Weaveworks product highlights from GitOps Days 2021
It is hard to chose highlights from GitOps Days 2021 with so many interesting end user and community talks. So this time around we are reflecting on our product highlights including the GitOps Maturity Model, plus demos of new Weave GitOps Core and Weave Kubernetes Platform (WKP).
We’ve just wrapped up GitOps Days 2021 – our annual (and still virtual) event. With so many talks and demos to choose from, it isn’t easy to pick the highlights, but three that will stand out for a lot of people are the GitOps Maturity Model, a demo of new Weave GitOps Core and a demo of WKP – on which there is more news to come.
Like everything that took place at this year’s GitOps Days, it was all recorded, so you can watch it at your leisure. You’ll find the links below.
Introducing the GitOps Maturity Model
Paul Fremantle, Weaveworks VP of Engineering, introduced the new GitOps Maturity Model. Maturity models are useful tools to help you evaluate where you are as an organization, in relation to a particular technology – in this case GitOps. They enable you to work out whether or not you are realizing the full benefits of that technology and identify actions you should take to progress to the next level.
The GitOps Maturity Model is based on observations by the Weaveworks team as they have worked with customers, helping them adapt to GitOps and move forwards with it. Naturally, every organization is different in terms of its needs and its technology resources, but some key themes have emerged. In short, the model can help you work out what capabilities you need to acquire next in order to improve your performance.
Level 1: Prerequisites
There are four levels in the model. The first step is named ‘Prerequisites’ – and in essence, this means you are still not quite there with GitOps. For example, you may be using Git to store some configuration information, yet your infrastructure might not be fully declarative. That’s going to limit your ability to automate deployment and reconciliation. Organizations at this level in the model are often using GitOps (software and processes) for their initial deployment, but without automatic reconciliation after that – which can lead to drift. So clearly, this is still not quite GitOps – until you get to level two.
Level 2: Core GitOps
The second level is Core GitOps. Organizations here might be using GitOps fully, but on just one workload. So they have declarative infrastructure as code, which means they can enjoy automatic reconciliation and drift detection on that workload, increasing deployment speed and stability. But the business value here is limited to that workload.
Level 3: Enterprise GitOps
The third step is where it gets more serious – and the business value really grows. This is what we call Enterprise GitOps, where the entire environment – infrastructure, clusters, config and workloads – are all held together in Git. With everything in version control, the organization can now benefit from the policy advantages, which means compliance and governance are now in hand. At this stage, the entire environment has been automated and centralized, which means all DORA measures – deployment speed, MTTR etc – are optimized.
Level 4: Scaled GitOps
For most organizations, level three in the model will represent GitOps Nirvana. But there is still a fourth level, which we call Scaled GitOps. In our experience, this is applicable to businesses with fleets containing thousands of clusters. Scaled GitOps means you can manage these thousands of clusters without employing thousands of SREs. You can roll out updates across whole fleets easily, even if you’re running complex hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructure – even bare metal. GitOps at this level is especially beneficial for telcos and other businesses that run thousands of clusters at the edge.
Overall, the model charts a course from early adoption by developers and devops teams, usually aiming to improve one or two metrics, such as deployment speed, through to something that delivers business value across the entire organization. But the key thing to remember, as Paul explained, is that it is not a race to the top. Not everyone has thousands of clusters to manage. It’s about looking at what you need and whether you’ve got the capabilities to achieve your objectives.
Introducing Weave GitOps Core
Level one of the Maturity model is, as described above, not really GitOps. So we thought we’d make it easier to get to that all important level two, Core GitOps. And that brings us on to the really big news of GitOps Days 2021 – the arrival of a new product.
Fully open source and free for anyone to use, Weave GitOps Core comprises of all the software you need to adopt the GitOps model and the big thing about GitOps Core is that it enables you to adopt GitOps more easily than ever before. Let’s put it this way: you can get everything up and running with just two commands. In fact, you only need one command to install it. So it’s a turnkey experience – but one that doesn’t preclude doing custom configuration for those who want to go further.
At GitOps Days, Weaveworks Chief Technology Officer Cornelia Davis gave a demonstration of exactly how easy it is to get started, from installation of the GitOps runtime into your cluster to linking your application to the clusters – in effect, using GitOps for continuous delivery of your applications.
A demo of Weave Kubernetes Platform (WKP)
Weave Kubernetes Platform has been shipping now for over a year. Which means it’s been in market and in use, with our customers setting it to work and engineers teams helping out with consulting services and ongoing support. So we know it works.
In her second live demonstration, Cornelia explained that the key difference between Weave GitOps Core and WKP concerns scale – and by implication, who in the organization you are empowering. Weave GitOps Core was built to empower developers and devops teams, to enable them to work faster and more reliably. WKP allows for a different set of processes from that developer-focused experience. It is about giving platform teams the tools they need to manage developer access at a much larger scale – often across the entire organization. So, as Cornelia went on to explain, WKP, as an enterprise product, is more about empowering the platform team.
Scale doesn’t necessarily mean complexity, however. Indeed, the whole point of GitOps is to simplify, centralize and automate things, making life easier, not harder. And the best way to understand that is to watch her demo of WKP.