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Comcast Integrates Cloud Foundry in a Move to Self-Service and 12-Factor Apps

by Roger StrukhoffJuly 16, 2015
Dev teams at the major cable company are integrating Cloud Foundry, Docker, and OpenStack to create new custom services.
Why read this?
Use Case for Cloud Foundry:

Broadcasting and Cable: Comcast uses Cloud Foundry to create custom services for its customers.

Business or Technical Result:

Creating self-service digital assembly for customers who had global requirements.

Lessons learned:

Careful coordination among developers, architects, and operations engineers is essential.

CF deployed to:

OpenStack

What else is in the stack?

Docker, Puppet, Pivotal CF

Cool fact about deployment:

The company moved to Docker early in its thinking.

Company Description:

Largest cable provider and home ISP in U.S., with annual revenues exceeding $60 billion.

(Note: This use case is based on a presentation at the Cloud Foundry Summit 2015 in Santa Clara, CA by Sam Guerrero, , and others from Comcast.)

 

The problem to solve

Comcast is the largest cable provider and home ISP in the U.S., serving 40 states from its headquarters location in Philadelphia. Annual revenues exceed $60 billion.

Today, the company’s development and operations teams are integrating Cloud Foundry, Docker, and OpenStack. It also leverages Puppet and JIRA to make custom URLs on-demand for customers, who often need global availability from a single site, hosted on multiple Cloud Foundry instances.

Comcast Use Case: Cloud Foundry Meets Docker and Openstack at the marketplace

Along the way, Comcast envisions a self-service, digital assembly line. “We introduced a self-service model for app developers that’s decreased the time between release cycles,” says Comcast’s Sam Guerrero. “The key to agility is careful coordination among developers, architects and operations engineers, offering a holistic service model and service offering.”

Everyone becomes more engaged in this approach as members of the Comcast team insert themselves further along the assembly line. As a result, “We can no longer in effect say it’s OK to give our customers a brand new car but also tell them they have to install a transmission before they can drive it,” according to Guerrero. “If we make our factory better, everything else can improve.”

 

A shift in thinking

The use of Cloud Foundry has caused a shift in thinking and is changing the mindset of engineering. Old questions associated with traditional software development are being replaced by new questions that focus on how quickly VMs can be deployed and how processes can be automated. Then, the question becomes how to focus on the end-product of services rather than simply deploying the VMs.

Comcast Use Case: Two layers of Service Broker implementation

The new self-service model for app developers has decreased the time between release cycles. With OpenStack in place, operations sees benefits as well. “Openstack is very convenient because it allows users to add compute or storage or network resources,” according to Comcast’s Sergey Matochkin.

Then, integrating Docker “adds a portability guarantee that containers will run consistently across different environments, provide the right level of isolation, and be economical to run,” according to Matochkin. “You can run it on the same VM, so there’s not much overhead. Docker also supports the application lifecycle, as we can use Docker images within the managed service lifecycle.”

The integrated team is moving toward a DevOps model, keyed by a commitment to 12-factor apps and the fact that “our experience with Cloud Foundry has been positive and helped us learn new things as we move toward the end-goal of agile product development and time to market,” says Guerrero.

 

Want details? Watch the video!

Here is the original video presented at the Cloud Foundry Summit 2015 in Santa Clara, CA.

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