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GitOps with a comparison between Flux and ArgoCD and which one is better for use in Azure AKS

March 15, 2023 Azure, Azure, Azure DevOps, Azure Kubernetes Service(AKS), Cloud Computing, Development Process, DevOps, DevSecOps, Emerging Technologies, GitOps, KnowledgeBase, Kubernates, Kubernetes, Microsoft, Orchestrator, Platforms, SecOps No comments

GitOps has emerged as a powerful paradigm for managing Kubernetes clusters and deploying applications. Two popular tools for implementing GitOps in Kubernetes are Flux and ArgoCD. Both tools have similar functionalities, but they differ in terms of their architecture, ease of use, and integration with cloud platforms like Azure AKS. In this blog, we will compare Flux and ArgoCD and see which one is better for use in Azure AKS.

Flux:

Flux is a GitOps tool that automates the deployment of Kubernetes resources by syncing them with a Git repository. It supports multiple deployment strategies, including canary, blue-green, and A/B testing. Flux has a simple architecture that consists of two components: a controller and an agent. The controller watches a Git repository for changes, while the agent runs on each Kubernetes node and applies the changes to the cluster. Flux can be easily integrated with Azure AKS using the Flux Helm Operator, which allows users to manage their Helm charts using GitOps.

ArgoCD:

ArgoCD is a GitOps tool that provides a declarative way to deploy and manage applications on Kubernetes clusters. It has a powerful UI that allows users to visualize the application state and perform rollbacks and updates. ArgoCD has a more complex architecture than Flux, consisting of a server, a CLI, and an agent. The server is responsible for managing the Git repository, while the CLI provides a command-line interface for interacting with the server. The agent runs on each Kubernetes node and applies the changes to the cluster. ArgoCD can be integrated with Azure AKS using the ArgoCD Operator, which allows users to manage their Kubernetes resources using GitOps.

Comparison:

Now that we have an understanding of the two tools, let’s compare them based on some key factors:

  1. Architecture: Flux has a simpler architecture than ArgoCD, which makes it easier to set up and maintain. ArgoCD’s more complex architecture allows for more advanced features, but it requires more resources to run.
  2. Ease of use: Flux is easier to use than ArgoCD, as it has fewer components and a more straightforward setup process. ArgoCD’s UI is more user-friendly than Flux, but it also has more features that can be overwhelming for beginners.
  3. Integration with Azure AKS: Both Flux and ArgoCD can be integrated with Azure AKS, but Flux has better integration through the Flux Helm Operator, which allows users to manage Helm charts using GitOps.
  4. Community support: Both tools have a large and active community, with extensive documentation and support available. However, Flux has been around longer and has more users, which means it has more plugins and integrations available.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, both Flux and ArgoCD are excellent tools for implementing GitOps in Kubernetes. Flux has a simpler architecture and is easier to use, making it a good choice for beginners. ArgoCD has a more advanced feature set and a powerful UI, making it a better choice for more complex deployments. When it comes to integrating with Azure AKS, Flux has the advantage through its Helm Operator. Ultimately, the choice between Flux and ArgoCD comes down to the specific needs of your organization and your level of experience with GitOps.

DevSecOps: Integrating Security into DevOps – Part 7

March 6, 2023 Azure, Azure DevOps, Code Analysis, Development Process, DevOps, DevSecOps, Dynamic Analysis, KnowledgeBase, Microsoft, Resources, SecOps, Security, Software Engineering, Software/System Design, Static Analysis No comments

Continuing from my previous blog, let’s explore some more advanced topics related to DevSecOps implementation.

Automated Vulnerability Management

Automated vulnerability management is a key practice in DevSecOps. It involves using automated tools to identify, prioritize, and remediate vulnerabilities in an organization’s systems and applications. Automated vulnerability management includes the following activities:

  1. Vulnerability Scanning: Use automated vulnerability scanning tools to scan systems and applications for known vulnerabilities.
  2. Vulnerability Prioritization: Prioritize vulnerabilities based on their severity and potential impact on the organization.
  3. Patch Management: Automate the patching process to ensure that vulnerabilities are remediated quickly and efficiently.
  4. Reporting: Generate reports to track the status of vulnerabilities and the progress of remediation efforts.

Shift-Left Testing

Shift-left testing is a practice that involves moving testing activities earlier in the software development lifecycle. By identifying and fixing defects earlier in the development process, shift-left testing helps organizations reduce the overall cost and time required to develop and deploy software. Shift-left testing includes the following activities:

  1. Unit Testing: Automate unit testing to ensure that individual code components are working correctly.
  2. Integration Testing: Automate integration testing to ensure that multiple code components are working correctly when integrated.
  3. Security Testing: Automate security testing to ensure that the software is secure and compliant with security policies and regulatory requirements.
  4. Performance Testing: Automate performance testing to ensure that the software is performing correctly under different load conditions.

Infrastructure Security

Infrastructure security is a critical aspect of DevSecOps. It involves securing the underlying infrastructure, such as servers, databases, and networks, on which the software is deployed. Infrastructure security includes the following activities:

  1. Secure Configuration: Ensure that the infrastructure is configured securely, following best practices and security policies.
  2. Access Control: Control access to infrastructure resources to ensure that only authorized users and processes can access them.
  3. Monitoring and Logging: Monitor infrastructure activity and log data to detect potential security issues and enable forensic analysis.
  4. Disaster Recovery: Develop and implement disaster recovery plans to ensure that critical infrastructure can be restored in case of a security incident or outage.

Conclusion

DevSecOps is a critical practice that requires continuous improvement and refinement. By implementing automated vulnerability management, shift-left testing, and infrastructure security, organizations can improve their security posture significantly. These practices help identify and remediate vulnerabilities early in the development process, secure the underlying infrastructure, and ensure compliance with security policies and regulatory requirements. By following these best practices, organizations can build and deploy software that is secure, compliant, and efficient in a DevSecOps environment.

DevSecOps: Integrating Security into DevOps – Part 2

March 1, 2023 Development Process, DevOps, DevSecOps, Emerging Technologies, KnowledgeBase, Resources, SecOps, Software/System Design, Tech-Trends No comments

Continuing from my previous blog, let’s dive deeper into the implementation of DevSecOps.

Integrating Security into DevOps

To implement DevSecOps, it is essential to integrate security into every phase of the DevOps lifecycle. The following are the key phases in DevOps and how to integrate security into each phase:

  1. Plan: In the planning phase, it is essential to identify the security requirements and create a plan for integrating security into the software development process. Security requirements should be defined, including compliance and regulatory requirements, security policies, and security best practices.
  2. Develop: In the development phase, it is crucial to ensure that security is integrated into the code development process. Developers should receive security training and education, and secure coding practices should be enforced. Static code analysis tools can be used to identify security vulnerabilities and prevent them from entering the codebase.
  3. Test: In the testing phase, security testing should be automated, and testing should be conducted at multiple levels. Dynamic application security testing (DAST) and penetration testing should be used to identify vulnerabilities in the software. Vulnerability scanners can be used to identify and remediate vulnerabilities.
  4. Deploy: In the deployment phase, security should be integrated into the deployment process. Security checks should be automated and conducted before deployment. Infrastructure as code (IaC) tools can be used to automate the deployment of secure infrastructure.
  5. Operate: In the operation phase, security should be monitored continuously, and any security issues should be addressed immediately. Security incidents should be tracked and analyzed, and lessons learned should be used to improve the security posture.

DevSecOps Best Practices

Here are some best practices for implementing DevSecOps:

  1. Create a security culture: Encourage a security culture where everyone in the organization takes responsibility for security.
  2. Automate security: Automate as much of the security process as possible, including security testing and remediation.
  3. Integrate security into the DevOps process: Integrate security into every phase of the DevOps process, from planning to operation.
  4. Use security tools: Use security tools, such as DAST, SAST, and vulnerability scanners, to identify and remediate security vulnerabilities.
  5. Educate developers: Provide security training and education to developers, enabling them to build and deploy secure software.
  6. Implement DevSecOps in small steps: Start with small steps, such as integrating security into the planning phase, and gradually increase the scope of DevSecOps implementation.

Benefits of DevSecOps Implementation

Implementing DevSecOps can provide several benefits, including:

  1. Increased security: By integrating security into the DevOps process, organizations can identify and remediate security vulnerabilities early in the software development lifecycle.
  2. Improved collaboration: DevSecOps breaks down silos between teams, enabling better communication and collaboration.
  3. Faster time-to-market: Security checks are automated and integrated into the software development process, enabling faster delivery of secure software.
  4. Reduced costs: Fixing security issues earlier in the development process reduces the costs associated with fixing them after the software is deployed.

Conclusion

DevSecOps is a critical practice that enables organizations to build and deploy secure software. By integrating security into every phase of the DevOps lifecycle, organizations can improve security, collaboration, and time-to-market. By following best practices and implementing DevSecOps in small steps, organizations can achieve the benefits of DevSecOps while minimizing disruption to existing processes.

End of Microsoft Virtual Academy–Welcome to Microsoft Learn

December 24, 2018 Community, KnowledgeBase, Microsoft Learn, Microsoft Learning, Microsoft Virtual Academy, MVA No comments

In October, During Ignite 2018 Conference in Orlando, Microsoft announced the availability of new free interactive and sandbox based learning platform called  “Microsoft Learn”, and during these months Microsoft has been adding more and more specific contents for different roles such as Azure Developer, Azure Administrator, Azure Architect etc.

There is a specific learning path for all roles and you can experience different role based contents being aligned in each bucket.

Soon you will be seeing more specific contents for Power BI, Power Apps, Microsoft Flow and Dynamics 365 etc being added in to this platform.

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Benefits of Microsoft Learn:

  • No Fee: This platform is free, you are going to use a free azure sandbox for playing around with Hands-on learning.
  • Points for Learning: XP points for each sections you complete and you have different levels. I am on Level 7 on my learning curve.
  • Specific Learning paths leads you to successful Microsoft certification exams. a learning path tailored to today’s developer and technology masterminds and designed to prepare you for industry-recognized Microsoft certifications.

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End of Microsoft Virtual Academy(MVA)

Microsoft Virtual Academy has been a free platform for learning about Microsoft technologies and earn completion certificates etc. Since we have the new interactive learning experience available through Microsoft Learn, Microsoft has decided to phase out Microsoft Virtual Academy and we have received an email confirming the same.

Planned complete retirement of MVA by Jan 29’ 2019.

Excerpt from the email received:

To simplify your tech training journey, we are consolidating our learning resources and retiring Microsoft Virtual Academy in phases, beginning on January 31, 2019. Complete site retirement is scheduled for later in 2019. Check your MVA Dashboard frequently for courses you have started that are retiring. To earn your certificates of completion, be sure to finish any courses by January 31, 2019.


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Enough said based on my experience I found Microsoft Learn is the new age learning platform providing gamified experience through the learning curve and earning XP points, unlocking achievements gives you a level of satisfaction. Smile

So join Microsoft Learn today.

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Azure Cosmos DB–Setting Up New Database using Azure CLI–Sample

October 1, 2018 Azure, Azure Cosmos DB, Codes, CosmosDB, KnowledgeBase, Microsoft, PowerShell, Windows Azure Development No comments

Purpose of this article is to help you with few steps of commands to provision a new Azure Cosmos DB database instance through Azure CLI or Azure Cloud Shell.

Here is the snippet:

 <# 
   This Bash script should help you create a Azure Cosmos DB instance using Azure CLI with bare minimal configuration 
#>

export ACCOUNT_NAME="thingx-retail-store-db"
export DB_RESOURCE_GROUP="thingx-dev"
export DB_LOCATION="southcentralus"
export DB_NAME="Products" 
export DB_THROUGHPUT=1000  ## bare minimal for 500 read and 100 write configuration for a 1KB document.
export DB_COLLECTION_NAME="Groceries"

##Optional: If resource group does not exist create a new one 
az group create --name $DB_RESOURCE_GROUP --location $DB_LOCATION

##1.0 Create the Azure Cosmos DB Account 
az cosmosdb create --name $ACCOUNT_NAME --kind GlobalDocumentDB --resource-group $DB_RESOURCE_GROUP

##2.0 Create Products database in the account  
az cosmosdb database create --name $ACCOUNT_NAME --db-name $DB_NAME --resource-group $DB_RESOURCE_GROUP

##3.0 Create Groceries collection in Products database
az cosmosdb collection create --collection-name $DB_COLLECTION_NAME --partition-key-path "/productId" --throughput $DB_THROUGHPUT --name $ACCOUNT_NAME --db-name $DB_NAME --resource-group $DB_RESOURCE_GROUP


 

For the ease of this article I used Azure Cloud Shell, that you can launch from your azure portal by clicking on the Shell icon on the top portal menu.

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Now you are ready to execute all the commands listed above in the sample bash script

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Create New Azure Cosmos DB Account

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az cosmosdb create --name $ACCOUNT_NAME --kind GlobalDocumentDB --resource-group $DB_RESOURCE_GROUP

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Create Products Database in the account

az cosmosdb database create --name $ACCOUNT_NAME --db-name $DB_NAME --resource-group $DB_RESOURCE_GROUP

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Create Groceries collection in Products database

az cosmosdb collection create --collection-name $DB_COLLECTION_NAME --partition-key-path "/productId" --throughput $DB_THROUGHPUT --name $ACCOUNT_NAME --db-name $DB_NAME --resource-group $DB_RESOURCE_GROUP

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Now if you browse Azure Portal you can see resources created in “thingx-dev” resource group.

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Upon browsing with Data Explorer you can see the Groceries collection inside Products DB.

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So that’s the few silly easy steps to create Cosmos DB database from Azure CLI or Azure Cloud Shell. Hope that makes it easy for you.

New Microsoft Azure Certifications

September 16, 2018 Azure, Azure SDK, Azure Tools, Certification, Emerging Technologies, MCP, Microsoft, Microsoft Learning, Windows Azure Development No comments

Microsoft has recently announced new certification exam tracks for Azure Administrators, Developers and Architects. Here are the line ups that should help you move your career with right certifications. 

The three new Microsoft Azure Certifications are:

  • Microsoft Certified Azure Developer
  • Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator
  • Microsoft Certified Azure Architect

These certifications would essentially split the previous MCSA/MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure track and introduce new exams for individual certification track. 

So far I only have limited information available about all the exam numbers for each individual track, as recently Microsoft has made BETA exams available for Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator track. 

These exams are still in BETA, would commence general availability in coming months.  Will keep you posted about newer exams for other tracks as we get to know more. 

References: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-list.aspx