lifecycle-hashicorp

Talking HashiCorp with CEO Dave McJannet

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This week at AWS re:Invent, I was lucky enough to be able to sit down with Dave McJannet, CEO (and fellow Canadian, eh!) of HashiCorp. As a huge fan of the HashiCorp products and story, this was especially enjoyable for me. I wanted to share some of the conversation and my thoughts with everyone here.

The HashiCorp Ecosystem

HashiCorp is the company that produces many of the products that we use today, whether you realize it or not. The array of products is astounding for a company of its size and age.  There are a variety of open source products:

open-source-hashicorp

There are also the enterprise suite of products:

enterprise-hashicorp

The first homework assignment I’ll give you is to go and read this article on the HashiCorp blog: https://www.hashicorp.com/blog/hashicorp-devops-and-the-application-delivery-process.html

To give a simplified view of it, we see the three stages and a few key items that are a part of each phase.

provsion-secure-run-hashicorp

Provision

  • How do you do your infrastructure provisioning?
  • Bare-metal? Virtualization layer? Public cloud? Container? Any or all of the above?
  • Image packaging and creation
  • Programmatic, composable methods

Secure

  • Secret management
  • Security in volatile and ephemeral environments
  • Programmatic, composable methods

Run

  • Launch and discover instances, VMs, and containers
  • Programmatic, composable methods

You can see the common theme that I’ve highlighted. Programmatic, composable methods. The key feature across all of the different products in the HashiCorp suite is the ability to programmatically create and manage infrastructure. The next generation of applications will need this. Truthfully, today’s infrastructure needs it too, but we still have some traditional hand-craft infrastructure that has held on and continues to operate in many, many environments.

Solving the Workflow Challenge

Every piece in the HashiCorp puzzle shares a common goal: solve the workflow challenge.

Workflow challenges come in the ways that we do things including (but not limited to, of course):

  • Provisioning our underlying infrastructure
  • Deploy on multiple physical, virtual, and cloud infrastructure platforms using common methods
  • Build applications to deploy on heterogeneous infrastructure
  • Continuous management from infrastructure to application layers

As I covered in a recent post around the Top 3 Skills that Every IT Person Needs, the key focus was on automation, orchestration, and getting closer to a developer’s view of infrastructure. I also highlighted how important security is at every single level.

This is where the HashiCorp story becomes so important. Again, the lifecycle approach that is being taken across the suite of products helps to illustrate how it all can fit together.

lifecycle-hashicorp

Interchangeable Lifecycle Products

The full stack has a view like this:

full-stack-hashicorp

What you’ll find interesting around how the full stack looks across many of the current HashiCorp customers and community product users. There are many interchangeable products that fit in amongst the layers. There are products that fill out the overall suite, or you can also cleanly integrate with your own infrastructure solutions.

Heterogeneity is a fundamental part of the story. I was especially impressed with the candid chat with Dave and he noted that “our reality is around heterogeneity, which means we need to be able to provision, secure, and run on any infrastructure” which is echoed in all of the product documentation, the well-stated Tao of HashiCorp, and in conversation with folks using the HashiCorp products.

There’s a reason that great community advocates and technologists like Kelsey Hightower of Google will often feature HashiCorp products in his talks and demos. They fit into important places, and solve very specific and interesting challenges.

Next Steps

Hopefully that gives you an idea of the story that is important to how HashiCorp products come together in general. You’re not done yet, because your second piece of homework is the DevOps blog article: https://www.hashicorp.com/devops.html

If you walk away from all of this with anything, it should be that you need to look at what you’re doing today, and how you can look towards products like the HashiCorp suite of products to solve challenges within your overall application and infrastructure lifecycle management.

If you don’t think that you have challenges, you just haven’t looked close enough. If you don’t believe that HashiCorp is an important part of what you could be doing, you also haven’t looked close enough. Not because they are the only ones attacking these challenges, but because the companies you use today for banking, infrastructure hosting, cloud management, and more, are already using Consul, Terraform, Vault, Packer and other products.

I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in the future for the company and the products. Look for some technical HowTo blogs in the near future as I give you some insight to how I use the products already today.

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