FinTech Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Roger Strukhoff

Related Topics: FinTech Journal, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, @DevOpsSummit

FinTech Journal: Article

Art of Rollback | @DevOpsSummit #API #APM #DevOps #ContinuousTesting

Learn about rollback strategies for static and dynamic objects and how to set your rollback budget

Art of Rollback III: Rollback Strategies Through the Ages
By Pierre-Boris Bonafous

Let's recap what we learned from the previous chapters in the series: episode 1 and episode 2.

We learned that a good rollback mechanism cannot be designed without having an intimate knowledge of the application architecture, the nature of your components and their dependencies. Now that we know what we have to restore and in which order, the question is how?

There are always different possible strategies available to restore your services. The only criteria for deciding which one to choose is speed. For this reason, the rollback must be automated and the best rollback features available must be leveraged for each of your application components and technologies. The automation tool will be in charge of the orchestration of the different technologies involved in the rollback process.

How Much Money Should You Spend on Rollback?
Always go for the fastest process you can afford. No company can afford data loss, data corruption and service interruption. Never cut cost on this part. Trying to reuse old backup systems or mutualized backup, for example, is not advisable, as investing in new technologies can give you more reactivity with an immediate ROI.

The budget of rollback implementation should be calculated at the beginning of your project, according to the cost of an error for the business and not by looking at best solution price or providers' bundles available on the market.

The acceptable cost of an error should not be estimated by Ops or Devs but by the business itself, as it can be a mix of unexpected factors. Some are part of the company plan and should not be shared internally. For example, it can be related to the company share price, risk assessment, compliance and compensation, SLA and penalties, customer retention, sales objectives, transactions per days and so on...

Time is money, so the equation is really easy to solve for Ops: the maximum recovery time objective (RTO) of an application depends on the maximum acceptable loss for the business. Your company may already have defined this metric in the disaster recovery plan.

Unfortunately, like most other technical services, the rollback system is too often taken in account at the end of a project. This is a big mistake as the cost of implementing the rollback can be huge, sometimes higher than essential features like automated deployment or monitoring. The rollback cost does not only include the cost of the implementation and the possible additional tools but also the cost of maintenance and regular testing of the rollback system.

Automic is helping his customers to create value with automation. Automated deployments and automated rollbacks must be considered together as a whole when you want to cover the Release Automation activities.

Static Components
Let's take a look at the most popular rollback strategies implemented today for static components. There are two different ways to manage immutable components: restore and switch.

Restore Rollback: This is the traditional way to roll back, from a time when applications were installed on premise, on physical boxes, and when the materials and software were expensive. Thanks to virtualization, containers and automated provisioning, the restore approach has enjoyed a renaissance. The original intent was to simply to reinstall the previous version of the application(s). That can be done by overriding files, uninstalling/reinstalling binaries or going back to a restoration point.

Today it's more about redelivering the previous complete application stack, pre-configured: the OS, the middleware and the application layer itself. Virtualization has paved the way with templates and Gold VMs. But container technologies like Docker do even better, as you can instantiate a container from an image in a couple of seconds. You have to re-instantiate a container from the previous images instead of delivering old binaries

Automic Release Automation enables you to define rollback at the workflow or job/task level. When the default rollback is activated, you can assign backup and rollback tasks. The backup task will be executed before the main action, while the rollback task will be executed in case of failure.

However, not every application today is a good candidate for containerization. If this is the case, you can go for the switch strategy, to achieve the same outstanding performance but for old systems.

Switch Rollback: Switch rollback maintains two releases of your application in parallel but makes only one accessible to your users while the other remains offline. When you want to deploy a new application release, you install the new release on the offline system. Once the new version is ready you just have to put the old version offline and new version online. If you want to rollback your application, you just switch back.

The switch can be really transparent when the application is a bunch of files in a flat directory. All you have to do is to switch two repositories with the old and the new release content. Sometimes it can be trickier if you rely on an application server or a cluster.

Blue-green deployment is a typical example of switch rollback. The blue environment is offline and the green is online. An environment can be a cluster or collection of machines. The switch (or change of color) can be done quickly by reassigning the IP addresses between the blue and the green machines in the DNS, in the load balancer or at the proxy level. Another advantage of blue-green deployment is that the rollback does not need a specific procedure because it the same procedure used for the initial rollout.

How much does this cost? Well, you must maintain a duplicated platform. That can be quite expensive if your platform is a cluster or a server farm. However, virtualization and automated provisioning can help you to limit the cost of administration, licenses and maintenance of the blue platform if you build and destroy the environments on the fly.

Dynamic Components
As you may be aware, immutable components are not an issue anymore. The problem we must solve today is rolling back dynamic components. Data is now stored on various formats: files, relational databases, NoSQL databases and so on... each technology with its own properties for recovery management.

In this scenario it's difficult to rollback without downtime or data loss if you do not have specific features embedded in the application itself. Some examples of possible function could be a data resilience system, a database virtualization layer, a data cache mechanism or treating your database structure as code.

Let's take an even more simple use case: a database upgrade with zero downtime. Not all databases can support that feature. There is no set plan to follow so you must exploit the best technologies available on the market like checkpoints or point-in-time recovery for databases and snapshots for virtual machines when your software architecture does not support rollback natively.

In fact, the only way to achieve zero downtime and to keep control of your data during deployments and rollbacks is to design backward and forward compatibility in the application itself. But this is another story...

Next Episode
Rolling forward; Why is it better than rollback? Because rolling forward is the best way of accepting that we, Dev and Ops, are intimately involved in time-flow, no matter what Albert Einstein or Brian Green told us! Stay tuned.

More Stories By Automic Blog

Automic, a leader in business automation, helps enterprises drive competitive advantage by automating their IT factory - from on-premise to the Cloud, Big Data and the Internet of Things.

With offices across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, Automic powers over 2,600 customers including Bosch, PSA, BT, Carphone Warehouse, Deutsche Post, Societe Generale, TUI and Swisscom. The company is privately held by EQT. More information can be found at www.automic.com.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial C...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term.
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
With privacy often voiced as the primary concern when using cloud based services, SyncriBox was designed to ensure that the software remains completely under the customer's control. Having both the source and destination files remain under the user?s control, there are no privacy or security issues. Since files are synchronized using Syncrify Server, no third party ever sees these files.
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, shared examples from a wide range of industries – including en...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Rodrigo Coutinho is part of OutSystems' founders' team and currently the Head of Product Design. He provides a cross-functional role where he supports Product Management in defining the positioning and direction of the Agile Platform, while at the same time promoting model-based development and new techniques to deliver applications in the cloud.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
delaPlex is a global technology and software development solutions and consulting provider, deeply committed to helping companies drive growth, revenue and marketplace value. Since 2008, delaPlex's objective has been to be a trusted advisor to its clients. By redefining the outsourcing industry's business model, the innovative delaPlex Agile Business Framework brings an unmatched alliance of industry experts, across industries and functional skillsets, to clients anywhere around the world.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...