Atlassian DevOps Event Impressions

Today I attended an event, organized by ManageWare, titled “Bridging the Gap Between Dev & Ops”, focusing on Atlassian’s tools suite. JIRA is a very popular tool here in Israel, so the main theme of the event was to showcase how productivity and collaboration can be increased when integrating JIRA with other tools.

There were quite a few presentation (detailed at the end of the post) on various DevOps-oriented subjects, such as CI/CD pipelines, monitoring and reporting. Nothing revolutionary, but it was nice to see how a good integration between various tools (not just Atlassian ones…) can really make things flow faster and help focus on generating value for the business.

I only wish some of the sessions were longer, there was a lot more to see; unfortunately, due to time constraints, most presenters had to rush through their materials.

And finally we had some fresh Pizza and ice-cold beer ūüôā

The presentations:

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Jenkins User Conference 2016 – Impressions

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Today I attended the Jenkins User Conference, held in Israel, hosted by JFrog.

First off I have to say the event was very well organized. Great location, everything on schedule, no technical issues, some nice swag, and excellent food and drinks throughout the day (including afternoon beer!). Considering there were about 450¬†people there, that is no small task…

The guest of honor was Kohsuke Kawaguchi (KK), the creator of Jenkins, who gave an interesting keynote, with overview about the concepts behind Jenkins 2.0, and some anecdotes from the history of Jenkins.

The main theme of the conference was that Speed is Everything, as you can figure from¬†JFrog’s motto, “Release fast or die”. Their view is that software today is about continuous update – you basically deploy your products once, and from there onward you struggle to¬†update them as often as possible, as seamlessly as possible, without negative¬†effects on¬†the user experience. This raises numerous challenges which¬†various vendors and open source projects are striving to solve.

There conference was packed with sessions related to the DevOps world, mostly about making things faster without losing control on the process. Liveperson, for example, discussed how they manage 6000 releases a year, with over 10K builds per week.

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Netflix build process

Netflix are well known for their excellent deployment capabilities.

In this article they go over their build process and tools, from compiling code all the way to production, and presenting their current challenges and future plans.

A highly recommend read for anyone who is interested in doing DevOps the right way.

Monitoring ClearCase Performance

ClearCase is a complicated product, and when you encounter performance issues it’s quite difficult to figure out the reason.
IBM has some technotes and articles on the subject, but most of them involve running all sorts of commands and scripts and meticulously analyzing their output (see one example here).

A few months ago it came to my attention that ALMToolBox are working on a web-based, graphical monitoring tool which provides a simple yet powerful overview on system performance, both on the infrastructure level (CPU, I/O etc.) and on the application level (ClearCase objects and commands), and correlate them as seen below.


You can also watch a live demo on this page.

It’s still early in development but¬†it looks promising, and I urge every ClearCase administrator to keep a close eye on this product.

Edit: Even better – it can be used to monitor virtually anything, not just ClearCase servers. In this page you can see a “vitality report” which also includes ClearQuest, JIRA and Bamboo servers.

Visual Annotate

Visual Annotate is a nice tool which enables you to annotate a file in ClearCase using an easy to use GUI (instead of using the cleartool annotate command line and trying to figure out what the output means).

It provides a clear, color-coded visualization of where each line comes from (which version and which user). There are many features and customization options, and also integration with IDEs and, with the latest version, the ability to integrate with various Issue trackers.

The most useful feature in my eyes is the ability to see where a change really comes from Рif a certain line is the result of the merge, You can see (as a tooltip) the source of the merge, helping you understand who actually did the code change, and where. This is a real time-saver.

In their latest release, they also offer a free edition – you can use the tool for free 20 minutes per day. I suggest you go and check it out.


Migrating off ClearCase – initial thoughts

I spent the last week watching some ClearCase migration webinars and talking to some vendors. My first conclusion is: everyone – even IBM – want you to migrate from ClearCase, and will gladly explain why. Then, they will explain why you should choose their tool over the others. And lastly, they will happily do it for you since apparently they all have vast experience in migrating customers from ClearCase.

Although, I must say, a couple of the ‘smaller’ vendors did say that we should focus on mapping our processes first, then choose a tool which can accommodate this process. This is actually a major paradigm shift: from a file-based development to a process-based development.

So maybe that’s what we’ll do next: try to map the development process. In our case it would be the branching & labeling strategies, which are slightly different between the various development teams here. I expect that, once the process it laid out, we can devise the relevant use-cases, which will help to compose a list of requirements, and test scenarios.

Migrating to JIRA – Technical

When migrating from ClearQuest to JIRA, there are some several technical pitfalls which one may encounter. In this post I will detail the main issues which I tackled during the migration process.

The general strategy is to use as much of the built-in JIRA fields as possible, since many abilities and plug-ins uses them by default (such as JIRA Agile). It required effort, but it certainly paid off.

Let’s discuss the details, then:

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Migrating off ClearCase

It finally happens…

After using ClearCase for 17 years, we came to a conclusion that we must migrate to a different tool.

The reason: cost. The licensing and support are simply way too expensive compared to other tools on the market. Consider the fact that a single ClearCase license costs about $4500, which is about 6 times the cost other commercial products charge. Roughly the same rate applies on annual support costs. Not to mention the free alternatives such as the well-versed Subversion or the rising star Git.

So… where to start? there are three major aspects to consider:

1. Which Version Control tool to choose?

2. What is the best data migration strategy?

3. What is the best approach for switching the developers  and the development environment to the new tool (builds, utilities etc.)?

We will probably have to hire some expert consultant for this project. But I still need to do my own research, so I’d at least know what questions to ask when the time comes.


Perforce Merge 2013 Impressions

I’ve attended the Perforce Merge 2013 conference in Tel Aviv.

I am not a Perforce user, and I only know the basic principles behind it, but still I was interested to hear about their concept of ALM and their approach to implementing it.

The keynote theme was ‘Continuous Everything’ (Perforce’s ¬†take on the ‘continuous delivery’ trend). Superb presentation by Simon West, talking about how their new products and new server features enable better versioning, better collaboration, and better control.

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