Posted by Marbenz Antonio on January 3, 2022
Let’s take a quick look at what a Red Hat Portfolio Architecture is and why we’re here before we get started. To begin, the Portfolio Architecture team is focused on investigating and duplicating comprehensive portfolio solutions based on real-world deployments from our clients to contribute these ideas back to the community.
We start with theoretical or conceptual examples as we did in our last blog post, and then we look for actual implementations in the field to illustrate how our clients are utilizing them to achieve specific and meaningful business goals. We’ll continue to build on these solutions as our portfolio stack expands, so we can provide the most relevant and powerful architectures possible.
Now, let’s get to that real-life example I promised. We’ve discovered that limiting the manual expenses and personnel costs associated with scaling an environment in any direction, as well as across multiple focuses such as security and compliance, upgrade and life-cycle management, is one of the most important driving forces for customers in IT automation and management.
We recently assisted a customer that was attempting to decrease manual labor and human error across more than 15 siloed teams, all of which lacked sufficient techniques for keeping their environments current. Due to sporadic setbacks and business delays, prioritizing security maintenance became difficult, posing substantial dangers to their organization and, more importantly, the clients they serve.
We have seen this most often: we recruit a large number of individuals, or perhaps numerous teams, to address the responsibilities in different management areas. We get the personnel right the first time, and everyone has just enough work to get through each day, and the company flows along at a great speed, right?
What happens if we need to grow our environment to meet peak season demand, or if the market changes and we need to swiftly pivot and recruit additional people to manage these higher workloads across each of these teams, even in an ideal situation like that? How can we avoid overstaffing during traffic peaks and understaffing during lulls? These days, one of the most significant aspects of a solution like this is suppleness.
So, to simplify things, we’ve decided to focus on three primary business goals:
It’s a big job to set up an infrastructure for future security, content, and update management beyond the first launch. We assist with two major technical goals: system consistency across hybrid cloud estates (where we focused on managing system drift that normally occurs as they live across a hybrid cloud infrastructure) and full life-cycle, content, and compliance management (which delivers combined functionality to provide exhaustive management of Red Hat products across your entire hybrid cloud estate).
Programmatically offering safe, secure software management solutions necessitates the flexibility to tailor routines to match an ecosystem’s needs. To do this, we’ve combined our focus on the above-mentioned life-cycle, content, and compliance management objectives with automated detection and remediation, allowing users to remotely access an automated environment that’s designed to detect and then correct any discovered, known problems.
Our ultimate business goal is to lower the expenses of executing typically repeated and duplicate processes while also ensuring uniformity across workstreams. All three of our technological goals — system consistency, complete management, and automatic detection and repair — center around this last goal to assist offer a multi-dimensional solution that can be utilized in almost any business.
We have some clients that have successfully adopted the following solution while maximizing the productivity of their present team. The environmental component is depicted in the diagram below.
We can see a reduced landscape to accommodate a scaling RHEL footprint while keeping an elastic, yet stable architecture, similar to the theoretical design presented in our first post. Red Hat Satellite will handle content, life-cycle, and information security as this ecosystem expands in either direction. Red Hat Insights has also been enhanced to incorporate the Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, allowing it to immediately monitor and repair your Ansible setup. We’ll delve a little deeper into the data flow in the next diagram.
RHEL clients must first register with Red Hat Satellite, which will gather system statistics for Red Hat Insights. Satellite and the Ansible Automation Platform are used to encrypt connections to Red Hat Hybrid Cloud, anonymize data, and transmit it to Red Hat.
When Red Hat Insights for RHEL receives RHEL data, it is examined against known problems as well as customer-defined baselines/parameters. After that, remediation plans are developed and made available, as well as playbooks that are set up and ready to be returned to Red Hat Smart Management. Also, data from the Ansible Automation Platform is received, evaluated, and remediation plans are developed inside Insights for Ansible.
Let’s focus on the RHEL remediation plans’ recovery and performance. These may be downloaded on-demand from Red Hat hosted Insights to the Satellite, and the remediations are sent to the client systems as they are ready. The built-in Ansible services in Satellite automate executing the remediation playbooks on numerous systems in a single run, and anything requiring human configuration would be detailed in the Satellite’s repair plan. Any future package upgrades will be downloaded from the Satellite as well. Finally, the Satellite dashboard displays the remediation status.
Ansible then syncs with Red Hat to download and distribute Red Hat’s remediations to the Ansible Automation Platform. RHEL remediation plans can also be manually synchronized to the automation controller if needed, which can then be utilized to deliver the extra remediations in addition to the usual automation duties it is executing to the RHEL property.
Finally, even if all of these products aren’t now operational in your environment, you could be asking if you already have the subscriptions you’ll need to make use of this architecture, or what else you’ll need to do so.
All that is required for this solution in terms of subscriptions is Red Hat Enterprise Linux with Smart Management and Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform. To clarify (since these two subscriptions cover all four products in this solution), the RHEL subscription includes Red Hat Insights, while the Smart Management add-on adds Red Hat Satellite (including any Capsules required to build the full ecosystem).
Finally, while Ansible is essential for some automation components, it is not dependent on the rest of the system. If you are concerned about adding automation to your workstreams, you may still use a substantial amount of this solution while foregoing the automation features mentioned before.
As you explore this solution for your organization, I hope that providing a real-world example of how our customers are using it will assist you in picturing how it may fit into your environment and allow you to take advantage of all the Red Hat portfolio has to offer. Visit Red Hat Insights, Hybrid Cloud Console, Smart Management, and Ansible Automation Platform for more information on each of the products included in this package.
If you’d want more assistance in adopting this solution in your business, please contact us. We’d be delighted to assist you on your journey.