September 25 2015

As the story goes, woe to the person who builds their home on the sandy ground.  Much better to build it on the solid foundation of rock.


Poor Infrastructure = Risky

One of the common challenges we see at new clients on their initial projects - or projects we are brought in to help on - is a lack of investment and focus on provisioning the infrastructure. Often, teams do not have adequate time, skills or priority to ensure a solid environment. When you add the tendency of tight project deadlines and a desire to “get going on the development”, the lack of a solid infrastructure foundation can be a real challenge for middleware projects. Unfortunately, too much time is wasted with problems, issues — distracting the development team from delivering value with the project
 
Poor infrastructure can contribute to a bad project outcome in multiple ways:
  • Distraction : Time spent on infrastructure issues upsets plans and focus on the project.
  • Missed milestone dates : Time spent on unforeseen issues and problems, including sizing and configuration, can come back up at the worst possible moments on a project.  This can result in missed dates and project cost overruns as resources shift to focus on the infrastructure issues.
  • Finger-pointing :  Ownership issues can crop up when multiple teams are involved and roles are unclear. This can lead to the traditional finger-pointing and slowdowns to solve issues.  
  • Production issues : Troubleshooting can be more difficult and take longer, resulting in longer outages and higher customer impact.
  • Lack of confidence : Perhaps most importantly, an unstable system will impact the confidence of the entire team, across business, development and management sponsors. If they cannot trust the system, there will always be a doubt in their minds as the project moves forward.  
 
No one wants to experience these issues, but many clients are up against tough budget constraints or limited staff skills. Unfortunately, building your project on a risky platform means you will pay later in the project.  Often, this could be at a very bad time or at the launch to production.   
 
Solid Infrastructure = Much Less Risky!
 
While not every environment issue can be foreseen on prevented, we recommend a few key activities to reduce risk and raise your chances for project success.  These activities will also help speed up and narrow down your troubleshooting as projects move into production.  
 
  • Size the environments correctly : While you don’t need a monster system for many initial implementations, sufficient memory and database capacity will be key to satisfy the needs of the Oracle enterprise integration and process management platform. You don’t want to start out from behind on this dimension.
  • Apply the latest patches : Be sure to verify the latest patch level and ensure you are patching current whenever possible.  This both eliminates known issues and also saves time if you have the need to open a Service Request (SR) with Oracle
  • Automate your Provisioning : Leveraging a tool like Rubicon Red’s MyST to automate both your installation and deployment, you can realize significant risk reduction, speed to market and lower cost in provisioning, patching and maintaining your FMW environments.  DevOps methodologies are no longer optional in the development landscape - they are required for the competitive edge your company needs.  In addition, they help reduce some of the role risk that I mentioned above by bringing the development and operations teams closer together.
  • Get Training - Does your team need WebLogic Admin training?  How about SOA and general FMW?  Do you have sufficient Database and OS skills available?
  • Invest in (even basic!) performance testing : Even something simple with SoapUI to drive basic load will help catch many issues that will cause issues farther on in the project. Being able to run even basic loads will catch the basic things so you can fix them quickly in lower environments.
 
Investing in a solid platform will pay dividends by enabling the development team to make changes faster and with more confidence. Reach out to us here at AVIO - we can help ensure the foundation is stable!  

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