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DevOps pipeline tools woo enterprises with resiliency, integrations

Enterprises are ready to ante up in the DevOps game, as shown by new features being rolled out in DevOps pipeline tools.

DevOps pipelines require a little less elbow grease to bring together, as of this week.

Previously, tools from different vendors -- and sometimes even separate software titles from the same vendor -- could only be brought together with open source expertise and hard work by IT pros. Now, DevOps pipeline tools vendors have added integration features, as well as nondisruptive upgrade support, in a bid to appeal to big companies just beginning to dip a toe into the DevOps market.

Tools from Atlassian, Datadog, VictorOps Inc. and Automic Software Inc. are adding these new features because large enterprises are increasingly demanding them, the vendors claimed.

"We asked customers, 'What is your biggest pain point with our applications?'" said Cameron Deatsch, head of enterprise growth for Sydney-based Atlassian, of a new beta for nondisruptive upgrades with the company's JIRA project management software. "And they said, 'Dear God, please help us with this.'"

Atlassian, Automic branch out behind the firewall

A year ago, Atlassian, which has 60,000 customers worldwide, rolled out data center versions of its products for enterprises that didn't want to use software as a service (SaaS). This year, nondisruptive upgrades for JIRA Software data center edition are in beta, a longstanding wish for enterprise customers, such as Amadeus, a global travel technology company based in Madrid.

"We wanted a clustered edition [of JIRA] because we have developers around the world, and we couldn't afford to take an almost mission-critical tool down," said Fred Ros, head of development efficiencies and lifecycles for Amadeus, which continues to push Atlassian to deliver nondisruptive upgrades for its Bitbucket and Confluence products as well.

Not to be outdone, application release automation vendor Automic added its own nondisruptive upgrade enhancements to version 12 of its eponymous product, released earlier this month. Another feature of version 12 allows customers to automatically download and install updates to Automic's software as if they were Windows updates from Microsoft, and to add this type of upgrade feature to their own internally developed software as well.

With this release, Automic is squarely targeting enterprise operations pros.

"DevOps, so far, has been a movement by developers, for developers," said Lucas Carlson, vice president of strategy for Automic, based in Vienna. "It's been shoved down the throat of operations."

HipChat Data Center unleashes new integration approach

This week, Atlassian also released a data center edition of its HipChat ChatOps product into beta that can be run on premises behind the firewall at companies such as Amadeus.

Amadeus plans to deliver Atlassian products to its developers entirely on premises with data center editions of Bitbucket, Confluence and JIRA. And it has already started to roll out Confluence in the data center; JIRA is next. Meanwhile, it's putting the beta of HipChat Data Center through its paces in tests.

"We've been pushing a lot for this for quite some time," Ros said of HipChat Data Center, adding that he looks forward to using the HipChat Connect method of integrating internal monitoring tools with the ChatOps interface.

HipChat Connect, launched in April for HipChat Server and to be ported to HipChat Data Center, allows users to separate integrations from being part of HipChat Server. This means customers can keep the integration code in a contained system, which limits the risk that it will interfere with HipChat code.

"Injecting integration code could introduce incredible complexity and could break the system," Ros said. "Now, [if] there's an issue in the integration code, it doesn't impact other users, and from an operations standpoint, [it] creates less work."

Atlassian joins hands with AWS, Datadog and others

Atlassian's JIRA project management product is also being integrated with third-party DevOps and cloud computing tools this week in ways that previously required heavy-duty scripting or were plainly impossible.

Users who want to privately run Atlassian's JIRA and Bitbucket software, but do so on Amazon Web Services' public infrastructure-as-a-service cloud, can now do so with integration rolled out this week.

We can really be concentrating on doing the work that needs to be done to fix the issue without worrying about the process side of it.
John Hayessenior manager of global cloud services, North Plains Systems

Previously, running JIRA and Bitbucket software was technically possible through scripting, but not officially supported, and it would have taken "a lot of manual effort" with no documentation, according to Deatsch.

With this week's releases, JIRA and Bitbucket data center editions also now support more modern identity management systems, such as Okta and OneLogin, with new integration available for SAML 2.0.

Finally, third-party companies, such as Datadog, can now integrate in a HipChat-like manner with Atlassian's JIRA Cloud.

This was welcome news to another global enterprise that had been rolling its own integration between Datadog's monitoring software and Atlassian's JIRA Cloud SaaS using WebHooks.

"The new integration maintains the state between alerts in Datadog and tickets in JIRA," said John Hayes, senior manager of global cloud services at digital asset management firm North Plains Systems Corp., in Toronto.

For example, if there's an update in the metrics watched by Datadog, it'll be put in as a comment on the JIRA ticket, where previously the Datadog alert would happen. The ticket would be created in JIRA, but there would be no update between the systems once the issue was resolved.

"There would be a double process to not only fix the issue, but also to close the ticket," Hayes said. "Now, all the information will be updated in the ticket as the alert progresses, which is really useful for us."

The integration is also more powerful in terms of what Datadog information can be put into the JIRA ticket.

"Now, we can use the metrics and data we were getting from Datadog to fill out fields in the ticket, which, again, makes it much more useful for our staff to deal with," Hayes said. "It means we can really be concentrating on doing the work that needs to be done to fix the issue without worrying about the process side of it."

Beth Pariseau is senior news writer for TechTarget's Data Center and Virtualization Media Group. Write to her at [email protected] or follow @PariseauTT on Twitter.

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