github.com/DevOpsPlayground/Hands-on-with-Prometheus-2

So consider the services you are responsible for maintaining and follow the video above to see if Prometheus can help you improve the visibility of the health of those services.

Furthermore, we would advise users who are seriously looking into Prometheus for production to take into consideration the following during their planning phase:

  1. Storage Capability – Understand the size and frequency of metrics to be collected and stored.
  2. Federation – Scaling Prometheus to allow a Prometheus server to scrape selected time series from another Prometheus server.

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Interested in attending our next DevOps Playground in Singapore? Follow us on Meetup to receive a notification about the next event.

Check out our other DevOps Playground on Meetup too:

You can also find all the information and resources you need about DevOps Playground sessions, upcoming events and past events on our website: https://devopsplayground.co.uk

Melvin ChengDevOps Playground – Exploring Metrics with Prometheus
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ECS Digital at Cloud Expo Europe

ECS Digital at Cloud Expo Europe

This week saw thousands of IT professionals head to the Europe’s largest Cloud exhibition – including ECS Digital and our village of partners!

From blockchain and IoT vendors, to datacentre climate control systems manufacturers and cable suppliers, the crowds enticed anybody interested in Cloud-first, scaling up, refining, or just getting started with the tools and technology.

As has been echoed in previous events, Cloud Expo Europe is an unrivalled opportunity to meet with leading technology innovators and service providers, and network with your peers. Attendees also gain access to a wealth of knowledge and advice including emerging trends, tech deep dives, lessons learned and market forecasts.

ECS Digital once again have donned their conference apparel and deployed Europe’s only DevOps Partner Village, bringing together vendors from across the DevOps tool chain. This included Sonatype, New Relic and Storage OS – experts in application performance monitoring and artifact lifecycle management to dynamic container storage, all under one red, white and blue banner.

As you’ll probably know by now, ECS Digital is an agnostic DevOps and continuous delivery consultancy that provides professional and DevOps expertise to thousands of customers, and this year they have been showcasing the newest feather in their cap; Enablement Pods™.

Enablement PodsTM introduce a new way of working, processes and tooling. By remaining flexible in their resource profiling, our fixed priced outcome-based engagement model enables you to transform at scale by embedding – for short periods – in existing engineering teams to enable them to implement true change. What’s more, you decide the outcomes and objectives for each sprint, and we put our fees at risk to ensure we deliver.

It really is that simple.

During their talk on day one, Young DevOps Consultant of the Year 2018 Michel Lebeau and Pod Delivery Lead Tom Chapman described Enablement Pods™ as ECS Digital new weapon for making long-lasting and impactful changes in the Enterprise space. They also walked guests through how they are using Enablement Pods™, some of the challenge case studies and what Enablement Pods™ has achieved. If you missed the talk, you can learn more here.

ECS Digital also introduced a second, equally exciting initiative at Cloud Expo Europe. The DevOps Playground is supporting the tech community by giving enthusiasts a platform to explore new technology and tools. We’re also super chuffed that the Playground reached 4,000 members worldwide during the show – we’re giving credit to the talk our team delivered on day two!

I was fortunate enough to deliver the DevOps Playground story, describing how ECS Digital have used the DevOps Playground to build a tech community that encourages tech enthusiasts to not only learn about tools, but to gain hands-on experience under the supervision of engineers.

Each month, the DevOps Playground welcomes large numbers of tech-enthusiasts to one of our four worldwide locations – London, Singapore, Pune and Edinburgh. Each Playground lasts for around 2.5 hours, with a chunk of that time set aside for individuals to run and use the chosen tech / tools on their own laptop.

Attendees can expect to follow along with a structured and comprehensive exercise, designed to jumpstart new users with unfamiliar technologies and to highlight the best ways to use the technology. If this is the first you’ve heard of it, head over to the DevOps Playground website to find out more.

Other key takeaways from the show include:

  • Containers are driving the Cloud adoption of software development for 90% of the customers we spoke to
  • DevOps is the new standard for Cloud and agile working and is driving the need to modernise the more traditional methods
  • Cloud Expo is the one-stop-shop for all things Cloud – it was an eye opener seeing how much physical infrastructure goes into the ‘Cloud’

And that is just the tip of the iceberg. We will be revealing a mini-video series about Cloud Expo over the next couple of weeks to recapture some of the best moments from the show – watch this space!

Morgan AtkinsECS Digital at Cloud Expo Europe
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DevOps Playground: CI with Blue Ocean

DevOps Playground: CI with Blue Ocean

The Speaker: Matthew Song – https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-song-a16b37142/ 

Cloudbees Jenkins is the most popular open source software orchestration tool on the market due to its wealth of plugins and easy set-up of infrastructure as code. Yet where does one begin using the Jenkinsfile for setting up new project and DevOps pipeline?

Let Blue Ocean take the hassle of setting up a jenkinsfile from scratch by providing an intuitive, modern coat of paint on Jenkins user interface. With its modern design and intuitive features, Blue Ocean is here to facilitate a quick and easy setup of new Jenkins pipeline with minimal hassle.

Following the video below you’ll begin to see how easy it is to set up a new Jenkins maven Job using the Blue Ocean plugin and the intuitive feedback it provides through its modern design.

I’ve also written a step by step guide to help you through it all: https://medium.com/ecs-digital/building-a-ci-pipeline-with-blue-ocean-6bb9b02788eb

If you’re interested in attending more hands on sessions, DevOps Playgrounds are held once a month in four locations:

You can also find all the information and resources you need about DevOps Playground sessions, upcoming events and past events on our website: https://devopsplayground.co.uk

Matthew SongDevOps Playground: CI with Blue Ocean
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DevOps Playground: more than just another lecture

DevOps Playground: more than just another lecture

As the DevOps Playground enters its fourth year, we take the opportunity to look back at how the DPG was initially formed and its subsequent success.

Why ECS Digital started the DevOps Playground:

Meetups are a great way to meet like-minded people, learn something new and eat as much pizza as is humanly possible. Technology focused meetups however, often leave one excited and hopeful about a new product or technology with no easy way to explore them. Couple that with our busy lives and these new technologies will only ever be added to the long list of “Tools I will definitely try one day soon!”

As a result, we at ECS Digital decided that we could satisfy the tech industry insatiable desire for pizza as well as allowing people to really experience new tooling without impacting their ever-shrinking social calendars.

In addition to showcasing new technologies and allowing people to get hands-on experience with those tools, the DevOps Playground acts as a platform for ECS Digital’s own talent to build a name for themselves and demonstrate the breadth and depth of knowledge ECS Digital wield within a number of different technology areas.

Attendees can expect to follow along with a structured and comprehensive exercise, designed to jumpstart new users with unfamiliar technologies and to highlight the best ways to use the technology going forward.

 

What happens at a DevOps Playground?

Each month, you are welcome to join us as we explore new technology / tools in one of our four locations – London, Singapore, Pune and Edinburgh. Each Playground lasts for around 2.5 hours, with a chunk of that time set aside for you to run and use the chosen tech / tools on your own laptop.

Our engineers will be on hand throughout the Playground to help you navigate your way round the technology, with the hope that you leave feeling more confident than you did when you arrived. Open to all tech enthusiasts, this is the perfect environment to learn, network and play – and there’s usually free pizza. Pizza AND tech, what’s not to love!

How the Playground has evolved:

Our environments:

With the success of the Playground’s brand and the ever-increasing number of global members, we have had to innovate in order to keep up with demand. During the Playground infancy, the standard method for distributing slide decks, resources and the all-important technology environment was a chucky VDI. Due to its size, we would have to load them onto 8GB USB sticks and physically hand them to attendees on the door. This obviously meant that we would spend the first 15-20 minutes of every meetup waiting for people to copy massive files on to their personal computers and then load up VMs, and that was before we had even started the technical part of the evening.

Realising that this method of distribution was not going to scale, we had to look internally to our engineers for a solution that could be used by a wide variety of capabilities.

In true DevOps fashion, after a few iterations we settled on a dynamic cloud instance for every attendee with a web-based terminal (wetty). This allows us to spin up exactly the number of instances required for an individual event and bring them down once the event has concluded, reducing not only the cost but the potential risk associated with having 80 cloud instances running publicly.

As the success of our London based meetup continues to grow from strength to strength, back in 2018 we took the DevOps playground brand global, setting up three additional meetup events in Singapore, Pune and Edinburgh. This new global reach has help us spread the ECS Digital message and introduce new technologies and concepts to even more people.

A powerful recruiting tool:

The DevOps Playground has been a strategic tool used during our recruitment process, with many candidates being identified and subsequently hired as a direct result of them attending our events. These new additions have been afforded the opportunity to meet the ECS Digital team in a relaxed setting and with no obligations and in fact, with most cases, individuals were not actively seeking new employment opportunities.

What the future looks like:

World domination! Maybe not… but we do want to continue building our reach and contributing to the wider DevOps community. Due to the popularity of our London events, our current location is hitting capacity on a regular basis. We’d love to work with other tech enthusiasts who have access to bigger spaces so we can open the Playgrounds up to more of our community. If you happen to have a large space and want to support the DevOps Playground by letting us borrow it for an evening, we’d love to hear from you!

We would also love the opportunity to collaborate with other meetup groups. If you have an idea of how we can better serve our communities, get in touch and let’s talk over how we can turn those ideas into value for our members.

And last but certainly not least, technology is genderless and we want to continue promoting its application to as diverse a group as possible – starting with hosting more Women In Tech DevOps Playgrounds following the success of our WIT event last year. Whilst men are welcome to attend, these events are super important for creating an environment where women feel comfortable learning about new technology in what is traditionally a male-dominated industry.

How to get involved:

As mentioned above, we host our DevOps Playgrounds once a month in four locations. These are all publicised on Meetup as soon as the team have the details available:

You can also find all the information you need about DevOps Playground, upcoming events, past events and the Playground Panda on our website: https://devopsplayground.co.uk

What next?

Hopefully the above has tempted you to come and say hello to the DevOps Playground team in person! Our next events are live on the website / meetup groups (links above) so pick the one most local to you, grab your laptop and follow the smell of pizza. Go on, you’ve got nothing to lose but maybe lots to gain!

Morgan AtkinsDevOps Playground: more than just another lecture
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DevOps Playground Singapore – CI with Blue Ocean

DevOps Playground Singapore – CI with Blue Ocean

We, at ECS Digital, decided to kick off our 1st DevOps Playground Singapore in 2019 with the building of a Continuous Integration (CI) pipeline using Cloudbees Blue Ocean. The event was hosted at the Sandcrawler Building with the help of GovTech.

After forking the open source Jpetstore repository, we proceeded to setup a CI pipeline running a maven build with SonarQube testing as well as a push to JFrog Artifactory, stopping just shy of a full deployment due to time constraints.

Beyond minor hiccoughs brought about by formatting and updates beyond our control, the playground proceeded smoothly and was well-received by attendees.

We were successful in building the CI pipeline, showcasing the strengths of Blue Ocean’s intuitive UI and low barrier to entry. Attendees were shown the steps needed to inject Jenkins’ environmental variables and provided explanations as to why each step and tool were defined as such. The Continuous Integration process was completed without a hitch, with users able to view their generated artefacts in JFrog as well as scan results in SonarQube.

We had such a large turnout and we hope to see everyone again for our next Playground.

Interested in attending our next DevOps Playground in Singapore? Follow us on Meetup to receive a notification about the next event. Coming from the UK? We have Meetups in London and Edinburgh too! 

Matthew SongDevOps Playground Singapore – CI with Blue Ocean
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DevOps Playground: Hands-on Visual Regression with AyeSpy

DevOps Playground: Hands-on Visual Regression with AyeSpy

The Speaker: Matt Lowry – https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthewlowry92/

Do you get frustrated by tools like Selenium where you are testing webpages in ways where it’s not intended?

Are you struggling to reduce the manual overhead of asserting that your site looks visually correct and checking that it has not regressed after implementing new changes? Visual regression testing is one of the lesser known tools in the SDET toolbox, but when implemented properly can be incredibly powerful.

AyeSpy is a new tool that we helped one of our clients News UK create to address some of the issues that existing open source visual regression tools provide. In this video, we will learn what AyeSpy is about and as usual, as this is a hands-on session, we’ll show you how to use AyeSpy to visually test your application on different viewports.

Thank you to everyone who attended. If you want to learn more about the tool, check out my recent blog on how AyeSpy is already delivering an incredible amount of business value to our client The Times.

Interested in attending our next DevOps Playground events. Follow us on Meetup to receive a notification about the next event

Matt LowryDevOps Playground: Hands-on Visual Regression with AyeSpy
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Digital Women in Tech – DevOps Playground: Hands on with Cypress

Digital Women in Tech – DevOps Playground: Hands on with Cypress

As part of ECS Digital’s initiative to attract more women in technology, we held our first ever Digital Women in Tech MeetUp in our London office at Bermondsey Street where we did a hands on session about a new automation testing tool called Cypress.

Cypress is a test automation tool created by Brian Mann to help developers write automation tests from a user’s perspective. With Cypress, any actions that users can do can be simulated such as clicking a button, typing values on forms, or selecting checkboxes. It’s a tool that is written purely in JavaScript and is often compared to Selenium but it’s actually different from Selenium. The tool was created to address the issues that developers faced when writing automated tests.

In this hands on session, we went over what Cypress can offer, it’s limitations and key differences with Selenium. We then guided everyone how to connect to their remote machines and how to launch the sample React application that we were going to test. The machines provided have been pre-installed with all the software that they needed to follow the session. Once everyone was familiarised with using Cypress and its test runner, we guided everyone on how to write the test scenarios that we planned for them.

Following this video you should be able to run through this playground from the comfort of your own home.

Thank you to everyone who attended the first Digital Women in Tech MeetUp and for making it successful!

Interested in attending our next DevOps Playground events. Follow us on Meetup to receive a notification about the next event

Marie CruzDigital Women in Tech – DevOps Playground: Hands on with Cypress
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DevOps Playground #23: Hands-on with AWS Serverless

DevOps Playground #23: Hands-on with AWS Serverless

In most IT departments you usually have an individual who’s responsibility it is to manage the servers. When your software or website has a particularly high load they can rearchitect the site to manage it.

“In essence, “serverless” is a computing model where the existence of servers is hidden. So you don’t need to worry about servers at all. All you have to worry about is  the function and programming.” – Sunil Tailor

Serverless computing is a cloud-computing execution model in which the cloud provider acts as the server, dynamically managing the allocation of machine resources. Pricing is based on the actual amount of resources consumed by an application, rather than on pre-purchased units of capacity.[1] It is a form of utility computing.In this DevOps playground, Sunil will be getting hands on with AWS’s serverless technology.

Interested in attending our next DevOps Playground events. Follow us on Meetup to receive a notification about the next event

Sunil TailorDevOps Playground #23: Hands-on with AWS Serverless
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DevOps Playground Singapore #2: Hashicorp Consul & Smashing

DevOps Playground Singapore #2: Hashicorp Consul & Smashing

Following the success our last DevOps Playground in Singapore, the team were at it again with another playground showing the power of service discovery and monitoring using Hashicorp Consul.

A typical DevOps Engineer could be responsible for the maintenance of many services in a DevOps pipeline such as a build server, binary storage solution, a a code repository service, wiki and a ticket tracking service.

High agility and a mature DevOps capability require these services to be running 100% of the time. An outage of any service will impact the route to live of any change. People will be walking up to your desk, wondering what is going on!

Using Hashicorp’s Consul, we can intelligently monitor the status of these services and react in real time to unpredicted behaviour. You can therefore identify the issue before the rest of your end users do.

However, there will be occasions when outages require time to fix. How do you keep your end users informed without having to update them on a continual basis? Display this information from Consul in an easy to view dashboard on TVs around your office using Smashing.

It looks smart, tidy, and provides everyone the information they need so you can be left to bring the services back on line in the quickest time possible.

At the event, we went through the steps to install and run Hashicorp Consul and registered both our Jenkins and Artifactory services by configuration a service definition file and loading that into Consul. We validated the health check feature of Consul by taking Jenkins offline and seeing this outage being reflected in the User Interface.

We then installed a Smashing Dashboard and saw how easy it was to post updates to Smashing by executing a simple curl command. With all the core pieces in place, we implemented a watch that pushed an update to Smashing whenever a service went offline.  This result in an eye pleasing dashboard that instantly highlighted the status of your pipeline in real time.

 Following this video you should be able to run through this playground from the comfort of your own home.

Thank you to everyone who attended. We look forward to seeing you again at our next DevOps Playground – keep an eye out for the next event!

ECS DigitalDevOps Playground Singapore #2: Hashicorp Consul & Smashing
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