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Introduction

Platform Automation for PCF provides building blocks to create repeatable and reusable automated pipeline(s) for upgrading and installing PCF foundations. We also provide instructions on using these building blocks in various workflows. In this introduction, we'll provide a high-level overview of Platform Automation. To dive-deeper, check out the references section.

About

  • Uses om, (and by extension, the Ops Manager API) to enable command-line interaction with Ops Manager (Understanding the Ops Manager Interface)

  • Includes a documented reference pipeline showing one possible configuration to use tasks. When automating your platform, there are some manual steps you'll need to take to optimize for automation. We will call these steps out so that these are clear to you.

  • Comes bundled with Concourse tasks that demonstrate how to use these tasks in a containerized Continuous Integration (CI) system. Platform Automation for PCF tasks are:

    • Legible: They use human-readable YAML config files which can be edited and managed

    • Modular: Each task has defined inputs and outputs that perform granular actions

    • Built for Automation: Tasks are idempotent, so re-running them in a CI won't break builds

    • Not Comprehensive: Workflows that use Platform Automation for PCF may also contain om commands, custom tasks, and even interactions with the Ops Manager user interface. Platform Automation for PCF is a set of tools to use alongside other tools, rather than a comprehensive solution.

  • Assumes you have the following before using our tasks:

For more information on how these fit into the Platform Automation system, we recommend starting with one of the How to Guides.

The Task Reference topic discusses these example tasks further.

Transitioning from PCF Pipelines

Platform Automation takes a different approach than PCF Pipelines. For instance, Platform Automation allows you to perform installs and upgrades in the same pipeline. We recommend trying out Platform Automation to get a sense of the features and how they differ to understand the best transition method for your environment and needs.

Platform Automation and Upgrading PCF

Successful platform engineering teams know that a platform team that's always up to date is critical for their business. If they don’t stay up to date, they miss out on the latest platform features and the services that Pivotal delivers, which means their development teams miss out too. By not keeping up to date, platforms could encounter security risks or even application failures.

Pivotal offers regular updates for PCF, which ensures our customers have access to the latest security patches and new features. For example, Pivotal releases security patches every six days on average.

So how can a platform engineering team simplify the platform upgrade process?

Small and Continuous Upgrades

Adopting the practice of small and constant platform updates is one of the best ways to simplify the platform upgrade process. This behavior can significantly reduce risk, increase stability with faster troubleshooting, and overall reduce the effort of upgrading. This also creates a culture of continuous iteration and improves feedback loops with the platform teams and the developers, building trust across the organization. A good place to start is to consume every patch.

How do we do this?

Small and Continuous Upgrades With Platform Automation

With Platform Automation for PCF, platform teams have the tools to create an automated perpetual upgrade machine, which can continuously take the latest updates when new software is available - including PAS, PKS, Ops Manager, stemcells, products, and services. In addition, Platform Automation for PCF allows you to:

  • manage multiple foundations and reduce configuration drift by tracking changes through source control with externalized configuration

  • create pipelines that handle installs and upgrades to streamline workflows.

Platform Automation and Ops Manager

The following table compares how Ops Manager and Platform Automation for PCF might run a typical sequence of PCF operations:

Ops Manager Platform Automation for PCF
When to Use First install and minor upgrades Config changes and patch upgrades
1. Create Ops Manager VM Manually prepare IaaS and create Ops Manager VM create-vm
2. Configure Who Can Run Ops Manually configure internal UAA or external identity provider configure-authentication or configure-saml-authentication
3. Configure BOSH Manually configure BOSH Director configure-director with settings saved from BOSH Director with same version
4. Add Products Click Import a Product to upload file, then + to add tile to Installation Dashboard upload-and-stage-product
5. Configure Products Manually configure products configure-product with settings saved from tiles with same version
6. Deploy Products Click Apply Changes apply-changes
7. Upgrade Manually export existing Ops Manager settings, power off the VM, then create a new, updated Ops Manager VM export-installation then upgrade-opsman