As a community, cloud developers are not prone to follow specific directions to deliver an assignment. Like pirates and cowboys, many developers would rather be left to their own devices to create solutions then follow an “Insert Code A into Line B” regimen.
So you’d think developers would take umbrage at a technology called blueprinting, which sounds a little too much like painting-by-numbers. But the fast-developing world of cloud generally, and blueprinting specifically, is evolving into an ideal environment for giving them more freedom to innovate, not less. Here’s how.
A blueprint is simply a template that describes infrastructure requirements, server configuration requirements, and application configuration requirements that can be built up quickly in an environment in a repeatable, reliable, and predictable way—and always in compliance.
This is an ideal solution for development and test teams, who need to deploy complex application stacks on a regular basis. This activity is labor intensive, error-prone and time consuming. Blueprints make it easy for architects to define a complete application stack and provide a simple, repeatable one-click deployment, thus saving weeks of effort and enabling faster development and QA cycle times.
For developers, the value is that they can quickly launch reconfigured environments or reconfigured platforms in the cloud of their choice, a tremendous time saver. Instead of manually configuring these environments, they can be launched from a blueprint–and the list of available platform components is growing. For example, some users like to develop and test on a public cloud platform such as Amazon, then move the project to private cloud for deployment. Blueprinting technologies are helpful in making that happen by providing easy, one-click ordering for application development teams.
Chef is another central cloud technology that, when paired with blueprinting, helps developers do their job better. Chef allows developers to deliver code that automatically installs and configures their applications in true DevOps fashion. By defining the relationship between servers and required Chef roles in a blueprint, the developer is assured that their application is properly installed: repeatedly, reliably and consistently.
In short, blueprints allow precise specification of infrastructure and application configuration requirements, while providing flexibility for customization. Blueprints are enabling—not controlling.
Accenture understands that, in a sense, developers are the real target of cloud. So we’ve filled the Accenture Cloud Platform with developer-friendly tools and self-service catalogs. Accenture Tools in the Cloudis a manageable and scalable solution that offers projects the ability to significantly reduce lead times for getting development and test environments up and running while having continuous integration and delivery tools such as Git, Sonar, Nexus and Jenkins deployed and ready to use. The result? Developers can bring their cloud application ideas and solutions to the customer faster.
Blueprinting saves developers time, encourages innovation, and allows them to focus on what they do best.