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CI/CD / Containers / Kubernetes / Microservices Helps Corral Containers for DevOps

Jun 14th, 2017 6:00am by
Featued image for: Helps Corral Containers for DevOps aims to help domesticate containers for devops and microservices environments that can run wild all too easily.

“When we started Yipee, the Docker space was pretty much like a wild, wild west. You could download these containers, but you didn’t really know what you were getting. It was like ‘We’re corralling your containers and bringing some organization to the images you’re trying to use,’” said project founder Mark Emeis.

Yipee is a startup running inside CA Technologies through its accelerator program, which allows CA employees receive support and funding to develop their own ideas and take new products to market.

Other projects from the accelerator include a mobile app for meetings Instant Agenda and Qubeship which provides toolchains for Docker teams.

Yipee, now about 15 months old, was founded on lean principles that involve fine-tuning the idea, then talking to a lot of people in the space to find out whether the solution you’re proposing will help solve their problems. From that, a set of minimum viable features emerged. With those features now in place, Yipee is trying to attract more users to provide additional feedback.

It essentially offers three things:

  • Visual modeling of applications.
  • Ability to convert that model for different orchestrators.
  • Team sharing.

“Interviewing people, we found Docker has some constructs that aren’t easy to get your head wrapped around. Not that they’re overly complicated, but they’re new. There are pieces you have to knit together. That’s where we came up with a visual modeler inside,” Emeis said.

The state of the art today is a YAML file that defines the whole application. If you have so many different services in your application, it can be difficult to understand what’s really happening. Throw on top of that virtualized networks, storage, internal host-based remote storage — all those things that are crucial to your application’s functioning, capturing all that in a YAML file — maybe multiple YAML files with the Kubernetes orchestration engine — all that can be difficult to understand, he said is a visual modeling tool that lets you lay out your services, visually connect them via networking, add storage, configure all that and get your model semantically correct so your application is understandable.

“At Yipee, we insulate you from the orchestration environment and do the conversion between an OpenShift, a Kubernetes or a Compose/Swarm environment in Docker itself. We want you to fully understand the model of your application, so we really push that to say, ‘Understand what your application is. Understand your dependencies between your application, your networking, your volume storage. Then let worry about creating the semantic or even correct orchestration environment where you want to run this application,’ ” he said.

It doesn’t actually do the orchestration for you on different cloud services — you might already have automated processes for that, he said.

The result of using is a configuration file or set of files for, say, Kubernetes that you then go and run in that environment.

If you were doing Compose on your desktop. You model five or six services, the networking and all that, then you’d download that file specific to the version you’re trying to orchestrate in, then you’d do docker-dompose up. In your environment, it would pull the images down from whatever repository you identified in your Yipee model, then it would start all those services, configure networking, etc.

It works with Compose v3, Red Hat’s OpenShift and Kubernetes and it will add others based on customer feedback.

The Yipee team is working on integration with other CI/CD tools, such as a Jenkins plugin that would pull the model out of Yipee so you could do your deployment with it, he said.

It provides a single source of truth for team sharing, Emeis said. You can sign up as a team account and have multiple writers contributing different orchestrator or app models, then be sharing across the development team. The Yipee team uses it internally so everyone can download what the current model is.

With Docker Swarm v3, for instance, while you have the rest of your team on v2, you can have a handful of people download v3 and be testing your model on it, and Yipee does the conversion for you.

So far, its team of nine is onboarding customers individually to help ensure they have a good experience with Yipee. It’s working on being able to offer self sign-up, and adding features to keep up with the latest orchestrator releases, Emeis said.

CA Technologies and Red Hat are sponsors of The New Stack.

Feature image via Pixabay.

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TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in: Docker.
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