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Using feature flags and observability for service migrations


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Change is inevitable, and that’s a superb factor, particularly in relation to software program improvement, the place it means delivering new and progressive options that enhance person expertise and high quality of life. Moreover, within the case of service migration, change can imply improved efficiency and decrease prices. However creating change reliably isn’t any simple job, notably on the subject of evolving architectures that make up at this time’s trendy cloud environments, that are deeply advanced and unpredictable.

In case your platform goes down, what you are promoting suffers and your reliability comes into query, doubtlessly tarnishing your popularity. Due to this fact, when approaching main architectural modifications, devops groups ought to at all times ask themselves: How a lot work is concerned in making this variation? Is it value it? 

Enterprise expertise corporations are tasked with sustaining each pace and reliability, requiring high-performance engineering practices. To enhance utility high quality and efficiency for prospects, the platforms and companies these corporations ship mustn’t ever expertise diminished efficiency. All software program distributors should rise to the problem of repeatedly optimizing or threat being left behind for different extra performant companies. 

Every year, main cloud service suppliers launch dozens, if not lots of, of product updates and enhancements – placing the onus on engineering groups to decipher which configuration optimizes cloud and utility efficiency. But when there may be even one situation in migrating to the brand new structure, the probability of disruption will increase dramatically.

Given the excessive stakes of those service migrations, engineering groups should meticulously plan their strikes. So as to add to the excessive stakes of those migrations, the annual cadence of cloud feature releases is trigger for concern, with over 90% of IT professionals and executives reporting they’re anxious concerning the fee of innovation among the many high cloud suppliers and their capacity to maintain tempo with it.

To maintain up, organizations have carried out progressive approaches to service migrations – with one devops follow, feature administration, gaining important traction. In going through comparable challenges to repeatedly enhance our platform and interfaces, software program builders have turned to feature administration to repeatedly ship and launch code, whereas sustaining stringent controls that permit for real-time experimentation, canary releases, and instant code rollbacks ought to a bug trigger points.

For years, now we have utilized the feature administration platform LaunchDarkly to experiment, handle, and optimize software program supply; enabling a sooner tempo of innovation with out compromising utility reliability. Serverless features make service migrations a snap, since altering which model of a perform is invoked is just a configuration change.

Experimentation however with the guardrails of observability & feature flags

Using feature management, enterprise expertise corporations might be geared up to convey the identical capabilities to their cloud optimization initiatives. The performance of feature flags allows capabilities that may enhance the tempo of experimentation and testing, and permit enterprise expertise corporations to scale cloud structure on the flip of a swap.  

By experimentation, groups can troubleshoot points – resembling non-optimized code – that might end in delayed execution occasions. With feature flags, these releases may be rapidly rolled again to revive regular conduct for customers. With this quantity of precision and management, groups can restrict the period and publicity of experiments, mitigating detrimental impression and serving to to tell extra cautious rollouts. Groups can then conduct follow-up experiments to make sure reliability and efficiency, whereas additionally using steady profiling to assist troubleshoot the problem of their code. 

The management, pace and scale of those assessments are solely potential with feature administration and observability. With feature flags, groups achieve larger management to direct site visitors to check environments, analyze efficiency, and rapidly restore the unique atmosphere with no disruptions or downtime. In high-stakes conditions resembling these, engineering groups require options that may take the nerves out of their work and present them with the capabilities they should help steady enchancment initiatives and optimize their infrastructure.

Extra confidence to innovate

Feature flags and observability are for organizations giant and small, conventional and cloud-native. Immediately, doing issues the old school manner usually means doing it the laborious manner and, in the end, slows innovation. By embracing devops strategies throughout software program improvement and cloud engineering groups, organizations can take dangers with the boldness obligatory to really innovate.

Pushing platforms to new heights usually takes a concerted effort that in any other case can be unattainable with out the assurances that feature flags and observability present. In adopting feature administration for cloud optimization and migration initiatives, groups may be each quick and dependable, whereas additionally enabling a tradition of fixed experimentation and innovation.

Embracing new applied sciences and strategies to quicken the tempo at which organizations can experiment, take a look at and deploy new code or architectures is proving to be invaluable throughout industries. It’s time that high-stakes processes, resembling deploying code in manufacturing and optimizing cloud infrastructure, turn out to be sooner and simpler – not simply for our engineers, but in addition for prospects who deserve the utmost in efficiency and reliability.

Liz Fong-Jones is Principal Developer Advocate at Honeycomb.

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