Automating Application Traffic Management for Blue-Green Deployments

Challenges of the modern applications:

Nowadays, most apps are cloud-based and distributed, allowing for better scalability to meet changing demands. Fully managed and high availability infrastructure services like Lambda Coding and Elastic Container Services take care of operational tasks, making application deployments smoother.

The frequency of deployments is the most significant change in the software development domain today. Months-long release cycles are no longer the norm, and product teams are now resolving issues and distributing upgrades as soon as they are discovered or required, in real-time and without causing any service interruptions.

This shift presents several challenges for the development and operations teams, as frequent deployments are likely to negatively impact site reliability and end-user experience.

What are Blue Green Deployments?

The Blue-Green deployment methodology is one of the most effective processes for lowering the burden and lead time of application deployments, but it is also one of the most underutilized. Blue-Green deployment is a type of application release model that gradually transfers traffic from an older version of an application to a clone in order to perform essential modifications without disrupting service.

Automate Your F5 ADCs to Get Rid of Service Delivery Delays and TCO Surge

The basic idea behind blue-green deployment is to set up two identical production environments that work in paralell. The first is a live production setup that gets all-user traffic in the blue colour scheme. The second is a clone of the first, except it is dormant and shown in green. The database, back-end, and application configurations are the same in both settings. Only one of these production environments is operational at any given moment. The blue environment, for example, receives all user traffic, while its clone (the green one) is idle. A new version of an application is sent to the green environment for testing when it is ready for release.

Automating Application Traffic Management for Blue-Green Deployments-1

The application traffic is routed from blue to green after the updated release has been tested. The blue clone becomes the new production environment, while the idle clone remains idle. For the next release, this may be the “new green” (idle) environment.

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If there is an issue after the ‘green’ becomes live, traffic can be routed back to blue.

This type of deployment enables enterprises to easily achieve automation and continuous delivery while avoiding the risks and downtime that come with it. It also allows for the rapid and consistent deployment of updates and new versions.

Traffic Management in Blue Green Deployments:

Despite the DevOps team’s efforts to speed up the CI/CD cycles in order to make the application available to end-users without interruption, traffic management remains a significant and difficult challenge.

During the period when the active environment is entirely shut down and brought back up after significant updates and examinations, traffic is directed to the standby environment. The availability of servers and ADCs in that environment is meticulously checked. Application upgrades are common, and the process of shutting down the blue environment and bringing it back online might take several weeks in blue-green deployments.

Firewalls and load balancers need to be reconfigured to redirect traffic. The network crew must be extremely cautious when monitoring and optimising the loads, yet the possibility of human mistake cannot be overlooked.

The most successful method is to automate the ADC’s operation using a self-serviceable management platform. App teams will be able to provision and automate their ADC services, as well as easily enable and disable objects while effectively managing traffic.

With built-in connections with ITSM and IPAM solutions, ADC+, the most effective ADC automation tool, equips companies with zero-touch orchestration and assists in blue-green deployments with a single click via RBAC-powered dashboards and persona-based service catalogues.

With a few simple clicks, ADC+ disables traffic in the ‘Blue’ environment and redirects it to the ‘Green’ one. All of this occurs in the background, with little or no human involvement. A unified dashboard provides real-time visibility into all processes and continuously assesses completion performance against the pre- and post-network configuration.

The event-driven remediation steps are auto-executed by ADC+ based on the ‘context-aware’ closed loop workflows. If a flaw in the setup is discovered, the network team is notified promptly.

Watch Blue Green Deployment in action using ADC+

Competitive Edges of ADC+

Role-Based Access Control Dashboard:

A centralized dashboard enables one to access the statistics and detailed insights regarding the traffic routing, service performance, and the parameters as per their role assigned.

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Centralized Device Management:

Real-time visibility into the status and performance, and automate all ADCs configurations through a single GUI-based pane.

Centralized Device Management

Customized Widgets:

The tool owners can add or disable an object, control the traffic between data-centers, add or remove the virtual servers, and perform automated failovers, from the custom-built application widgets in a few clicks.

Customized Widgets

Real-Time Insights:

The health state, status, and performance of each application instance can be monitored in real-time and the resources can be allocated accordingly with the detailed insights offered.

Real-Time Insights

Winding Up

Blue-green deployment technique is quintessential for any IT business. Risk mitigation, no or no downtime, and quicker rollback to a previous state are all compelling reasons to embrace the practice.

The only issue is traffic management.

The good news is that with specialized advanced technologies like ADC+, traffic management can be done not just efficiently, but also automatically, saving time and effort. As a result, the IT team is able to concentrate more and better on the key areas.

Managing traffic during the transition periods is critical in Blue-Green Deployments to ensure continuous integration and delivery. If the company is effective in managing traffic during the shift, the services will be uninterrupted, and the customer experience will be considerably improved.

Automate your network today!

Tags

  • ADC
  • ADC Automation
  • ADC management
  • Application Delivery Automation

About the Author

Arpit Rastogi

Associate Manager - Product Marketing, AppViewX ADC+

Arpit is part of the product marketing team for AppViewX ADC+. He likes to write about network automation and the challenges related to application delivery control.

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