DevOps Working in the Real World (LinkedIn Example)

What is DevOps?

Wikipedia has a succinct definition: DevOps is a set of processes, methods and systems for communication, collaboration and integration between departments for Development (Applications/Software Engineering), Technology Operations and Quality Assurance. It relates to the emerging understanding of the interdependence of development and operations in meeting a business’ goal to producing timely software products and services.

Why am I blogging about this now?

I’m sitting here at a Gartner conference—the Application Architecture, Development & Integration Summit. Lots of presentations about dev teams, architects, SOA, hybrid clouds…all the expected topics in this area.  Listening to the session presenters, and touring the exhibit area, it’s interesting that there are still the traditional silos—which inhibit the transition to an effective DevOps approach.

LinkedIn Gets It.

Stefan Apitz, Senior Director of Operations at LinkedIn, presented on Day 1 and talked about their transition to the DevOps approach.  They are a Splunk customer, and one of the reasons is that Splunk has been a catalyst that broke down the barriers between Dev and Ops.  Splunk provides a common solution for Developers and IT Operations. With Splunk, developers can see whatever information they need , without having to directly access production systems.  Teams can work together to understand the interaction of apps and infrastructure, and optimize complex team decisions.

Splunk enables 350 LinkedIn developers/engineers and 70 IT Ops to understand their complex architecture—such as how service calls are performing, interacting and affecting application services.  Splunk enables them to see the impact of release changes on the service calls and performance, and fix issues, optimize performance, and monitor production environments.

LinkedIn has a sizeable environment and impressive Splunk implementation: a highly distributed service oriented architecture (270+ services) across 5 data centers, indexing about 3 Terabytes in Splunk every day, 700 saved searches, 8000 searches per hour at peaks,  A typical set of DevOps uses of Splunk: Trace individual calls through entire service stack, identify service dependencies, and Capacity Planning.Since then LinkedIn has expanded its use of Splunk to a variety of security use cases as well.

“We rely on Splunk to understand the impact of new features on our back-end services. This type of operational visibility allows us to correlate the impact of front-end usage with backend processes.”

“There is no real alternative to Splunk. Data is our business and we want our 350 engineers focused on new features for our website to drive business.” No wonder PCWorld has recognized LinkedIn as “The Most Reliable Social Networking Site.

Steve Sommer
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Steve Sommer