Today we welcome Jim McBride, Chief Cloud Architect at Enteon.  In this guest post, Jim describes how Enteon use Weave to create networks that segregate access to functionality like “database access”.  This is done in a way that is completely portable (location transparent), and can connect up legacy systems (eg Oracle) to public clouds (eg Amazon).

— alexis

The Divide

Traditional enterprise IT organizations are increasingly looking to “Cloud Native” development methods and tech to speed their time to market.  The distance between their capabilities today, and where they need to be in order to fully participate in this new world can be significant.  Mainstream enterprises don’t have to be stuck!  At Enteon we are developing software that uses Weave to help customers achieve the state of the art in software development, without throwing out everything they know.  In this blog post we will share a bit about how we achieve this.

A new Cloud Native application architecture

The current state of the art for today’s leading websites and SaaS providers is:

  • Continuously delivered applications
  • Composed of microservices
  • Built on elastic containerized architectures
  • Backed by scalable nosql datastores
  • Running on a dynamic cloud infrastructure

Some people call this “Cloud Native”.

Traditional enterprises can find this confusing, and too much of a challenge

For the typical enterprise, is this any more than a jumble of buzzwords?  The answer is Yes, it is – but it is still aspirational, and can be confusing as the following micro-service diagram from AppDynamics shows..

source: http://blog.appdynamics.com/devops/visualizing-and-tracking-your-microservices/

Many development organizations in enterprises are trying to close the gap between the rising demand for functionality (and ultimately the quest to generate revenue) and their organization’s ability to code, deploy, and operate the apps and the infrastructure that they ride on.

In most cases, the enterprise is more significantly constrained by its history, organizational culture, structure, and their current vendor ecosystem, than a small (<100 persons) development team focused on delivering the next groundbreaking social-media technology.

Mainstream enterprises don’t need to feel stuck

The enterprise can get there from here – but they need a bridge.  A bridge that will allow the enterprise to operate in a way they know today, but leads them into the new land of a flexible and fluid target state.  During their transformation, the enterprise needs to be able to access and leverage legacy resources including people and technology.

At Enteon we are developing software that provides this enterprise bridge, without any vendor baggage, and early on we knew that the network plumbing was a critical and potentially messy issue, but it turns out that it didn’t have to be.

We filled this gap very quickly once we found Weave.

Weave simplifies cloud access and integration

Weave’s approach to container-based networking has allowed us to extend what used to be in-house-only-networks across the fabric of the cloud.  To our users, “Red Network” is the Red Network”, whether the container is running on AWS, Azure, or inside their private infrastructure.  And it doesn’t require the painstaking setup and maintenance of additional networking gear or software appliances, Weave just works.

Creating Weave networks for Legacy services

One of the anticipated challenges of extending the networks was the need to provide definable network on-ramps and off-ramps into the fabric.  This allows an enterprise with a legacy Oracle database, squirreled away on a tiered data network, to be accessed from the container fabric.

In Weave, we define the Oracle-Data Network”, then create the off-ramp, and now the container fabric can access the database, globally.  Conversely, for legacy resources that need to interact with endpoints in the fabric, we can extend the networks between the endpoints and interact globally.  Weave’s features and API makes this a trivial operation – our orchestration workflows instantiate the endpoints, extend the networks, and we are up and running.

Summary

Enteon is bridging the divide between the current enterprise legacy state and the new container frontier in a seamless way that allows enterprises to gain value early from their investment in go-forward tech while leveraging their legacy investment.  Weave is one of the ways we are getting there.

-Jim McBride

jim@enteon.com  /  @stlalpha