We’ve already detailed in earlier posts what’s involved in the ‘Day 0’ (from app configuration to release) and ‘Day 1’ (app install and update) parts of a Kubernetes app’s lifecycle from vendor to the enterprise. However, app distribution doesn’t just stop after the install and update functions of Day 1. As I sit down to write this post about Replicated’s Day 2 product capabilities and vision, I’m reminded of the main hook of the Young Gunz song, “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop”. In Day 2, Replicated just ‘can’t stop, won’t stop’, continuing to support the app journey with the functions of monitoring, issue detection, troubleshooting, and remediating issues.
In this post, I sit down again with Replicated Product Manager Alex Parker to discuss the ins and outs of a Kubernetes app’s Day 2 experience. The TL;DR is this:
Check out the full interview – including a demo of Replicated’s Day 2 capabilities – below.
A: At Replicated, when we think about ‘Day 2’, we generally are thinking in terms of the enterprise’s experience with the app post-installation. Debatably, this can include updating the app, but we generally address that within our ‘Day 1’ framing (check out the Day 1 blog and Day 1 product demo to see this in more detail) and keep ‘Day 2’ to all of the other tasks necessary to support a mature app lifecycle. A big part of this is detecting issues with the app and environment and then troubleshooting those issues, as well as backing up the environment in case of issues or disaster scenarios.
But this is just the framing we use today, to capture Replicated’s capabilities as they exist today. When we think about what a robust ‘Day 2’ experience could look like, we think about providing deeper insights into security issues, better live debugging capabilities, richer system, and product telemetry capabilities. And how could we deliver this with as much built-in self-service ability for the enterprise? What kind of common integrations can we provide or support to plug into an enterprise’s existing processes and tools? To us, a great ‘Day 2’ means this kind of thinking to build something for enterprises that minimizes one-offs and ensures that they get the most from an app throughout its mature lifecycle. It’s within these themes that we’re targeting some of our product innovations.
A: Vendors run into two major challenges in troubleshooting and security. For troubleshooting for both the vendor and the enterprise, they’re in a situation where the enterprise is running software that’s not theirs so they don’t know a lot about it. And on the other side, you have the vendor, who builds an app for delivery to an environment that they don’t control, much less have great visibility for – this makes tasks like troubleshooting and debugging especially challenging. We refer to this situation as ‘disconnected troubleshooting’.
The goal state of Day 2 is to get to a place where we support the enterprise in troubleshooting and debugging an app that they don’t own and didn’t write, and to help the vendor to do the same for their app running in an environment that they don’t own or control and didn’t build.
Replicated’s capabilities and continued vision for ‘disconnected troubleshooting’ are designed to address these challenges. If you’re a vendor, you likely run into the same, repeatable issues across multiple customer environments. The enterprise has an issue that they can’t solve, they bring that issue to the vendor, the vendor asks for logs, the enterprise collects the logs and sends them to the vendor for analysis and troubleshooting. Rinse, repeat – it’s slow, cumbersome, arduous.
What if you could cull those and codify their general support information and make this easily available for your customers to retrieve on their own? Click a button for all kinds of support, much faster – essentially, let the enterprise run those commands to get an automated output on the problem so that they can dig in and self-solve and not have to depend on (or wait for) the vendor’s engagement on the issue. We can even envision a day where the fix can be automated. We’re not there yet, but it’s a clear next step in our vision of a great ‘Day 2’ experience.
Another big challenge in Day 2 is around security. This is a challenge for a couple of reasons. On the process side, vendors ship to multiple, disparate and diverse customers, each with different security policies and requirements. For each customer, a vendor’s app has to pass each customer’s unique security policies. When we think about an optimal Day 2 experience, we want to explore ideas that help us serve both sides of the ‘handshake’ between vendor and customer. What can we be bringing that would be proactive, maybe even automated in addressing ongoing security demands? And how can we do this in a way that plugs into existing processes rather than present as a one-off? We’re not there yet, of course, but these are some of the bigger, existential questions that we’re pushing on in our wildest ‘Day 2’ dreams.
A: In terms of bringing more value to the Day 2 experience – security, change management, and telemetry – the more we help vendors do this, the greater their customers’ affinity for them will grow. Their customers, the enterprises that they distribute to, will get more functionality on less of their own engineering support every time the vendor distributes with Replicated. It all helps make the vendor’s app that much ‘stickier’ for the enterprise.
In terms of troubleshooting, I don’t know too many people who just love debugging problems – this is arduous work, especially for vendors shipping to multi-prem, where there’s so much back-and-forth between the vendor and the enterprise. When disconnected troubleshooting with Replicated is realized, everyone saves time! Both the vendor and the enterprise can fix issues with a small team, independently. This totally flips the Day 2 challenge of troubleshooting on its head.
It’s clear from my discussion with Alex that we’re chasing a big, bold future in the ‘Day 2’ space. Can’t stop, won’t stop. Be sure to see this in action by checking out the Replicated ‘Day 2’ product demo. Alex walks through key steps and capabilities of disconnected troubleshooting as well as snapshots for backups and restore.
If you haven’t yet checked out our ‘Day 0’ and ‘Day 1’ material, I’d encourage you to do so – or to walk through it firsthand with a personalized demo:
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