Thursday, June 21, 2018

Creating a Test Data Catalog with Delphix

Test environment data is all over the place, slowing down your projects, and injecting quality issues. It doesn’t have to be this way.

According to the TDM Strategy survey done by Infosys in 2015, up to 60% of application development and testing time is devoted to data-related tasks. That statistic is consistent with my personal experience with the app dev lifecycle, as well as my experience with the world’s largest financial institutions.

A huge contributor to the testing bottleneck is data friction. Incorporating people, process, and technology into DataOps practices is the only way to reduce data friction across organizations and to enable the rapid, automated, and secure management of data at scale.

For example, by leveraging the Delphix Dynamic Data Platform as a Test Data Catalog, I have seen several of my customers nearly double their test frequency while reducing data-related defects. The Test Data Catalog is a way of leveraging Delphix to transform manual event-driven testing organizations into automated testing factories; where everyone in testing and dev, including the test data engineers, can leverage self-service to get the data they need and to securely share the data they produce.

Below you will find two videos I recorded to help illustrate and explain this concept. The first is an introduction that speaks a little deeper on the problem space. In the second video, I demonstrate how to use Delphix as a Test Data Catalog.

Reach out to me on Twitter or LinkedIn with your questions or if you have suggestions for future videos.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Solving CI/CD (Continuously Interrupted/Continuously Disappointed)

Continuous — (adj.) forming an unbroken whole; without interruption.

Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment are two popular practices that have yielded huge benefits for many companies across the globe. Yet, it’s all a lie.

Although the benefits are real, the idea behind CI&CD is largely aspirational for most companies, and would more properly be titled, “The Quest for CI/CD: A Not-So-Merry Tale.”

Because, let’s face it, there is still a lot of waiting in most CI/CD. To avoid false advertising claims, perhaps we should just start adding quiet disclaimers with asterisks, like so CI/CD**.

The waiting still comes from multiple parts of the process, but most frequently, teams are still waiting on data. Waiting for data provisioning. Waiting for data obfuscation. Waiting for access requests. Waiting for data backup. Waiting for data restore. Waiting for new data. Waiting for data subsets. Waiting for data availability windows. Waiting for Bob to get back from lunch — even when devs just generate their own data on the fly– QA and Testing get stuck with the bill. (I am talking to three F100 companies right now where this last issue is the source of some extreme pain).
I wish I could say that any one technology could solve all data issues (I have seven kids and that fact alone would pay for their entire college fund). But, I can say that Delphix solves some very real and very big data issues for some of the world’s biggest and best known brands, through the power of DataOps. It allows organizations to leverage the best of people, process, and technology to eliminate data friction across all spectrums.

Here I share a video of how I tie Jenkins together with Delphix to provision, backup, restore, and share data in a automated, fast, and secure manner. This video explains how I demonstrated some of the functionality in my Delphix SDLC Toolchain demo.

**excluding those things that we obviously have to wait for.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Delphix Toolchain Integration

Hey Everyone!

I know I have been talking about this for a while, but with the DevOps Enterprise Summit kicking off, I thought it was time to finally do it! Below you will find a video of Delphix integrated into a typical toolchain consisting of tools like Datical, Maven, git, Jenkins, and Selenium.

In this video, I walk through a form of "A Day in the Life" of the SDLC, where we want to introduce a new feature to our employee application: we want to record their Twitter handle. To do this simple change, we will need to introduce database object changes (a column to store the handle) and application level changes to display and record the changes. This is a simple application with a Java + Apache front end and an Oracle 12c backend.

Below is a general swim diagram of the flow and the video, as well. More details on the "how" of the components next week! (I will replace this video with a better quality video, but my computer crashed last night with all the changes, and I had to reproduce on a loaner system. Crazy story)

Delphix as a part of the DevOps toolchain demo from Adam Bowen on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Easily Moving Data between Clouds with the Delphix Dynamic Data Platform

Hey everyone! I’m back in the “demonstration saddle” again to showcase how easy it is to replicate data from one cloud to another. Data friction abounds, and there are few places that feel as much data friction as cloud migration projects. Getting data into the cloud can be a challenge, and adding security concerns can make it seem almost impossible. DataOps practices can ensure that data friction is not the constraint keeping you from leveraging the cloud. I recorded this video to demonstrate how the Delphix Dynamic Data Platform (DDP) works across the five facets of DataOps ( governance, operations, delivery, transformation, and version control) to make migrations "friction free."

In this video, you will see me replicate data from Amazon Web Services (AWS) into Microsoft Azure, and also from Azure to AWS. Since the actual steps to replicate are very few and only take a matter of seconds, I spend time on the video explaining some of the different aspects of the DDP. I also highlight leveraging the DDP’s Selective Data Distribution which only replicates data that has been sanitized as a part of an approved and automated masking process. In the conclusion of the video, I demonstrate creating a copy of the masked virtual database (VDB) and demonstrating how quickly you can do a destructive test and recover.

Here is a high-level diagram to understand the layout of what I am working with:


And the video:

Sunday, May 7, 2017

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Data

Man collecting data into funnel

The explosion of data in the recent years has had some knock-on effects. For example:
  • Data theft is far more prevalent and profitable now than ever before. Ever heard of Crime-as-a-Service?
  • There is now more pressure than ever before to modernize our applications to take advantage of the latest advances in DevOps and Cloud capabilities.
But the problem is that data growth is actually encumbering most companies' ability to modernize applications and protect customer information. The effect is exacerbated in environments leveraging containerization where application stacks are spun up in seconds and discarded in minutes. Through no fault of their own, the DBA/Storage Admin can't even initiate a data restore that quickly. This has painted data as the bad guy.

Thief hiding behind handcuffs

The consequence of this is that Dev/Test shops have moved towards eliminating the 'bad guy' by using subsetted or pure synthetic data throughout their SDLC. After all, it kills two birds with one stone: Data is small and easy to get it when they need it, and nothing of value exists to be stolen.

But the implication of this well-meaning act is that application quality decreases and their application projects are just as slow, if not slower, than before. Their use of non-realistic datasets results in an increase in data-related defects. Then they try to combat the self-inflicted quality issues by creating a whole new data program lifecycle around coverage mapping, corner cases, data quality, data release, etc. The net result is that they spend at least as much human and calendar time on data, as they did before...yet they will still have self-inflicted data-related quality issues.

We need to stop the madness. Data is not the enemy, rather it is the lifeblood of our companies. The true enemy is the same enemy we have been tackling with DevOps: Tradition. The traditional way that we have been dealing with the culture, process, and technology around data is the enemy. At Delphix we help our customers quickly flip this on its head and eliminate the true enemy of their business. By enabling our customers to provision full masked copies of data in minutes via self-service automation, they now have data that moves at the speed of business. Their applications release over 10X faster, their data-related defects plummet, and their surface area of data-risk decreases by 80%. And one of the beautiful things is that, in most cases, Delphix is delivering value back to the business inside of two weeks.

When you only address the symptoms of a problem, the problem remains. Data is not your enemy; serving data like you did for the last two decades is the enemy. Your data is more-than-ready to be your business-enabling partner, you just need to unshackle it with Delphix.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Missing Ingredient

Last week, Delphix held its annual Company Kickoff (CKO). It reminded me of what makes Delphix such a fantastic company, and energized the whole company about what’s to come for this new fiscal year. There are many observations and takeaways, with a lot to share, so I’ll break this into two or three blog posts. First allow me to share some personal reflection on the past year.

Having been at Delphix for over three years, I have enjoyed the ride that being a part of a disruptive startup has to offer. There have been successes, and there have also been setbacks. We have had some easy wins, and we have also had some scrappy battles. While there is no doubt of our success, being the pioneers and masters of our space, or the value we deliver to our customers; I couldn’t help feeling that we were lacking something. We were a company on the cusp of greatness, yet that that golden ring seemed to be just beyond our fingers. Of a surety, something had to change. And 2017 ushered in an abundance of change: we filled all of our senior leadership vacancies, had a few organizational realignments, and even product realignments. And we are definitely better for it; people were excited, bustling, and busy. Yet coming into this new fiscal year, something still felt like it was missing.

The evening before the official start of CKO, we had a welcome reception for everyone who had already arrived. The only way for me to describe the scene and to give it justice, is to liken it to distant family reuniting to celebrate a holiday. And why not such a description? For us at Delphix, this is a time of celebration: we reflect on the previous year’s tremendous accomplishments, and also share our plans and dreams for the future. And true to the analogy, there were many warm embraces, huge smiles, and boisterous bursts of laughter between those that are normally separated by thousands of miles. We had food, drink, and friends. Yes, indeed this was a joyous event.

The next day we our CKO was kicked off by our CEO, Chris Cook. Our event opened up with a video of Chris taking a car full of Delphix employees on a “Carpool Karaoke” drive from our HQ in Redwood City, California to the CKO location. The video showed a more personal side of Delphix, and the laughter among the Delphix family was infectious. As the video ended and Chris took the stage to an standing ovation, I looked around me to see everyone with grins from ear to ear. It was at this very moment I realized that the transformation of Delphix was happening, and that I was witnessing a metamorphosis before my very eyes. For the first time that I had ever witnessed, all of Delphix were in the moment...together. This was my first aha moment (more on that later).

As everyone returned to their seats, Chris began to share with us “The Delphix story,” painting a vision where data is no longer the constraint, but data moves at the speed of business. He shared with us what a world looks like where data is as easy and instant to conjure as a snap of the finger. He then challenged us to make that vision a reality, to execute on our mission to reduce the weight of data, accelerate the pace of discoveries and breakthroughs and inspire more aha moments.

Wait. What are aha moments? Chris explained that this is the moment when people discover something profound where they previously had no knowledge. This happens a lot with Delphix customers. It is so pronounced, that you can see it physically emoted in many cases. To be honest, this is one of the best parts of my job. To see someone finally grasp Delphix and then get slammed with the realization of the huge impact Delphix will have on their lives is absolutely amazing. I have seen people go wide eyed, shake their head in disbelief,  get out of their seat and walk around, and just stare at me with their mouth agape. Watching those life changing moments are just as life changing to me.

This was my second aha moment. Chris was ushering in a fundamental shift for Delphix. It’s not our job to sell software; but instead it’s our job to change our people’s lives for the better with our technology, unlocking as much innovation and potential as possible while freeing them from the shackles of their data constraints. This is a mission that I cannot refuse.

After his talk, Chris brought in former Blue Angels pilot, John Foley, to speak to us that morning. John shared some amazing stories about his exploits as a pilot, including functioning as a goodwill ambassador during times of heightened tensions between the United States and Russia. He taught us the value of his #gladtobehere initiative, where a heart of thanks and gratitude are the bedrocks of character and success. But the thing that stuck out the most to me was the precision that was needed to achieve the level of excellence that makes the Blue Angels the best. Yes, that precision takes thousands of hours of practice, teamwork, dedication, and skill. But what set the Blue Angels apart were their unity in focus and purpose. The hours of daily drills where they would sit in a briefing room and talk through the day’s flight, literally turn by turn, maneuver by maneuver. Why? Because they are all committed to precise execution; the consequences of even slight miscalculations could be catastrophic. That was their promise to each other: to be of one mind, focused on their execution and of those around them, in order to collectively be the best at what they do.

And it was the conclusion of John Foley’s presentation that I realized that we finally had what we had been missing: one vision, one mission, one focus, one promise, one team…Unity. We have a lot a unbelievable talent at Delphix – you won’t find better anywhere else. We’ve been been doing our best individually or as small groups, and that’s gotten us to a great place. Now that we’re unified, we are poised and ready to transform the way the world deals with its data.

Friday, February 24, 2017

NMFP: The cancer from within

Not my problem (NMP) - (n)
  1. a statement, or position, of apathy expressed by those who perceive they are external and unaffected by a negative predicament. While sometimes warranted, it is typically uttered by those who perceive themselves as powerless; can’t be bothered; are too lazy, or are selfish non-contributing leeches. See also “complete cop out”, and Not my <fluffy> problem (NMFP)
  2. an attitude that will stymie attempts to implement DevOps in your organization and will thwart success
  3. (archaic) Actually not your problem

The phrase “Not my Problem” may be an english turn of phrase, but the concept is universal. In Poland, they have an idiom “Nie mój cyrk, nie moje malpy”, which translated to english is “Not my circus, not my monkeys ( a nod to my friends Daniel and Piotr).” Some of our oldest stories bear witness to how timeless NMP is. In the the biblical story of Cain murdering Able, God approaches Cain afterwards and says “Hey Cain, I can’t find Able. Do you know where he is?” Cain’s response is the famous “Am I my brother’s keeper? (NMP)”

We have all heard it, and I am sure we have all said it ourselves, many times over. Let’s be honest with ourselves and reflect on our own actions. I am sure we can all recall ample examples of this in our personal life. But how many times have we uttered that phrase to justify our own inactions at work?
  • You’re in engineering and sales slump: “That’s what Sales makes top money for.” (NMP)
  • Someone on your team just had a major setback in their project: “I got my own projects to handle” (NMP)
  • You see an area at work that is in critical need of improvement: “That’s not in my job description.” (NMP)
  • A colleague you work with is having an obviously hard time today: “I stay out of personal business.” (NMP)

And the ringing bell of condemnation of our actions is the stinging fact that we would almost never have actually said that to the people we witnessed being affected.

So what does this have to do with DevOps? I attribute NMP to be the #1 culture killer; and without culture, you don’t have DevOps. How can you have a culture of learning and sharing when people are only out for themselves? That is what NMP implies. People who have an NMP attitude are like a cancer eating your good culture from the inside out.

I recently witnessed this in my second youngest son’s basketball team. When a certain kid wasn’t at the game, the team would perform, even under pressure. They might lose, but they would be in the fight the whole time. If this other kid was at the game, a decent street ball player by all counts, they might win, but they usually lost by heaping amounts. Nothing was ever his fault, and when others on his team would make a mistake he would be the first to yell at them. As soon as they would be down a few points, it would be worse and his bad attitude would spread to every other kid on the team (except my son, thankfully). They would end up losing by many points when this happened, even to teams they had beaten handily before. Why the coach ever let him play, let alone play point guard, is beyond me. But his lack of a sense of team and his own self-glorification hurt his teammates more than him. He deserved to lose, they didn't.

But, we don't always get it wrong. The other day, I was speaking to a dear friend, and fellow DevOpserati, Jude Seth a Client Architect at MuleSoft. He said they have a culture, written, understood, and embraced that forbids “Not My Problem” from even existing in their vocabulary.
  • If sales are slumping, everyone feels the burden to brainstorm and contribute to help generate pipeline or accelerate deals in play. Sales isn’t underperforming, WE’RE underperforming.
  • If someone on a team has a major project setback, everyone chips in and feels compelled to help get it on track. Your project isn’t late, OUR project is late.
  • If there is an area at work where someone feels there is a gap, they get to work on addressing it themselves, pulling in others as needed. “You don’t need to do something, I need to do something.”
  • A colleague is having a rough day, they make sure to help them with their daily work, perhaps do something nice for them, or have them go take some personal time. When you’re hurting, WE’RE hurting.

It is this kind of change in ownership of success and failure that has to happen in order for historically separate groups can work as one. It can no longer be an Ops or Dev or QA or InfoSec issue. It has to be OUR issue.

I have seen many companies and teams eaten up with the cancer of NMP. You can do all the team building events and “trust falls” that you would like, but when it counts, will you be the one who quietly tiptoes out the door while your teammates work to resolve an issue? Because it is this behavior that causes the whole thing to collapse. It can’t be “All for One, and One for All (except Bob because he’s kind of a selfish jerk).”

If this brings to mind someone on your team what are you going to do to address it?

Or is that not your problem?

This blog was inspired by a great colleague and companion of mine, Steve Karam. We too have a great culture of ownership at Delphix, and Steve embodies it perfectly. This mega-genius is constantly at the forefront of tackling different issues at Delphix and is always quick with a kind word, helping hand, and a smile. When I think to myself, “NMFP”; my conscious tells me “Don’t be a jerk, be more like Steve.” Follow this beautiful human being on twitter @OracleAlchemist on his blog.