IT Management Articles

Designing an Efficient Cloud Development Process – Review of CloudMunch

by Rakesh Sharma
Published on 24 January 2013

Ask developers about the software development process and they will wring their hands in despair. The reaction is similar for most participants in the process, including testers and build managers.

Part of the problem is the process itself. It is an ad hoc mix of tools, sub-processes, and email chains, one that divides instead of unifying. This effect of this confusion is that it distracts developers from doing what they do best - code.

This week, we will review a solution that promises to simplify the process by integrating the entire DevOps process into a cohesive unit. What's more, the solution does this at a fraction of typical tool costs. This week, we will review CloudMunch - a cloud-based development solution that enables developers to focus on code. We will review its interface, features, and see how it can be of use to you.

Devising a Cloud Development Process

There are several things that are right about CloudMunch. Right at the top of that list is a smart strategy of integrating with already-available popular cloud-based tools. As it turns out, DNA and ecosystem were important considerations during conceptual discussions of the product. "Based on our experience in the IT industry, we saw an opportunity to solve issues that exist in software development and delivery to help customers (and the surrounding ecosystem) extract faster results and higher value," says T.S.Vijayraghavan, co-founder of the solution. In addition, the founders also considered the inherent opportunities present in the SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud) stack. "We are leveraging the SMAC stack to redefine application delivery," says Vijayraghavan.

The solution has integrated "in-context analytics" for application development and production. In simple words, this means that you can generate analytics for all phases of your application development, testing, and support processes. Vijayraghavan likens the solution to a hub for analytics. CloudMunch is a "polyglot" platform, according to Vijayraghavan. "Unlike other solutions in the same space, we support multiple technology stacks," he says. He adds that enablement of distributed teams, ease of release management and efficient feedback loops during code and testing processes are vital differentiators between CloudMunch and other, similar applications.

In turn, these differentiators translate into a decreased time to market (using a one-click application deployment method), improved application quality (through integration with code analysis tools) and lower costs (enabled through the cloud platform). Finally, Vijayraghavan recommends that small businesses use the application "end-to-end" or use all features highlighted in the solution. "This will help them manage costs better, implement best practices and deliver industrial applications using CloudMunch validation apps, and get quick and early feedback on their applications, while also saving costs and effort," he says.

Munching Through a Cloud Development Process

CloudMunch is a DevOps platform. Thus, in its most basic format, CloudMunch can be defined as a platform that integrates multiple functions within the software development process, including requirements management, defect management, quality control, and infrastructure management. "The key differentiator between us and other, similar solutions is that we have extended the breadth of coverage of the application lifecycle, from source code repository to code validation apps to deploy and manage," says Vijayraghavan. This means that the solution extends typical project management functionality to include development, testing, and support within its scope. According to its website, this means that you can ensure "seamless continuous delivery to do all build-related activities." Administrators are responsible for creating build scripts after a new job has been created. In addition, they can configure mail notifications for build parameters or add pre-configured apps from the CloudMunch store to perform code validation or program their solutions.

As I mentioned earlier, what impressed me most about the solution was the developer's smart strategy of integrating with already-available cloud-based tools. Current integrations include several, popular tools on the Web including Github, Google Docs, and JIRA. One of the more, interesting features of the solution relates to traceability of problems. CloudMunch integrates with several, popular market-based solutions to "enable traceability from development to deployment and enable compliance from information security standards." Traceability and audit is important to solve problems and test solutions and ensure compliance.

Vijayraghavan says CloudMunch assuages security concerns by adopting a sophisticated and proactive approach to security, one that includes role-based access management and authentication. "We provide authorization and authentication to control access to specific CloudMunch instances, role-based access, and security access by using VPN/VPC to prevent unauthorized access," he says.

The Basics: What Does it Look Like ?

This one's a winner all the way. Despite the complicated (and, often, messy) task of project and build management, CloudMunch makes the task fairly simple and intuitive through a clean and easy-to-use interface. The dashboard provides a mix of analytics information and top projects and/or builds. In addition, the solution includes a snapshot of recent activity and includes social elements to recognize popular files and builds.

Supporting Your Cloud Development

CloudMunch has an active and dedicated community of CloudMunchers. The community helps each other through forum posts. In addition, you can also request additional support through email and phone. CloudMunch also provides free support for installation, configuration, and troubleshooting.

Is it For You ?

I thought the solution is an especially smart and streamlined approach to the complicated problem of developing and testing using cloud-based solutions. An intuitive and clean interface helps clarify and simplify. I would definitely recommend this solution for folks interested in reducing costs and simplifying their development and operational processes.


Apps mentioned in this article