3 Ways To Use Google Cloud Cron for Automation

3 Ways To Use Google Cloud Cron for Automation

If you use DevOps processes, automation and orchestration are king — which is why the Google Cloud cron service can be a great tool for managing your Google Compute Engine instances via Google App Engine code. This kind of automation can often involve multiple Google Cloud services, which is great for learning about them or running scheduled tasks that might need to touch multiple instances.  Here are a few ideas on how to use the Google Cloud cron service:

1. Automated Snapshots

Since Google Compute Engine lets you take incremental snapshots of the attached disks, you can use the Google App Engine cron to take these snapshots on a daily or weekly basis. This lets you go back in time on any of your compute instances if you mess something up or have some systems fail. If you use Google’s Pub/Sub service, you can have the snapshots take place on all instances that are subscribed to that topic.

As a bonus, you can use a similar idea to manage old snapshots and deleting things you don’t need anymore. For example, schedule a Google Cloud cron to clean up snapshots three months after a server is decommissioned, or to migrate those snapshots to long-term storage.

2. Autoscaling a Kubernetes Cluster

With Google on the forefront of Kubernetes development, many GCP users make heavy use of GKE, the managed Kubernetes service. In order to save some money and make sure your containers aren’t running when they aren’t needed, you could set up a cron job to run at 5:00 p.m. each weekday to scale down your Kubernetes cluster to a size of 0. For maximum cost savings, you can just leave it off until you need it, then manually spin up the cluster, or you could use a second cron to spin you clusters up at 8:00 a.m. so it’s ready for the day.

(By the way — we’re working on functionality to let you do this automatically in ParkMyCloud, just like you can for VMs. Interested? Let us know & we’ll notify you on release.)

3. Send Weekly Reports

Is your boss hounding you for updates? Does your team need to know the status of the service? Is your finance group wondering how your GCP costs are trending for this week? Automate these reports using the Google Cloud cron service! You can gather the info needed and post these reports to a Pub/Sub topic, send them out directly, or display it on your internal dashboard or charting tool for mass consumption. These reports can be for various metrics or services, including Google Compute, Cloud SQL, or your billing information for your various projects.

Other Google Cloud Cron Ideas? Think Outside The Box!

Got any other ideas or existing uses to use the Google Cloud cron service to automate your Google Cloud environment? Let us know how you’re using it and why it helps you manage your cloud infrastructure.

3 Things to Expect from the Google Cloud Summit DC

3 Things to Expect from the Google Cloud Summit DC

Google Cloud is hosting summits all over the world, but the Google Cloud Summit DC is a particularly interesting one. The location in the nation’s capital brings together a mix of government contractors, a growing community of technology startups and innovators, and everything in between.

Plus, it’s just up the road from the data center capital of the world – did you know that 70% of the world’s web traffic flows through ParkMyCloud’s home county of Loudoun, Virginia? Google Cloud opened a data center here in 2017, and has offices in downtown DC and in Reston, VA, giving them a more established presence here than in some other Summit locations.

Here are 3 things you can expect from the Google Cloud Summit DC on October 30th:

1. Public Sector Discussion

Each of Google Cloud’s Summits has content paths tailored to local industries, so it’s no surprise that the Washington, DC edition will highlight government considerations – with security tied into the track as well. Sessions include Security Considerations when Migrating; Cloud Regulatory Compliance; and a Public Sector Roadmap panel.

An interesting wrinkle is that Google just announced that it will not submit a bid for the U.S. Department of Defense’s JEDI cloud computing project, citing their AI principles regarding weapons. In the statement, Google said “Google Cloud believes that a multi-cloud approach is in the best interest of government agencies, because it allows them to choose the right cloud for the right workload.”

2. Sessions on Roles and Teams

Google aims to make their summits enticing for people in technical and leadership roles alike, which is why you’ll see sessions on the agenda like “Welcome to the Age of the Cloud Worker” or “Getting ahead of digital transformation: how leaders can build a cloud-first workplace”. Expect discussion of the ways cloud computing impacts hiring and organizational strategy, with roles including Google’s own invention of site reliability engineering.

3. A Focus on AI and Machine Learning

At Google Cloud Next in June, 16 major announcements were made around AI and machine learning. As Google seeks to share knowledge and spread adoption among users, they will focus on tools like Kubeflow, which automates deployments of machine learning workflows to Kubernetes, and various AutoML products that let developers with limited machine learning experience start leveraging machine learning models.

Summit sessions include an Intro to Cloud AI Platform for Data Scientists, Easy Ways to Start Automating Intelligence, and Building the Right Foundation for Competitive Advantage Customers.

 

If you’re coming to the Google Cloud Summit DC, let us know! We’d love to get a coffee or a drink.

Even if you’re not (yet) multi-cloud, you should use cloud agnostic tools

Even if you’re not (yet) multi-cloud, you should use cloud agnostic tools

There’s a simple fact for public cloud users today: you need to use cloud agnostic tools. Yes – even if you only use one public cloud. Why? This recommendation comes down to a few drivers that we see time and time again.

You won’t always use just this cloud

There is an enterprise IT trend to multi-cloud and hybrid cloud – such a prevalent trend that even if you are currently single-cloud, you should plan for the eventuality of using more than one cloud, as the multi-cloud future has arrived. Dave Bartoletti, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, who broke down multi-cloud and hybrid cloud by the numbers:

  • 62 percent of public cloud adopters are using 2+ unique cloud platforms
  • 74 percent of enterprises describe their strategy as hybrid/multi-cloud today

In addition, standardizing on cloud agnostic tools also can alleviate costs associated with policy design, deployment, and enforcement across different cloud environments. Management and monitoring using the same service platform greatly reduces the issue of mismatched security policies and uncertainty in enforcement. Cloud agnostic tools that also operate in the context of the data center — whether in a cloud, virtualized, container, or traditional infrastructure — are a boon for organizations who need to be agile and move quickly. Being able to reuse policies and services across the entire multi-cloud spectrum reduces friction in the deployment process and offers assurances in consistency of performance and security.

How do you decide what tools to adopt?

We talk to different size enterprises using the cloud on a daily basis, and always ask if they are using cloud native tools, or if they are using third party tools that are cloud agnostic. The answer – it’s a mix to be sure, often it’s a mix between cloud-native and third-party tools within the same enterprise.

What we hear is that managing the cloud infrastructure is quite a complex job, especially when you have different clouds, technologies, and a diverse and opinionated user community to support. So a common theme with many of the third-party tools we see used tend to include freemium models, a technology someone used at a previous company, tools recommended by the cloud services provider (CSP) themselves, and open-API-driven solutions that allow for maximum automation in their cloud operations. It also serves the tools vendors well if deploying the tool includes minimum effort — in other words, SaaS tools that do not require a bunch of services and integration work. Plug and play is a must.

For context, here at ParkMyCloud support AWS, Azure, Google and Alibaba clouds, and usually talk to DevOps and IT Ops folks responsible for their cloud infrastructure. And those folks are usually after cloud cost control and governance when speaking with us. So our conversations tend to focus on the tools they use and need for cloud infrastructure management like CI/CD, monitoring, cost control, cost visibility and optimization, and user governance. For user governance and internal communication, Single-sign On and ChatOps are must have.

So we decided to compile a list of the most common clouds and tools we run across here at ParkMyCloud, in order of popularity:

  • Cloud Service Provider
    • AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Alibaba Cloud – and we do get requests for IBM and Oracle clouds
  • Infrastructure Monitoring (not APM)
    • Cloud Native (AWS CloudWatch, Azure Metrics, Google Stackdriver), DataDog, Nagios, SolarWinds, Microsoft, BMC, Zabbix, IBM
  • Cost Visibility and Optimization
    • CloudHealth Technologies, Cloudability, Cloudyn/Azure Cost Management, Apptio
  • CI/CD + DevOps (this is broad but these are most common names we hear that fit into this category)
    • Cloud Native, CloudBees Jenkins, Atlassian Bamboo, HashiCorp, Spinnaker, Travis CI
  • Single Sign-On (SSO)
    • ADFS, Ping, Okta, Azure AD, Centrify, One Login, Google OAuth, JumpCloud
  • ChatOps
    • Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts
  • Cloud Cost Control
    • Cloud Native/Scripter, ParkMyCloud, GorillaStack, Skeddly, Nutanix (BotMetric)

Beat the curve with cloud agnostic tools

Our suggestion is to use cloud agnostic tools wherever possible. Our experience tells us that a majority of the enterprises lean this way anyways. The upfront cost in terms of license fee and/or set up could be more, but we think it comes down to (1) most people will end up hybrid/multi-cloud in the future, even if they aren’t now, and (2) cloud agnostic tools are more likely to meet your needs as a user, as the companies building those tools will stay laser-focused on supporting and improving said functionality across the big CSPs.

5 Free Azure Training Resources

5 Free Azure Training Resources

With a growing demand for Microsoft Azure, there’s never been a better time to seize the opportunity to learn the platform with free Azure training resources. Whether you’re an AWS expert looking to expand your cloud expertise or just getting started in your cloud computing career, there’s a training resource for every experience level and learning type. Jump in with our list of 5 free Azure training resources:  

1. Microsoft Azure

The most obvious resource for free Azure training is the source itself. Microsoft does a great job of providing virtual courses, hands-on training, and documentation for users with a range of experience:  

  • Get hands on and learn on the go with an Azure free account. It’s free to sign up and $200 credit is yours to spend in the first 30 days. That’s a month of free exploration to “test and deploy enterprise apps, create custom mobile experiences, and gain insight from your data.”  
  • And for those who enjoy some light reading, there’s Microsoft Azure Documentation. Jump in and start learning with quickstarts, samples, and tutorials.

2. YouTube

YouTube had to make the list. The mecca of free videos makes it easy to channel surf your way through a variety of Azure training videos. Some of the most popular channels for free Azure training include:

  • Microsoft Azure (69,871 subscribers) offers demos, technical insights, and training videos.
  • Cloud Ranger Network  (19,594 subscribers) accompanies a popular blog on all things Microsoft Azure, making it a great resource for supplemented learning with both video and text.
  • Azure DevOps (3,256 subscribers) deserves a nod as a great niche channel for developers looking to make use of Azure’s developers services.

3. GitHub

If anyone knows Azure – it’s GitHub. The world’s leading development platform is all about open source learning, building, and project management in a community of 28 million developers. And in an effort to make Azure the leading cloud for developers, Microsoft acquired GitHub earlier this year, making it likely that the platform will become even more rich in free Azure training. Get started on the Microsoft Azure page.

4. Blogs

Bloggers offer new insights, ideas, and the latest on all things cloud computing – if you know where to look. CloudRanger.net is solely-focused on Microsoft Azure, along with the previously mentioned YouTube channel. Microsoft has their own Azure blog, of course. But for a more well-rounded blog with additional content on AWS and Google Cloud Platform, check out Cloud Academy.

5. EDx

Founded by Harvard University and MIT, EDx is a massive online course provider. Take advantage of free online university-level courses and be on your way to earning professional certifications. Azure course topics include databases, security, cosmos DB, and more.

Take Advantage of These Free Azure Training Resources

With no end in sight for cloud computing and a bright future ahead for Microsoft – free Azure training is both abundant and rewarding. We picked our top 5 resources for their reliability, quality, and range of information. Whether you’re new to Azure or consider yourself an expert, these resources will get you on the right foot.

Further reading:

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