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System Insights and OS Telemetry for DevOps



In an environment built around continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD), your job as a DevOps engineer is to keep the pipeline running smoothly. In order to automate the process of writing, testing, and releasing code, you coordinate with multiple engineering teams, along with IT and management. You need to make sure testing platforms, usually deployed as cloud infrastructure, are available and can scale with the team’s requests. And developers need to be sure any problems that arise reflect on the code itself and not on the infrastructure deployed to test it.

Your role includes a healthy dose of system administration and troubleshooting for resources that range from applications to tools, services, hardware, and more. For this part of the job, easy access to system status and usage data is critical. Here are some of the areas where OS telemetry is most important, followed by considerations for how to collect and organize that data.  

Pipeline Optimization 

Your CI/CD pipeline is essential for enabling engineering teams to deliver highly functional code at high velocity. The pipeline helps dev teams initiate code builds, run automated tests, and deploy new features in staging environments that can be easily rolled into production. It standardizes hardware feedback loops and allows for an automated build-and-test sequence that runs quickly and efficiently. In order to provide this functionality, you need near-real-time data from systems and servers to ensure that:

  • Pipelines can scale to meet demands in real time. 
  • Resources are used efficiently — systems spend a fair amount of time idle, but during busy periods they might be overtaxed, forcing developers to wait in a queue. Ideally, you can balance out these surges and allow for consistent availability. 
  • Runtime for equivalent loads remains consistent, without intermittent failures.
  • Services, systems, components, and processes can be easily replicated.

Infrastructure Management, Configuration & Deployment 

To facilitate an integrated code push and testing cycle, you have to constantly deploy, configure, and manage the infrastructure that your CI/CD pipelines run on. Some of this requires manual work, but ideally you can automate a large portion of it using configuration tools like Puppet and Chef combined with an infrastructure-as-code approach.

Automation saves a lot of time and frustration, but it also underscores the need for event logs, well-documented code, and status reporting. The right telemetry can help you or a user on the dev team quickly discover and isolate an issue among hundreds or thousands of VMs.

Systems Administration & Troubleshooting 

Along with working as a developer in your own right, you’re a master of IT operations. You need to know how everything in your environment works, from networks, servers and file systems at the organizational level down to system-level details like memory, CPU, and storage. You’re prepared to debug, diagnose, and fix issues on one or many servers at a moment’s notice. System telemetry is essential in order to:

  • Evaluate available memory, storage, and CPU and make sure server log files don’t overrun their disks 
  • Monitor and troubleshoot network connections 
  • Ensure that installed apps, programs, and interfaces aren’t interfering with testing workflows 

And while we’d all prefer to use cutting-edge technology all the time, in reality you probably have to deal with legacy equipment somewhere in the stack. You may need to identify and fix weak points or migrate to new hardware. Aggregated system data can help you discover and deal with these older endpoints. 

Metrics & Reporting

Just like the engineers you support, you don’t want to be bogged down with too much documentation, but you recognize its importance. Automated system reporting keeps everyone on the same page, streamlining interactions with the finance team and with external compliance auditors.

Security

At every layer of the above processes, you need to be sure that the best-available security measures are in place. These include:

  • Password complexity
  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA/2FA) 
  • Encryption of data in transit and at rest
  • Network segmentation and secure network authentication 
  • SSH key management
  • Repeatable user provisioning and deprovisioning processes     

A centralized reporting system helps you quickly evaluate your security posture and implement the above practices wherever they’re missing. 

Cloud-Hosted System & Infrastructure Management With System Insights

If you’re looking for a better way to gather and organize system data in your DevOps environment, you might be thinking that the only viable solution is a standalone reporting tool. But what if this kind of deep insight into hardware and software configurations, usage, and connections was part of your central user directory, and that central user directory was just as capable of managing Linux® servers in AWS® as Windows® desktops in your office?

JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® acts as a modern, cloud-hosted replacement for Active Directory® and LDAP, and it’s designed with high-velocity iteration and modern IT resources in mind. This new type of directory service integrates with cloud computing platforms for server access management, and its System Insights™ feature gives you customizable API-level access to the system data you need to keep your CI/CD pipelines running smoothly.

If a consolidated access control platform with available system reporting sounds appealing, try JumpCloud with full functionality for free


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