Your organization is growing steadily, the number of servers under own management is increasing and increasingly higher and changing requirements are being imposed on the application environment. As a result, management is becoming increasingly challenging and time-consuming. In order to continue to respond to needs from the business, a future-oriented application environment is necessary. In this article we give you some pratical tips on how to best approach this.
Which requirements does my application environment have to meet?
First back to the drawing board. What requirements does an application environment have to meet at the moment? And are these the same requirements for every customer or can variants be discovered in them? What risks do you see? Consider topics such as availability, scalability, performance, security, backup and disaster recovery in addition to technical requirements. When a SaaS service is offered, you are most likely to have a limited set of requirements with different support levels and guarantees. When tailor-made software is offered, numerous variants of an application environment are possible. A package on a shared server, your own server or redundant implemented application environment, for example.
Start with a high-level design
After the requirements become clear, your application environment can be put together. A good approach is to start with a high-level design of the environment. In this diagram all components of the application environment are made visible. Think of load balancers, web and database servers, but also the public/internal network, availability zones (data centers) and (auto) scaling groups.
A best practice is to develop a fault-tolerant environment by taking into account failing components, both at the infrastructure and software level. Separating user rolls is also a good use. On the internet, numerous sources and reference architectures can be found that can serve as inspiration for a well-designed application environment, such as tech talks during technology conferences. Tools like Microsoft Visio or Draw.io can help visualize your environment.
The application environment is placed on a cloud infrastructure that best meets the organization wishes and requirements. An example of a good cloud infrastructure is OpenStack from CloudVPS. Our OpenStack platform has the following main features:
- High available instances - all components are fully redundant;
- Data is stored three times - we store your data in three different racks;
- Stable constant performance - the cloud infrastructure delivers predictable performance;
- Multiple availability zones in Amsterdam - you can strategically spread the application environment across three data centers and use technologies that use a quorum based consensus protocol such as Paxos and Raft;
- Very low network latency - a high-quality network with excellent performance;
- Data traffic included - so you have predictable costs;
- ISO 27001, 9001 and NEN 7510 certified - you can build on our certifications.
Future-oriented application environment
To make the application environment future-oriented, it is important that the management of the environment is simple, that you know what is going on in the environment and the requirements and (configuration management) processes are guaranteed. You can realise this by using automation and collecting the right insights.
With tooling such as Terraform from HashiCorp and Ansible from Red Hat you can automate the environment. Develop a 'Swiss army knife' with which you can easily control the application environment. With a TIG stack (Telegraf, InfluxDB, Grafana) you can set up dashboards with real-time (business-critical) information about your platform. Such dashboards are part of a better way of monitoring with richer insights. Knowing exactly what is going on, also called observability. With GitLab you have version management, CI/CD and you can set up a DevOps lifecycle for efficient application releases.
A future-oriented application environment is therefore dynamic, you manage continuously and easily, based on gathered insights and is therefore able to grow with the needs from the business.
Are you looking for a future-oriented application environment, or would you like to discuss the possibilities for your organization? Don't hesitate to contact us.