We can help with individual aspects of automation, and can deliver significant value in solving specific challenges that you may be facing. We can also compound the benefits of individual aspects of automation with our recommended integrated approach including environment creation and configuration, deployment and testing. We have solutions that are optimised for the data warehousing/BI context.



What is automated environment creation and configuration?

Environments are traditionally created by a process starting with procurement of new hardware, through to the setting up of that hardware and operating system configuration. With cloud services, the process can be done at short notice using user interfaces such as the AWS console, and may be automated further by scripting using CloudFormation.

Environments are then traditionally configured by manually typing commands, clicking on consoles and running sets of scripts. They may then be modified by further manual processes.

Configuration of environments can be controlled with tools such as Puppet, and there are techniques to get this to manage aspects of the infrastructure beyond the servers themselves, so items such as databases and S3 buckets may also be under control. This means Business Intelligence services may benefit in the same way as other services for which configuration management tools are considered standard practice.

Why should I use it?

The Visible Ops Handbook suggests that without modern processes, you can expect that 80% of outages are caused by a change, and 80% of the MTTR is caused by figuring out what the change was. By using automation, everything has to be done via mechanisms that can be effectively logged, and so you vastly reduce that 80% of MTTR caused by not knowing what the change was. It can also become possible to to undo changes conveniently.

With automated configuration of environments, the development and test environments are consistent with production, and fully automated deployments mean that the same upgrade process is used in development and test as in production, and can be done many times more frequently.
The benefits then increase exponentially when you have trivial effort to create and configure more environments - automated configuration and deployment is the key to making efficient use of the vast resources available in the cloud.

Can you help us work out how to use it?

Yes - and we have extensive experience of how to do this for business intelligence infrastructure, as we have used these techniques very successfully on a large scale Redshift enterprise data warehouse. We can advise on the use of Puppet for configuring various aspects of the infrastructure, from Linux servers to databases to S3 buckets and IAM users. Over the course of using this extensively at a major communications provider, we have done numerous experiments and worked out which are the most effective patterns to follow. We have an integrated BI optimised approach to automated environment creation and configuration, deployment and testing that we can tailor to solve your challenges and maximise the benefits you get from your opportunities.

Can you help us implement and operate it?

Yes - we built all these things at a major communications provider for an Amazon Redshift data warehouse project. We can also advise and coach on the people and processes aspects.

What extra value does Cloud BI Limited add?

We have done these things before with great success. We want to share the benefits of a devops influenced approach to data warehousing. We’re easy to work with and want to see you succeed.

Download in PDF format: Automated Environment Creation and Configuration