DevOps Practices – w/c 26.08.19

A group of people standing around desks looking at their computers.

This week we have continued with exploring the hypothesis: “Adopting a consistent approach to containerisation will make it easier and more efficient to develop, test and (re)deploy services”. This had led us into two related areas PaaS (Platform as a Service ) and our deployment path. 

Deployment Path

As part of this work JJ started by looking into what has been done already on API-Factory regarding their deployment pipeline. By pulling out some elements of this we were able to have a starting point for our workshop on Wednesday. We had people from teams across HackIT in attendance and we asked everyone to add questions to the pipeline in addition to the ones that JJ had pulled out beforehand. 

This made us realise that actually we were looking at the question at too great a level of granularity and the discussions were actually more beneficial when we were talking about what we needed from a deployment pipeline in general. From this we were able to identify four general things that we felt a more structured deployment pipeline would need to incorporate:  

  1. A focus on improving quality over quick deployment
  2. Only having the environments we need and keeping them to a minimum
  3. As much room for automated testing as possible
  4. A greater emphasis on collecting measurements (which links the the work we’ve done to baseline our measures for testing the hypothesis).

Although this work is not strictly part of the ‘consistent approach to containerisation’ that we are testing in this part of the alpha it is very closely related and will help to lay the groundwork for the other part of this alpha, namely: “Picking a primary cloud supplier will save time & money”.


The groundwork for testing our next hypothesis was also prepared by starting to think about Platform as a Service (PaaS), specifically GOV.UK’s PaaS offer. They offer cloud infrastructure (via AWS) alongside a number of automated tools that allow for faster deployments. On Thursday we arranged for the GOV.UK PaaS team to come into Hackney to give us a Show and Tell and run a deep dive into their product. 

It was a really good chance for us to have a bit more of a think about of the benefits of PaaS in general and GOV.UK PaaS in particular. It was really encouraging to see the number of people and the number of people from different teams who attended. If you are interested but were unable to attend here are the slides:

This was followed the GOV.UK PaaS team running a deep dive for people in HackIT to try the service in anger. This seemed to go really well, there were people from the development team and infrastructure team working to use PaaS to make deployments. 

Next steps

Next week we will be kicking off the 2nd part of this alpha in earnest. We will be starting to test the other hypothesis mentioned above. On Wednesday we are holding a session on ‘Our approach to cloud – next steps’ with team leads from across HackIT. 

We have also started thinking about which team we might want to test our containerisation processes. We are engaging with the re-platforming My Rent Account team to see if we might be able to test our hypothesis in a way that advances their work as well.

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